Confucius; Then & Now

973 WordsNov 3, 20134 Pages
Confucius; Then & Now Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, can be argued to be the first and most significant of Chinese political thinkers. His philosophy traveled across the many kingdoms in China, centuries later becoming a part of the foundation of modern Chinese governance. Born after the fall of the Zhou Dynasty, Confucius belonged to the Warring States Era, a time of significant chaos. From the time of his being to modern day, people from China and many other countries in the world have studied the core values of his teachings, all hoping to make such values applicable to their own lives. Although the extent of Confucius’s teachings is astonishing at the least, one should not neglect to understand the interpretations of…show more content…
In fact, Confucius in passage 12.1 emphasizes the importance of ritual: “Do not look unless it is in accordance with ritual; do not listen unless it is in accordance with ritual; do not speak unless it is in accordance with ritual; do not move unless it is in accordance with ritual.” Because of the vast scope of ritual in society, it cannot be disregarded in Confucian philosophy. One cannot perform any tasks from serving of food to chatting with friends without having considered ritual, in order to fulfill the expectations of an ideal person. This practice of ritual is commonly seen in America as etiquette, in the form of politeness and general respect. However, this cannot be accepted to be of the same value. Confucius’s statement taken from passage 12.1 can be expected to receive a much different response from the twenty-first century American as opposed to a response from a Chinese person during Confucius’s time. In regards to other values found in American society, etiquette usually does not outshine values of freedom, honesty, and pride. Some Americans may find ritual to be humorous because of its absurdity, while others may find it to be a value that needs more public interest. Therefore, ritual in American society is not to be easily understood, especially in the magnitude seen in Chinese culture. Confucius believed that benevolence and
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