Compare and contrast confucianism with taoism
Confucianism. Kung Fu Tzu (Confucious) was the founder of Confucian Philosophy that believed that in times of a violent social change, ‘li’ or tradition can return society to its original, stable state. This will allow society to accept only what would benefit it. ‘Li’ can also train even the lowest person to become a ruler, because through rituals and education, he can follow a model. This is the ultimate form of human development.
Taoism. ‘Tao’ means the way or path.
This philosophy was founded by Lao Tze. This is about man’s search for his place and fulfilling his role in the natural scheme of things. To go beyond this role, for the Taoists, is to cause chaos, frustration and a sense of the incomplete. To discover our place in the ‘Tao Te Ching’ (The Way and Its Power) we must look inside ourselves and nature for the answer. Another very important teaching of Taoism is the ‘Wu Wei’ or doing nothing, applied it means letting things take their natural course.
Similarities. (1) Both Philosophies believed in the Doctrine of the Golden Mean, that if a condition turned into the extreme, it will turnaround. This gives hope and courage to persevere. (2) Both schools of thoughts seek Knowledge or Education. For Confucianism it is the means for a person to see his place in the order of things and for Taoism it is empowering. (3) Confucianism and Taoism both seek harmony in the world. For Confucianism it is through its ethical teachings and for Taoism it is through the ‘Wu Wei.’
Differences. (1) Conventions. Confucianism believed that children ought to learn the rules and ethics of society that are important as well as necessary in life. For Taoism it must the old people who should recover the natural conduct of society before it was totally destroyed by new norms. (2) The ‘Tao.’ In Confucianism, the Tao of Man is the right path to a moral life and in Taoism, it is the cosmic way and process or the natural order.
Confucianism and Taoism are more complimentary than contradictory. They have been a great part of the Chinese mind and culture, that a person is not complete if he has one but without the other.
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