Confucius faced a lot of troubles during his time, mainly from his unpopularity with the feudal leaders of China – way back when China was still divided by states. Although Confucius is considered to be the greatest teachers today, he considered himself a failure since he never attained a significant role in the government or be an adviser to a leader who would listen to him in his life time. Confucius would never know how his ideology greatly influenced a lot of people, and systems – not only in China, but to several parts of the world, as well.
“Confucius being born of lower nobility” (Murphey ??) contributed to his failure as a politician since he was not born into power. During his time, the family you belonged to, and the people know, would determine what positions you would hold in power. Bureaucracy was the system of the government at the time and that meant people born into powerful families were more often the ones who get to hold the higher positions in the government. Confucius being born of a lower class of nobility would hinder him from making drastic changes in the way the government was being ran. However, this did not stop the determined him from travelling to many states and find the right students to teach, as well as finding feudal lords who would listen to him.
However, it was not a simple task to convince the leaders of his time, the ideas he had on ruling. One of the main reasons that Confucius failed to gain the support of the leaders during his time
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during the Zhou Dynasty, China was experiencing a great deal of political turmoil. A major part of this era was called the Period of the Warring States. It was a time when there were numerous wars that occurred due to the conflict that existed between seven states. (Watkins, 2013) These warring states were the Han, Wu, Zhao, Chu, Qi, Yan and Jin. According to Jerry H. Bentley and Herbert F. Ziegler of the book Traditions and Encounters, “This period forced some people to reflect on the nature of society, and the roles of humans beings within society.” The authors continued saying that it forced others to “identify principles that would restore political and social order.” (Bentley & Ziegler, 2011) The principles of Confucianism were established and followed in order to help the citizens of China to live and govern their communities more efficiently. Through Confucianism, Confucius helped legitimize China’s rule and bring about order in the mist of turmoil. The effects of Confucius’ principles are still seen and felt today in many aspects of modern day Chinese society. Veritably, there were points throughout Chinese history where Confucianism affected almost every aspect of life in China. Confucius has impacted the development of Chinese thought and culture in various ways from education to politics, to familial relationships.
Nevertheless, hundreds of years later, when China became a large unified country, its emperor started to promote Confucius’s ideas nationwide and even integrated them into 科举 to select government officials, who were all supposed to master
Mencius, as one of the most influential scholars of Confucian thought, shared many of the same views as Confucius and furthered many of his ideas. One example would be the emphasis on family and its connection to the government. Mencius, like Confucius, saw that the wellbeing of the family was crucial for prosperity of the state. He also emphasized filial piety and advocated for agriculture instead of fighting more wars. Furthermore, he took on the idea of the gentleman versus the ordinary person, someone who was distinguished, diligent, righteous, and respectful. But while the views of Mencius seem to more closely mirror those of Confucius, that was not entirely the case. For example, Confucius emphasized the importance of rulers as well as loyalty to authorities, stressing adherence to the social stratifications set in place by Chinese culture and society. However, Mencius said, referring to the noble ministers of the court, that “When the ruler makes a major error, they point it out. If he does not listen to their repeated remonstrations, then they put someone else on the throne.” He argued that subjects should be able to overthrow a ruler that is unjust, for it is only a ruler that is righteous and benevolent that should be supported by the people. Mencius also stressed the importance of a person’s motives, something not explicitly seen
One of the most influential people during classical China was Confucius and his belief system of Confucianism. There are many reasons why Confucianism rose among the other belief systems to become one of the superior and most widespread in classical China. First and most obviously, Confucianism made its success with the birth of Confucius in 551 BCE who is the author and creator of all the content in Confucianism. More seriously now, knowing the fact that Confucius and Confucianism was created during the Zhou dynasty the reasons for Confucianism at that time seemed mandatory. During the Zhou dynasty, the Chinese government was incredibly weak due to the numerous betrayals and the instability of the alliance system created by the Zhou leaders.
Although it was well known that Confucius was elevated to high status after his death, his political career was not as successful. Confucius spent many years trying to promoting his ideas to rulers in different states but was not able to get through4. To understand why such a visionary philosopher could not get others to agree with him, we will have to look at the nature of the Confucian theory and why was it incapable of persuading the lords of countries.
The origins of Confucianism are often disputed among historians and philosophers and many believe the myth of Confucius developing Confucianism all in his lonesome. Confucius was born in the historical state of Lu at a time when Zhou Dynastic power was crumbling. The Zhou Dynasty has started to lose control and Ancient China erupted into a struggle for power. Many ruling elites craved for unification thus granting them total control of the Zhou household, known as the Warring States Period. Confucius believed the founders of the Zhou Dynasty had established a well-developed government and principled actions, but he only kept seeing war and greed among the rivaling states around him, grasping for leadership and power. As the Spring & Autumn Periods of the Zhou Dynasty
Conficius grew up in a time where feudal lords where constantly fighting each other for control because the government was weak. As a result, Conficius never forgot his childhood misery caused by the horrendous atrocities committed by the rulers. Since his mom work was not enough to survive for both of them, he started working at a really young age, which provided him with the opportunity to understand the people’s lives. Instead of learning the art of fighting, Conficius read through many books seeking one solution that would bring peace and justice to his people. Conficius’ main goal was to end corruption and restore peace, but he needed a government position to implement his policies. He believed that the differences between classes would
Confucius is one of the first Chinese thinkers who addressed the conflict of political and social order. he was a strong willed man who often did not get along with others. He never realized his ambition to become a powerful minister. Confucius attracted numerous disciples who aspired to political careers. His thought was fundamentally moral, ethical, and political in character. He had his disciples study works of poetry and history made during the Zhou dynasty. He examined the book of Songs, book of History, the Book of Rites, and other works with his students. Literary works of the Zhou dynasty became the core texts of the traditional Chinese education because of Confucius’s influence. There were specific Confucian values indluding ren, li, and xiao. Individuals with ren were courteous, respectful, loyal, and diligent. He said ren is much needed for government
Confucius’s counsel and guidance recorded in The Analects instilled wisdom when they were first recorded and continue to provide a thought provoking analysis of life and the checkpoints that guide it. The Master’s commentary on restraint, diligence, decency, and citizenship are well intended and relevant. Politics and the role of government also come under scrutiny as Confucius offers his insights in bettering the organization of power. His proverb-like admonitions use clear examples of everyday life allowing them to be understood and easily digested. Confucius’s own eagerness and willingness to share goodness he experienced makes it easier to apply and practice in one’s own life.
The political setup, according to Confucius, is significantly affected by his general moral teachings. That is the general moral teachings, namely, on trust, relationships, and the difference between right and wrong.
Confucius created a system of thinking called Confucianism. If only one word could be used to summarize the Chinese way of life for the last two thousand years, that word would be Confucian. No other person has had as great an effect on the life and thought of the Chinese people as Confucius. He is the most adored person in Chinese history. Confucius claimed no greatness, instead he looked to a past time that he saw as the golden age. He told one of his disciples, "I transmit but I do not create. I am sincerely fond of the ancient. I would compare myself to Old P'eng who was fond of talking about the good old days." Confucius was a transmitter of the wisdom of the past. From his study of Chinese tradition, he gathered the
Confucianism is a time enduring philosophy that has stood up to invading clans, war, resentment, enforcement and infringement of new philosophies, and eventually, revival. For almost 80 years, up until the late 1970’s, Confucianism and its ideas and values have been all but wiped away from China. Though effort was made to remove Confucianism for good from China by the Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1949, the ideas and values were so deeply embedded into peoples mind and the culture that even suppression could not keep it out of the culture and practices. The main factor that has brought Confucianism back into the limelight in China and other East Asian countries is the recent
Confucius and Plato are two of the most respected and most widely studied teachers of history. There philosophies of how people should be governed and what characteristics make for a good leader. Both men’s ideas are good for the civilizations that they lived in, and they shared many similarities in their ideas. My own ideas of an ideal leader are a mixture of these two men’s ideas. The personal experiences of both men also play a key role in how they shape their ideas.