Confucianism and the West

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Throughout the course of the first half of the semester we have taken a broad scope of the major aspects of the phenomena that has been the recent history of China. When studying Modern China a common thread of ethical, cultural, religious, political, social, and economic aspects can be analyzed in relationship to Confucianism and its affect on international relations. These aspects show that historically (particularly the nineteenth century) China initially resisted the acceptance of Western influence in order to maintain its high level of uniqueness, isolation, and Confucianism which has bred its prosperity and demise.

From its early to modern societies it was abundantly clear that China would be a largely Confucian-based society. Confucianism is a major system of thought in China. Developed from the teachings of Confucius and his disciples, their ideals centered on concern with the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. Confucianism has influenced the Chinese attitude toward life, and set the patterns of living and standards of social value. The keynote of Confucian ethics is jen, variously translated as "love," "goodness," "humanity" and "respect for your neighbor" (http://www.formosa-kingdom.com/chinese/). Jen is a supreme virtue representing human qualities at their best. In human relations, jen is manifested in chung, or faithfulness to oneself and others. Other important Confucian virtues include righteousness, propriety, integrity, and filial piety. It is in this light that thoughts of Confucius can so largely affect all facets of life. Confucianism can affect and determine the ethical viewpoints of entire nations. The ideal social structure of East Asia was that of a Confucian hierarchy followed individually by a strong familial structure. Chinese society was modeled in a true Confucian structure with governmental workers being the elite, followed by the crop producing farmers, then the merchants, and...
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