Confucianism Versus Daoism: Responsibility

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Confucianism versus Daoism: Responsibility
Two schools of thought that arise around the same time in Ancient China are Confucianism and Daoism. Each teaches that people have certain responsibilities; however, they teach different types of responsibility. Kungfuzi, or Confucius, argues that every person has a responsibility placed on his shoulders to help improve society in the here and now. While Lao Tzu, the originator of Daoism, believes that each person has a responsibility, he believes that that responsibility is in regards to oneself rather than society. He believes that a person must work within themselves to reach peace with their Selves and with nature. Reaching this peace is something that does not take effort to achieve. The contrast between the two schools of thought becomes narrowed down to the concept of action versus inaction to improve society. Because of these differences, we can see that Confucius regards humans as highly capable of working within their respective classes, but that Lao Tzu believes that humans must be at peace with nature in order to reach their full potential.

Confucius’ ideas arise only a short time before Lao Tzu explains his beliefs. According to the Confucian teachings, people are capable of being taught and changed as long as they are taught the right way. The things people should be taught are things such as being virtuous and acting on what they teach while also keeping a healthy sense of morals and being aware of and willing to help other individuals in need. Confucius believes that each person should be held accountable for his actions in each field. This belief is supported by the fact that he thinks that the government should “lead [people] by means of virtue and regulate them through rituals [so that] they will have a sense of shame and moreover have standards” (“Confucian Teachings” paragraph 51). He believes that each person has the capacity to excel at each endeavor because societies were made to work in...
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