15 Kasım 2010 Pazartesi


-Yang-Tze River, Yellow River
-Geographically isolated land mass: Himalayas, Pacific Ocean.
-Cultural stability.

Rice Agriculture
-Vital for survival.
-Requires a very-well organized social structure.
-Carefully designed social roles.
-Provided stability through centuries.

Shih Huangdi The First Emperor known as the Tiger of Qin 256 B. C.
Founding of the Qin (Chin) Dynasty 221-207 B. C. Short lived due to harsh rule.

Terra-Cotta Statues of the Army

Forbidden City

The Great Wall

The Chinese Political Philosophy and Historic Change
The Mandate of Heaven is discussed as a political social philosophy that served to explain the success and failure of monarchs and states until the end of the empire in 1911, the Chinese Nationalist Revolution of Sun Yat Sen. Whenever dynasties fell, the reason was that the rulers had lost the moral right to rule, the Mandate of Heaven, which is given by Heaven alone. The theory is claimed to be the invention of the Chou (Zhou) dynasty to justify their theory of overthrowing the Shang. Paternal and familial values, the importance of harmony among members of social hierarchy were major components of this philosophy. The tradition was probably derived from the ancient faith of the Chou in Tien hsia, the supreme divinity of heaven, similar to the Tangri of the Ancient Turks who shared a frontier culture between North China and the Steppe world of the Nomads beyond the Great Wall of China. According to the Chinese perception of the cosmos, Heaven was cosmic force that ruled the world of man and nature with one law, that of morality. Note how I Yin the chief minister explains the virtuous rule of the Hsia kings as represented in the peaceful and tranquil conduct of nature – no calamities from Heaven. Birds and the beasts, fishes and tortoises enjoyed existence according to the nature. But, when rulers are corrupt and loose their moral character, nature as the instrument of Heaven’s wrath punishes all by calamities, and even work as a divine inspiration for peasant rebellions. Natural calamities and popular protest are reflections of Heaven’s moral indignation on the decline of virtue in the world of men. This cycle of morality, virtue, and political change explained the rise and fall of dynasties in Chinese history, the dynastic cycle which had a metaphysical explanation behind the politics of change.

Age of Philosophy and Confucius

The 6th century B.C. in Greece and in Ancient China represent the age of philosophy in human history. The age of the Hundred Schools corresponds to the Classical Age of Greek Antiquity, an interesting coincidence in historical change. Confucius, K’ung fu tzu, latinized by later European scholars who admired the principles of Chinese Civilization, lived between 551-479, a decade before the birth of his great Greek counterpart Socrates 469-399 B.C. Plato lived 427-347 B.C. again quite contemporary to the Chinese philosophers. Both believed that a good society or state had to be led by men of superior virtue and wisdom. Both distrusted laws and regulations because they made men devious, and distrusted merchants because they were greedy. Neither favored democracy, but believed in absolute truth and that humans should live in harmony and peace. While Confucius believed men were inherently good, Plato argued men needed controls an idea closer to the Legalists who were rivals of Confucius in Chinese society.

Confucius systematized what was already a familiar discussion in Chinese culture and his disciples prepared the written text of the Analects, Lun-yu, that became the major corpus of learning in Chinese society in the later ages, constituting the written texts that became the foundation of the tradition of the centralized state.

Confucius starts off by arguing that men are born Good. Evil or Corruption is the result of loosing the Way and not a consequence of inherited traits or Original Sin. Education therefore is the only and crucial means with which a person can discover the good in himself or herself and become a cultivated gentlemen. While Confucius approved of a society of elites, and a social hierarchy, his arguments assume that all men have the potential for becoming Chun-tzu or a cultivated gentlemen which infuses an egalitarian principle into his political and social philosophy. The Gentleman is not an implement, a technician or specialist. He should be a man of all seasons, having a great vision, a balanced perspective without bias over many questions. A gentleman thinks of the Way not how to make a living even if he is a farmer. Confucius did not idealize poverty as would be the case of ascetic religious life, but that wealth and prosperity should not be the only object of one’s desire.

Confucius emphasized the major importance of the ideal of filial piety, meaning the obligations and duties of children toward parents that now became the model for governing the relations of rulers and subject. Filial piety is the base of the tree trunk of a gentlemen’s character. Feeding is not good enough, loyalty and respect have to complement the performance of one’s duties toward parents. The virtue of Ren or humanity was a major quality of a gentleman. Ren is human heartedness, love, benevolence, propriety which makes the world go around.

Confucius envisioned a society in which human relationships defined the individual not laws. Five Relationship Doctrine of the Mean, of ruler subject, father son, husband wife, elder brother younger brother, and friend and friend. An orderly society is one where all behave according to the expectations of these social relationships in reciprocity of benevolence and loyalty, cultivate their persons by the investigation of things, knowledge extended. For Confucius, it was the familial universe of the Five Relations that was the ideal society of a human being, whereas for Plato it was the city or polis. Human nature for Confucius was one and good, whereas it constituted of three parts, rational, desires for pleasure and wealth, a part which favored spirited love of honor and victory. While the guardians of Plato excelled in wisdom, they were similar to the gentlemen of Confucius but Plato’s guardians led by a philosopher king had true knowledge whereas the others had beliefs. The Gentleman of Confucius is the product of a meritocratic principle if not a social order for anyone with good cultivation can become one. In this sense Plato has less faith in human’s ability to create a perfect society. Most people were destined to live by mistaking shadows for reality. Both were founders of political thought and social ideals in their civilizations. And both were concerned about the solution to injustice and chaos in the world of human kind.

The art of government concerned all Chinese scholars. Confucianism is the most famous of the many schools of thought which debated about what Good government should be and what was the ideal social utopia of human kind. For Confucius, rule by force or even by the constraints of rule and regulations prescribed by written codes were inferior modes of political power. The great ruler does so from the sheer charisma of moral force, and keep order by ritual. Correct etiquette, and the court and religious ceremonies in all matters. It is leadership by example, not by enforcement. In the ideal Confucian state of affairs, good government and social harmony are achieved by a sort of influenza effect of the positive influence emanating naturally from the leader to the community effortlessly.