The Conduct Of Life


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the conduct of life Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism

Amidst the chaos of political instability and constant warring of the Zhou era, arose many intellectual thinkers that brought such a profound impact in the fields of politics, religion, and philosophy.  Even to this day, their influence can be seen on the many matters of China.  Confucianism became the paramount school of thinking and later significant philosophies such as Daoism and Legalism gained immense recognition as well.  Each party had their own proposals for creating an idealistic political society where the many problems they faced in their everyday lives could be eliminated.  All three approaches were very distinct but at the same time, they contained similarities as well.  In my reasoning, I find that Confucianism and Daoism could be paralled in many ways to find several common grounds.  On the other hand, Legalism goes on to take a more unique approach which was much different from the previous two.  
Confucius was born in 551 B.C.E, to a poor family of the lower nobility.  Throughout his life, he relentlessly tried to gain an office with a prominent ruler of the time who was willing to adopt his various concepts.  Unfortunately, Confucius died in 479B.C.E., before such a change ever took place.  However, he succeeded in winning over a handful of devote followers who continued his legacy and Confucianism later went on to become one of the most influential thought systems of Chinese history.  Of his followers, Mencius and Xunzi became one of the most renown.  Since Confucius did not succeed in completing a manual of his views, these followers had to derive their own interpretations of the system, which now formulate, the Analects.  The Analects portray an idealized gentleman, and his various duties in terms of the society, family and rituals.  Confucius explains about the way (Dao) which he believed, that if the people accepted its terms and were willing to abide, they would succeed in creating a utopian society.
By the beginning of the Common Era, another philosophy emerges and gains wide acceptance among the commoners.  Daoism, just like the predecessor and also as the name implies, puts emphasis on the way that a certain individual is to abide to.  Even though the two systems had different concepts about the way, the common denominator of both schools was to achieve total harmony in society.  Confucianism focuses mainly on social order while Daoism puts its central; focus on being one with the nature.
If an individual can practice five things anywhere in the world, he is a man of humanity...reverence, generosity, truthfulness, diligence and kindness (Ebrey 19).  Confucius gentleman has to possess these fine qualities to achieve success.  On the other side of the token, Daoism emphasized the need for similar entities.  Laozi explains: For minds, the depth is good.  In social relations, human-heartedness is good.  In speaking, the trustworthiness is good.  In government order is good (Ebrey 28).  Both systems, through through different approaches, promote peace and goodwill among the family, society and with neighboring states.
Both Confucianism and Daoism accept the presence of a supernatural entity but do not provide a clear explanation on it.  Both thought systems consider it mostly as a mystery that the human mind cannot fully comprehend or alter.  Confucius put great importance in conducting numerous rituals for various occasions.  He found it to be an essential part for the well being of society.  He said, when superiors love ritual, the people are easy to direct (Ebrey 22).  Xunzi provides a more elaborate explanation.  He said Ritual conduct is the perfection of decorum...Sages comprehend it, gentleman comfortably carries them out, officials preserves them and the common people consider them custom (Ebrey 25).  The same sense of mystery or vagueness can be sensed in Daoism.  Laozi said, The way that can be discussed is not the constant way...nameless is the source of Heaven and earth...Their identity can be called a mystery (Ebrey 27).
Both Confucianism and Daoism disfavored a harsh government.  Confucius urged to lead the people with virtue and rituals as opposed to government policies and punishment.  He believed that the ruler should gain respect through his deeds rather that achieving it through his status and authority.  Likewise, Daoism disliked the emphasis of status being displayed in ... more

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Human 2

There are two things that make up a human: god and animals.  Humans alone have morality, ability to know the principles of right and wrong behavior, and ethical judgment. Alexander Pope, Shakespeare, and Gilgamesh, these people and books, use concepts of human beings are: morality, divinity, and integrity.  In todays world it is shown that humans are very easily divinity and animal.
Concerns and perspective status of a person and behavior is what leads humans through life.  One of these is which perseverance gives determination of a strong-minded person.  A person leads himself with his or her own good moral conduct.  We are different than animals in a way, that we can see happiness, while most animals cant.  Economy is what lets you manage your household and private affairs.  Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself.  Courage holds your mind and soul together throughout thick and thin.  Human also have another trait, Self-consciousness.    Where we are aware of our bodies, and the control of movement, unlike animals.  We see ourselves in daily life, and an animal would not, not even in a mirror.  These are basic morals or ideals we humans live by today, in our mind and domains.
Gilgamesh believes that humans equal god plus animal.  The divine plus the beast makes up a person.  Another point that is mention on pg 49, is that man should be able to see his own death.  Humans are the only animals aware that they are going to die, and what might possibly happen.  Essay on Man, Alexander Pope, says that a man doubts everything.  Humans can see the good and bad in things, while an animal just wonders what it is.  The Humans mind and body both prefer different things.  The mind could say youre too fat, and yet the body is hungry.  Animals just eat whether they are hungry or not, in the wild they could careless about anything else.    Human condition is brought up here, where humans have to do more than just reproduction.  Gods they control life, and learn, and as part of such, Humans must too.  Humans now a days, go to school and college to learn.  Shakespeare, in Hamlet, believes that humans move like angels.  The mind of a human should be of the gods type.  We have knowledge, technology, and man made things waiting and built from us.  That humans are like animals.  We all came from the ground and we lay into the ground (ashes to ash, and dust to dust.), the quintessence of dust.  
Humans have structure their lives by morality and most of it is not by that ideal.  We all help another in the time of need.  Animals are aware of another in pain, but cannot help; they might eat the one in pain.  In art, we can look at a stupid shape or circle, and see beauty of all kinds.  Humans make tings for no real apparent reason of divinity.  Animals walk everywhere just showing their bodies, and humans have the idea of clothing themselves for reasons unknown.  We are animals, but the divinity (god) does not let us.  Humans have Medical care, glasses, contacts, make up, drugs; animals have no such things.  Animals die because of the down side, but the divinity we have does not let humans go to pieces for a little problem.  Humans have the ability of time!  Animals could care less.   They wake up, start the day, and go to sleep when the sun is going down.  Humans do not like that, the god side of them has to extend itself past that, and stay up longer, live longer, and be stronger.
In conclusion, humans have an urge to extend themselves past the animals to a hirer rank of human.  Humans have the same body characteristics as animals; hair, bones, blood, skin, and faces structure.  We have the urge of reproduction, sleep, food, and sense, but divinity has taken it hirer.  Gods have time, minds, knowledge, technology, brains, and style.  Humans have that too on the inside, but they also have the animals on the outside.  So in general, we are stuck in the middle of divinity and creature. ... more

the conduct of life

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