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    Confucianism, also known as Ru'ism is a political philosophy (and, to an extent, religion, although some argue that it is more of an organized form of Chinese folk religion) that first set a standard of Chinese culture, as well as East Asian culture as a whole.

    Theory[edit | edit source]

    Confucianism was first conceived by Confucius (c.551 – c. 479 BCE), taking heavy inspiration from Chinese folk culture, and made the Chinese people united under one and a love for the state. It was brought back with Neo-Confucianism to battle against Taoism and Buddhism. Currently, Confucianism still remains a strong influence in East Asia.It revolves around the pursuit of the unity of the individual self and the God of Heaven (Tiān 天), or, otherwise said, around the relationship between humanity and Heaven. The principle of Heaven (Lǐ 理 or Dào 道) is the order of the creation and the source of divine authority, monistic in its structure.Individuals may realise their humanity and become one with Heaven through the contemplation of such order. This transformation of the self may be extended to the family and society to create a harmonious fiduciary community. Joël Thoraval studied Confucianism as a diffused civil religion in contemporary China, finding that it expresses itself in the widespread worship of five cosmological entities: Heaven and Earth (Di 地), the sovereign or the government (jūn 君), ancestors (qīn 親) and masters (shī 師).

    Tiān and the gods[edit | edit source]

    Tiān (天), a key concept in Chinese thought, refers to the God of Heaven, the northern culmen of the skies and its spinning stars,earthly nature and its laws which come from Heaven, to "Heaven and Earth" (that is, "all things"), and to the awe-inspiring forces beyond human control.There are such a number of uses in Chinese thought that it is not possible to give one translation into English.

    Confucius used the term in a mystical way.He wrote in the Analects (7.23) that Tian gave him life, and that Tian watched and judged (6.28; 9.12). In 9.5 Confucius says that a person may know the movements of the Tian, and this provides with the sense of having a special place in the universe. In 17.19 Confucius says that Tian spoke to him, though not in words. The scholar Ronnie Littlejohn warns that Tian was not to be interpreted as a personal God comparable to that of the Abrahamic faiths, in the sense of an otherworldly or transcendent creator.Rather it is similar to what Taoists meant by Dao: "the way things are" or "the regularities of the world", which Stephan Feuchtwang equates with the ancient Greek concept of physis, "nature" as the generation and regenerations of things and of the moral order.Tian may also be compared to the Brahman of Hindu and Vedic traditions.The scholar Promise Hsu, in the wake of Robert B. Louden, explained 17:19 ("What does Tian ever say? Yet there are four seasons going round and there are the hundred things coming into being. What does Tian say?") as implying that even though Tian is not a "speaking person", it constantly "does" through the rhythms of nature, and communicates "how human beings ought to live and act", at least to those who have learnt to carefully listen to it.

    Social morality and ethics[edit | edit source]

    Confucian ethical codes are described as humanistic even if it's de-facto the core of the Chinese patriarchy .They may be practiced by all the members of a society. Confucian ethics is characterised by the promotion of virtues, encompassed by the Five Constants, Wǔcháng (五常) in Chinese, elaborated by Confucian scholars out of the inherited tradition during the Han dynasty.The Five Constants are:

    • 義 (Yi) - Righteousness and Justice.for the landlords
    • 信 (Xin) - Honesty and Trustworthiness.
    • 忠 (Chung) - Loyalty to the state, etc.
    • 禮 (Li) - includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc.
    • 孝 (Hsiao) - love within the family, love of parents for their children, and love of children for their parents literally patriarchy

    Social harmony results in part from every individual knowing his or her place in the natural order, and playing his or her part well. Reciprocity or responsibility (renqing) extends beyond filial piety and involves the entire network of social relations, even the respect for rulers.This is shown in the story where Duke Jing of Qi asks Confucius about government, by which he meant proper administration so as to bring social harmony.

    齊景公問政於孔子。孔子對曰:君君,臣臣,父父,子子。 The duke Jing, of Qi, asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son."

    — Analects 12.11 (Legge translation). Particular duties arise from one's particular situation in relation to others. The individual stands simultaneously in several different relationships with different people: as a junior in relation to parents and elders, and as a senior in relation to younger siblings, students, and others. While juniors are considered in Confucianism to owe their seniors reverence, seniors also have duties of benevolence and concern toward juniors. The same is true with the husband and wife relationship where the husband needs to show benevolence towards his wife and the wife needs to respect the husband in return. This theme of mutuality still exists in East Asian cultures even to this day.

    The Five Bonds are: ruler to ruled, father to son, husband to wife, elder brother to younger brother, friend to friend. Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these sets of relationships. Such duties are also extended to the dead, where the living stand as sons to their deceased family. The only relationship where respect for elders isn't stressed was the friend to friend relationship, where mutual equal respect is emphasised instead. All these duties take the practical form of prescribed rituals, for instance wedding and death rituals.

    History[edit | edit source]

    Confucianism was first conceived of by Confucius, taking heavy inspiration from Chinese folk culture, and made the Chinese people united under one and a love for the state. It was brought back with Neo-Confucianism to battle against Taoism and Buddhism. Currently, Confucianism still remains a strong influence in East Asia.

    Qin Dynasty[edit | edit source]

    Burn the books and bury alive the Confucian scholars(焚書坑儒)[edit | edit source]

    Confucianism was rejected by the Qin Dynasty because it was critical of Qin policy. The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Shi Huangdi (r. 221-210 BCE), established a repressive regime, completely at odds with Confucian ideals, and adopted Legalism as the state philosophy in order to strictly control the populace. Many followers of Confucianism were purged that time for they used phrases from Confucian texts to express their opposition to the imperial government.

    • Burn the books(焚書) - In 213 BC, Li Si had become the prime minister of Qin. He argued against the reformist officials who supported the Qin dynasty's system of feudalism, arguing that the Qin society at that time was not comparable to that of the Three Emperors and Five Emperors, e and that scholars at that time were fond of making use of the past to satirise the present. In order to prohibit scholars from arrogantly discussing imperial affairs and to implement a unification of thought, Qin Shi Huang ordered the burning of the history books of all vassal states except the Qin, as well as folk books documenting political systems and even poems and songs.
    • Bury alive the Confucian scholars(坑儒) - During the reign of Qin Shi Huang, he devoted himself to finding ways to live forever. The reputation of Qin Shi Huang was tarnished when some of his practitioners quoted Confucian classics to express their opposition to his actions (a delusion that proved to be anti-scientific). As a result, Qin Shi Huang sent an audit of the "students" of Xianyang, including magicians, scholars, students, etc. (not exactly supporters of Confucianism, the damage done to Confucianism was highlighted mainly because of Liu Xiang's rhetoric), and finally found that more than 460 of them had slandered the emperor. In order to punish future generations, they were buried alive in Xianyang.

    Han Dynasty[edit | edit source]

    The short-lived dictatorship of the Qin marked a brief triumph of Legalism. In the early years of the Western Han (206 BCE–25 CE), however, the Legalist practice of absolute power of the emperor, complete subjugation of the peripheral states to the central government, total uniformity of thought, and ruthless enforcement of law were replaced by the Daoist practice of reconciliation and noninterference. That practice is commonly known in history as the Huang-Lao method, referring to the art of rulership attributed to the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) and the mysterious founder of Daoism, Laozi. Although a few Confucian thinkers, such as Lu Jia and Jia Yi, made important policy recommendations, Confucianism before the emergence of Dong Zhongshu (c. 179–c. 104 BCE) was not particularly influential. Nonetheless, the gradual Confucianization of Han politics began soon after the founding of the dynasty.

    By the reign of Wudi (the “Martial Emperor”; 141–87 BCE), who inherited the task of consolidating power in the central Han court, Confucianism was deeply entrenched in the central bureaucracy. It was manifest in such practices as the clear separation of the court and the government, often under the leadership of a scholarly prime minister, the process of recruiting officials through the dual mechanism of recommendation and selection, the family-centred social structure, the agriculture-based economy, and the educational network. Confucian ideas were also firmly established in the legal system as ritual became increasingly important in governing behaviour, defining social relationships, and adjudicating civil disputes. Yet it was not until the prime minister Gongsun Hong (died 121 BCE) had persuaded Wudi to announce formally that the ru school alone would receive state sponsorship that Confucianism became an officially recognized imperial ideology and state cult.

    As a result, Confucian Classics became the core curriculum for all levels of education. In 136 BCE Wudi set up at court five Erudites of the Five Classics and in 124 BCE assigned 50 official students to study with them, thus creating a de facto imperial university. By 50 BCE enrollment at the university had grown to an impressive 3,000, and by 1 CE a hundred students a year were entering government service through the examinations administered by the state. In short, those with a Confucian education began to staff the bureaucracy. In the year 58 all government schools were required to make sacrifices to Confucius, and in 175 the court had the approved version of the Classics, which had been determined by scholarly conferences and research groups under imperial auspices for several decades, carved on large stone tablets. (Those stelae, which were erected at the capital, are today well preserved in the museum of Xi’an.) That act of committing to permanence and to public display the content of the sacred scriptures symbolized the completion of the formation of the classical Confucian tradition.

    Jin Dynasties[edit | edit source]

    As the imperial Han system disintegrated, barbarians invaded from the north. The plains of northern China were fought over, despoiled, and controlled by rival groups, and a succession of states were established in the south. That period of disunity, from the early 3rd to the late 6th century, marked the decline of Confucianism, the upsurge of xuanxue (“Obscure Learning”; sometimes called neo-Daoism), and the spread of Buddhism.

    The prominence of Daoism and Buddhism among the cultural elite and the populace in general, however, did not mean that the Confucian tradition had disappeared. In fact, Confucian ethics was by then virtually inseparable from the moral fabric of Chinese society. Confucius continued to be universally honoured as the paradigmatic sage. The outstanding Daoist thinker Wang Bi (226–249) argued that Confucius, by not speculating on the nature of the dao, had an experiential understanding of it superior to Laozi’s. The Confucian Classics remained the foundation of all literate culture, and sophisticated commentaries were produced throughout the age. Confucian values continued to dominate in such political institutions as the central bureaucracy, the recruitment of officials, and local governance. The political forms of life also were distinctively Confucian. When a barbarian state adopted a sinicization policy, notably the case of the Northern Wei (386–534/535), it was by and large Confucian in character. In the south systematic attempts were made to strengthen family ties by establishing clan rules, genealogical trees, and ancestral rituals based on Confucian ethics.

    Tang Dynasty[edit | edit source]

    The reunification of China by the Sui (581–618) and the restoration of lasting peace and prosperity by the Tang (618–907) gave a powerful stimulus to the revival of Confucian learning. The publication of a definitive official edition of the Wujing with elaborate commentaries and subcommentaries and the implementation of Confucian rituals at all levels of governmental practice, including the compilation of the famous Tang legal code, were two outstanding examples of Confucianism in practice. An examination system based on literary competence was established. That system made the mastery of Confucian Classics a prerequisite for political success and was therefore perhaps the single-most-important institutional innovation in defining elite culture in Confucian terms.

    The Tang dynasty, nevertheless, was dominated by Buddhism and, to a lesser degree, by Daoism. The philosophical originality of the dynasty was mainly represented by monk-scholars such as Jizang (549–623), Xuanzang (602–664), and Zhiyi (538–597). An unintended consequence in the development of Confucian thought in that context was the prominent rise of the metaphysically significant Confucian texts, notably Zhongyong (“Doctrine of the Mean”) and Yizhuan (“The Great Commentary of the Classic of Changes”), which appealed to some Buddhist and Daoist thinkers. A sign of a possible Confucian turn in the Tang was Li Ao’s (died c. 844) essay “Returning to Nature” that foreshadowed features of Song (960–1279) Confucian thought. The most-influential precursor of a Confucian revival, however, was Han Yu (768–824). He attacked Buddhism from the perspectives of social ethics and cultural identity and provoked interest in the question of what actually constitutes the Confucian Way. The issue of Daotong, the transmission of the Way or the authentic method to repossess the Way, has stimulated much discussion in the Confucian tradition since the 11th century.

    Song Dynasty[edit | edit source]

    The Cheng–Zhu school (Chinese: 程朱理學; pinyin: Chéng Zhū lǐxué), is one of the major philosophical schools of Neo-Confucianism, based on the ideas of the Neo-Confucian philosophers Cheng Yi, Cheng Hao, and Zhu Xi. It is also referred to as the Rationalistic School. Zhu Xi's formulation of the Neo-Confucian world view is as follows. He believed that the Dao (Chinese: 道; pinyin: dào; lit. 'way') of Tian (Chinese: 天; pinyin: tiān; lit. 'heaven') is expressed in principle or li (Chinese: 理; pinyin: lǐ), but that it is sheathed in matter or qi (Chinese: 氣; pinyin: qì). In this, his system is based on Buddhist systems of the time that divided things into principle (again, li), and shi (Chinese: 事; pinyin: shì).

    In contrast to Buddhists and Daoists, Neo-Confucians did not believe in an external world unconnected with the world of matter. In addition, Neo-Confucians in general rejected the idea of reincarnation and the associated idea of karma.

    In the Neo-Confucian formulation, li in itself is pure and almost-perfect, but with the addition of qi, base emotions and conflicts arise. Human nature is originally good, the Neo-Confucians argued (following Mencius), but not pure unless action is taken to purify it. The imperative is then to purify one's li.

    Different Neo-Confucians had differing ideas for how to do so. Zhu Xi believed in gewu (Chinese: 格物; pinyin: géwù), the 'investigation of things', essentially an academic form of observational science, based on the idea that li lies within the world.

    Yuan Dynasty[edit | edit source]


    Ming and Qing Dynasty[edit | edit source]

    Bureaucratic examinations[edit | edit source]

    Neo-Confucianism became the interpretation of Confucianism whose mastery was necessary to pass the bureaucratic examinations by the Ming, and continued in this way through the Qing dynasty until the end of the Imperial examination system in 1905. However, some have questioned the degree to which their role as the orthodox interpretation in state examinations reflects the degree to which both the bureaucrats and Chinese gentry actually believed those interpretations, and point out that there were very active schools such as Han learning which offered competing interpretations of Confucianism.

    The competing school of Confucianism was called the Evidential School or Han Learning and argued that neo-Confucianism had caused the teachings of Confucianism to be hopelessly contaminated with Buddhist thinking. This school also criticized neo-Confucianism for being overly concerned with empty philosophical speculation that was unconnected with reality.

    Lu–Wang school[edit | edit source]

    Main entry: Yangmingism

    Wang Yangming (Wang Shouren), probably the second most influential neo-Confucian, came to another conclusion: namely, that if li is in all things, and li is in one's heart-mind, there is no better place to seek than within oneself. His preferred method of doing so was jingzuo (Chinese: 靜坐; pinyin: jìngzuò; lit. 'quiet sitting'), a practice that strongly resembles Chan (Zen) meditation, or zuochan (Japanese: 座禅; Chinese: 坐禪; pinyin: zuòchán; lit. 'seated meditation'). Wang Yangming developed the idea of innate knowing, arguing that every person knows from birth the difference between good and evil. Such knowledge is intuitive and not rational. These revolutionizing ideas of Wang Yangming would later inspire prominent Japanese thinkers like Motoori Norinaga, who argued that because of the Shinto deities, Japanese people alone had the intuitive ability to distinguish good and evil without complex rationalization. Wang Yangming's school of thought (Ōyōmei-gaku in Japanese) also provided, in part, an ideological basis for some samurai who sought to pursue action based on intuition rather than scholasticism. As such, it also provided an intellectual foundation for the radical political actions of low ranking samurai in the decades prior to the Meiji Restoration (1868), in which the Tokugawa shogunate (1600–1868) was overthrown.

    Republic of China (1912-1949)[edit | edit source]

    The May Fourth Movement[edit | edit source]

    During the May Fourth Movement, when Chinese people began to pursue democracy, freedom and public morality, many students studying abroad brought back to China new ideas from abroad, and the spread of these new ideas almost always began by reflecting on and criticising the Confucian culture that had ruled China for some 2,000 years. During the May Fourth Movement, intellectuals who opposed Confucianism could be broadly divided into two factions:

    Liberal Democrats[edit | edit source]

    Their criticism of Confucianism was relatively mild, a democratic critique of the exclusive status of Confucianism. They did not want to outlaw Confucianism altogether, but rather wanted Confucianism as a political system to coexist with other political systems in a free game of pluralism. They offer the following critique of Confucianism:

    • Confucianism, with its emphasis on grand unification, makes it easy for Chinese to become ultra-nationalists and makes it more difficult for Chinese to accept foreign cultures and globalization.
    • Confucianism promoted the rule of man, which was at odds with the dominant liberal and democratic values of the international community at the time
    • Confucianism's emphasis on the importance of observing morality and encouraging the abandonment of basic human rights for the sake of inner morality is incompatible with the humanists' assertion that basic human rights are emphasized.
    Communists[edit | edit source]

    Communists were fierce in their criticism of Confucianism, which benefits from the fundamental opposition between communist ideals and Confucian ideas.

    • Communists aspire to a communist society in which everyone gets what they want, while Confucian supporters want a world of Great Harmony(大同社会 in Chinese) governed by a wise and virtuous ruler in which everyone observes morality.
    • Communists wanted to enter the ideal society through constant revolutions, while confucianists wanted to enter the ideal society through the middle way (a moderate, centrist reform).
    • Communist heavily despise the historic background of Confucianism being the backbone ideology of Chinese feudalism.

    after the May Fourth Movement, the influence of confucianism in China waned significantly.

    Xueheng School(学衡派)[edit | edit source]

    Main entry: Xueheng School

    The Xueheng School is an organization founded in Republic of China in 1920s. The school was impacted by the New Humanism of Irving Babbitt, amid the crisis of modernity debates after the First World War. Thus, the school went against full westernization of China, but rather promote careful, selective absorption of western culture. They advocated the fundamental spirit of Confucianism as the key to solving the problems of life in today's world. They see Confucius as the master of Chinese culture and consider Confucianism to be the quintessence of Chinese humanism, advocating humanism in an age of science.

    PRC(1949-)[edit | edit source]

    The Cultural Revolution[edit | edit source]

    During the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism was regarded as a reactionary ideology, and the demand to "break the Four Olds" led the rebels to actively destroy everything related to Confucius, and the impact on Confucian culture during this period was incalculable.

    • The Sinful Life of Kung the second(孔老二罪恶的一生) - This little man's book portrays Kung the second as a reactionary who supports the doctrine of Confucius and tries to restore the imperial system, often performing many ludicrous acts. It shows the hatred of Confucius by prominent political figures of the time, and reflects the flourishing movement to criticise Confucius.

    However, subsequent Chinese history tells us that the cultural pluralism that the Cultural Revolution predicted would emerge after the overthrow of Confucianism did not take root in China, and the PRC continued to move towards the one-party dictatorship of the CPC. This situation illustrates the successful transformation of China's ideological and cultural values by the Confucian cultural tradition following the "dismissal of the hundred schools of thought and the exclusive reverence for Confucianism" of Dong Zhongshu and Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty over the past 2,000 years.

    Relationships[edit | edit source]

    The gentlemen(君子)[edit | edit source]

    • Humanism - Confucianism is human-oriented.
      • - You say you are human-oriented, yet how can you guarantee the rights of your so-called villians?
    • Agrarianism - Confucianism is rooted in agrarian culture.
    • Caste System - A complete society is bound to have gentlemen and villains.
    • Paternalistic Conservatism - Mainly me in western cultures. (despite the fact that he doesn't like the past as much as I do.)
    • Technocracy - A country ruled by an ethical wise man with expertise in one field is based.
    • Meritocracy - Hey boy wanna take my civil servant exam?
    • Moralism - Doing good things is the best way to become a person of virtue.(賢人)
    • Virtue Ethics - A well functioning society needs De!
    • Apoliticism - One should only plan for government when he is in a position to do so. (不在其位,不谋其政)
    • Traditionalism - I always remember the old good days of Zhou Dynasty.
    • Reactionarism - It will be better if I can go back to my good old days.
    • Welfarism - Those who are old and have no spouse, those who are young and have no parents, those who are old and have no children, and those who are disabled are provided for. (鳏,寡,孤,独,废疾者皆有所养)
    • Progressive Conservatism - We should find ways of social progress in traditions and conformity.

    The common(布衣)[edit | edit source]

    • Agriculturalism - You're more extreme than Pan-Agrarianism, exactely, too much. Monarchs shouldn't work like farmers!
    • Moral Individualism - Adherence to ethics is good, but why can't you accept a universal set of values?
    • Moral Universalism - It is true that moral standards should be universally applicable - but in every society there are villains who, no matter how much they are indoctrinated, cannot abide by moral standards and to whom morality does not apply.
    • Utilitarianism - You know the way to be a gentleman,but your approach can ruin your De semetimes.
    • Anti-Authoritarianism - I hate imperial tyranny as much as you do, but why do you always call me an authoritarian?
    • Dengism - I used to support you for taking the place of his tyranny, yet you ruined your De in 1989.
    • Yangmingism - My son. Yet he always disagrees with me which really ruined his De.
    • Abolitionism - I agree that most of the slaves deserve human rights, yet some people are just like decayed wood which cannot be carved or respected.
    • Utopianism - I like the utopian ideal of a commonwealth society, but I have to admit that we are now in a world of ritual chaos.
    • Tridemism - You didn't have to abolish the monarchy... At least you are influenced by Neo-Confucianism. Unfortunally you lost your mandate to him.

    The small men(小人)[edit | edit source]

    • Legalism - My worst enemy. Ignore the fact that we've ruled China together for about 2000 years.
    • Yangism - Only Caring yourself, without loyalty to the monarch.
    • Mohism - Loving everyone, without filial piety to the father.
    • Feudalism - I tried to like you. It didn't work and I fell apart and became agar.io. 0/10, I will never try again.
    • Mercantilism - Drug dealer, go find someone else.
    • Hedonism - Where is your Li, you little degenerate?
    • Maoism - Pfft... anyone can have power these days no matter how despotic they are. That's why you lost your mandate and he replaced you.
    • Nihilism - No morality or religion? Heathens.
    • Kleptocracy - You lost your mandates, your overthrow is inevitable.
    • Tribalism - Submit to the Mandate of Heaven you Barbarians!
    • Tyranny - Tyranny is the worst kind of political system. (Ignore the fact that some of my followers in China embrace or even promote tyranny)
    • Individualism - No. Individualism will only lead to a world full of small men.
    • Anarchism - The people need a superior class to rule.
    • Kakistocracy - The current state of society after the Western Zhou Dynasty.Some RETARDED progressives think I am you, literally brainwashed by your philosophy.
      • - Teechur? Bad! I wanna plai!
    • Democracy - The rule of the ignorant masses will eventually lead to it.
    • Radical Democracy & E-Democracy & Liquid Democracy - Same as above yet even worse.

    Quotes[edit | edit source]

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

    1. Confucianism is atheistic in it's firm rejection to absolute deity, an afterlife, mysticism and the rejection of faith.
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