I begin my research paper on the impact and study of Confucius. Confucius was an educational inspiration to many. He reached ethical, political, social and educational realms of his society. Throughout history, Confucius is widely considered as one of the most important and influential individuals affecting the lives of humanity. He was known as the source of perennial good sense, and proverbial wisdom. This paper examines how Confucius developed his philosophy of education in response to a time of social unrest and political turmoil. He wanted harmony and peace, he wanted family relations to be foremost important.
He wanted this to be included in his form of education so that all who was educated by him or under his form of education got what they needed to live a harmonious life. He had such an impact on China and East Asia, that his philosophy of life and education continues to be practiced to this day. Not only has his educational and inspirational path reached China and East Asia it has reached all around the world. As you read through this paper you will grasp the educational and life influences Confucius had on all around him by examining his life and career as a philosopher-educator.
Philosopher for a Harmonious Society
There is no question that Confucius is very famous and influential, not only during his era but currently today as well. The same is true with his teachings. His lessons are still the statutes in which his followers live. Moreover, his philosophies are still applicable during the present.
The situation during the birth of Confucius and the time in which he lived is quite similar with what we have in our Country today. There is disorder and discord There are murders and varies forms of crimes due to greed and self-interests. There is turmoil in almost every aspect of our country. Whether it be families, schools, churches and government there are crimes happening all over.
Just like the time of Confucius we also must have a focused mind and a determined will to effect the change that we need in our society. We should not get tired and frustrated, but we need to continue doing what is right, hoping that an individual act of righteousness will be passed on to others and become a wild fire and rush through the lives of others burning kindness and igniting goodness in all.
As Confucius was saying, we need to become gentleman. We need to live in virtue and have a virtuous society. It is necessary for us to put virtue over material wealth. We need to focus on our moral needs. It seems morality is already lacking in our present time. Our values are already disappearing.
The present situation is partially since our leaders seem to lack morality. Leaders isn’t meant just for our government leaders, but includes, parents, pastors, priest, teachers, and those that have influence in our lives.
Confucius has said that righteousness is more important then riches and honor. We should not pursue our ambition if the result will be detrimental to others. Our desires for riches and honor should be done in the right way. Righteousness and goodness should be placed high above all desires. With Confucius teaching this way of life changes began to happen. “The laws created by Confucius, which based on his personal teachings, were very successful that crime almost disappeared” (C., & Dawson, M. M, 2014).
Confucius formulated a philosophy that has been endured for many years, yet very little is known about his earlier life. “Even at a young age, his interest in rites and rituals motivated him to undertake an extensive study of them. Confucius pursued two goals: gaining appointment as a government official and being a teacher” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 13). “Confucius designed an educational program to prepare good men as ethical administrators. He felt it was crucial that administrators be efficient but also ethical and benevolent person. As a teacher he was highly motivated by what he saw as the need to reestablish law and order in a war-ravaged China” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 14).
He believed that there are some things that you can control and take responsibility for and then there are others that are out of our control. One cannot control who their families are or the length of their life. However, we can control our relationships and how you treat other people and our chooses in life. He felt the purpose of human life was to be good, and as benevolent, and as ethical as possible.
He felt that benevolence was the utmost of importance, this depends on one’s own efforts. The key to benevolence is to “not impose on others what you yourself do not desire” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 15). He also felt virtue, courage reliability and respectfulness were all very important in the morals and values that you portrayed. “The learning which Confucius implied seemed to be a holistic knowledge of human character. The main emphasis was to know oneself, but by studying key signs one could also evaluate the character of another. The indications include one’s goals, motives, methods, and what gives one satisfaction.
He said, ‘Look closely into one’s aims, observe the means by which one pursues them, discover what brings one content-and can the person’s real worth remain hidden from you?’ However, the most advantageous use of studying others is to learn how to correct and improve ourselves; regardless of the person’s character we can learn a lesson, positive or negative. Confucius said, ‘When we see people of worth, we should think how we may learn to equal them. When we see people of a contrary character, we should turn inward and examine ourselves” (Beck, 2006).
Education for Confucius was a goal to develop a noble character; over time and by earnest study, the person gains the wisdom needed to lead an ethical life. Possessing a benevolent character, the ideal man is humane, wise and brave. He felt values and morals center on human relationships. Relationships should be based on good faith, genuine understanding, and respect for others. “Confucius presented himself as a transmitter who invented nothing, because he believed he was teaching the natural path to good behavior passed down from older, divine masters. Around the second century B. C, Confucius’s works were collected in to the Analects, a collection of sayings written down by his followers” (The Book of Life, 2015).
“The Analects are conversational interplay among a relatively limited cast of characters: Confucius, his disciples, and a group of power holders with whom Confucius interacts. The Analects was almost certainly used as a teaching text for later generations of disciples, who were taught not only the text but much detail about the contexts and characters. The Analects is composed of five hundred passages and is divided into twenty books” (Eno, 2015). There is much controversy on the Analects and how much is Confucius written. “The Analects are considered to be problematic and controversial work, having been compiled in variant versions long after Confucius’s death by disciples or the disciples of disciples. Some have argued that, because of the text’s inconsistencies and incompatibilities of thought, there is much in the Analects that is not non-Confucian and should be discarded as a basis for understanding the thought of Confucius” (The Life and Work of Confucius, 2013).
Confucius felt that there is a specific hierarchy of relationship. He felt that everyone will know his or her place, duties, and responsibilities and the proper way of performing these duties if they follow the hierarchy. “He had five relationships: between parent and child, elder brother and younger brother, husband and wife, friend and friend, and ruler and subject” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 17). Every relationship carries specific roles and responsibilities. “The Five Relationships and the ethical hierarchy based on them had profound implications for Chinse society and government” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 18).
I myself wouldn’t want to be told what to do for all my life. Americans would probably fray from using this ritual and educational pattern. Yes, I can relate to the relationships which is so very important to have. Yet, when you reach a certain age, you remain to respect and obey your parents, but become an individual person. Your parents teach you what is right and wrong and how to treat people as you would want to be treated. Confucius, I believe wants a father to role the son’s future. I believe you need to succeed on your own. Ones parents can set you on the right path, but its you who makes the turns to your own destination.
Confucius as an educator and made his students feel comfortable in his presence. His teaching was informal and largely conversational. He taught poetry, music, and rituals. He wanted the outcome of his students to be characters of goodness and benevolence. “He mixed his theology with his ideas of politics. So, he encouraged everybody to behave as they should in whatever role they had in their society. He said that if they did so, there would be harmony and prosperity and happiness” (Confucius, 2018).
His educational style became known as Confucianism. “After Confucius’s death, his disciples traveled throughout China. Some were appointed as government officials and others became influential teachers. It was when a new emperor Han Kao Tsu stepped into government that he overpowered many and made Confucianism China’s official State philosophy (Gutek, 2013, Pg. 23). To this day Confucianism remains in Contemporary Chinese schools. “Confucianism can provide a multiculturalism that integrates human commonality as well as cultural diversity. It can relate that personal and the local to the larger global human concerns of “civility, humanity and the common good” (Gutek, 2013, pg. 27).
Reflecting on all the philosophers that have been reviewed. I am glad I picked Confucius. What I take out of the readings that I have done to complete this paper is that he was a good man. He wanted peace and harmony.in society. We need this in our world today. We have so much hatred, bitterness, and envy. I do believe that some of his messages can be misinterpreted or incorrect application. If one is too strict, proud, lacking genuine goodness or moral compass, and miss placed loyalty, they aren’t being true to oneself and others. He wanted to teach and portray genuine goodness. I strongly agree with many of his teachings.
Respect and obedience to parents. I feel this is lacking currently and it needs to be brought back. That is where it all begins. How you raise and teach your children, morals, values, respect etc. Is how they are going to treat others and raise their children. I do believe there is still good in our world, even though it is few and far between, it’s still here. The world we live in lacks God’s kindness, and love. We all need to love one another and treat each other with kindness and genuine respect. I can see why Confucius was a legend of his time and remains to affect many others to this day. His kindness and respect were genuine, and he wanted it to be contagious. We all can learn a lot from this man and his theories. I know I did. Like Confucius said, “If you can be one thing be kind”, and Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
- Essays, UK. (November 2013). The Life And Work Of Confucius. Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/philosophy/the-life-and-work-of-confucius-philosophy-essay.php?vref=1
- Beck, S. (2006). Confucius and Socrates: Teaching wisdom. Goleta, CA: World Peace Communications.
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- C., & Dawson, M. M. (2014). The ethics of Confucius. Whitefish, MT: Literary Licensing.
- R. E. (2015). The Analects of Confucius An online teaching Translation. Retrieved June 22, 2018, from http://www.indiana.edu/~p374/Analects_of_Confucius_(Eno-2015).pdf
- 2015 (Version 2.21)
- Gutek, G. L. (2013). Historical and philosophical foundations of education: A biographical introduction. New York: Pearson.