Confucius and mencius Essay
Reality for most people is not a pleasant circumstance because most humans bask in the idealistic view of life and refuse to face the problems in front of them - Confucius and mencius Essay introduction. It is most often that human’s defense mechanisms are at their very best when confronted with the hurtful reality. Defense mechanisms try to shield us from the painful truth, and in turn, make us go back to an idealistic state; hence, we do not face reality head on. Or at least not when were not ready.
Daoists believe that the way to live is the way of no-action and no-selfishness, which means that we should be able to live a frugal and simple life and not wish or hope for more than what is already with us.
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Language has been created by man in order for communication to be possible. Thoughts, ideas, and the impact of our everyday lives can be expressed through language. Without language, man cannot progress from the times when fire was not even discovered.
Therefore, language and reality coexist, one not being able to be without the other. For philosophers to be able to state what their philosophy is, they use language. The philosophy of language tries to comprehend how language is used to express concepts. In philosophy, the philosophers try to explain everything, even abstract ideas and concepts with the use of language. For example, there really is nothing to grasp in the word reality, it cannot be seen nor touched, and it is just a word used to describe something abstract, the reality of not having money, the reality of going to school, etc. And yet philosophers have devoted such huge amount of time trying to define what reality is according to their schools, their beliefs and their values.
Daoists are passive people and they believe that this is the way our lives should be led. If we are daoists, we should follow the concept of wu-wei, the concept of no action, and of being apathetic to what is happening around us. This is their way of living in a plain, simple, modest way of not wanting more from life. Daoists want and accept things the way they are presented to them and they would not want to change it. They accept it as it is. In the philosophy of language, what they used to explain reality is that, “‘The Tao gives birth to the One. The One gives birth to the Two. The Two gives birth to the Three. The Three give birth to the Ten Thousand.” (ARC Website). In simple words this just means that reality sprung from tao or the one, and the two is the yin and yang and the three is heaven, earth and humanity (ARC Website).
Contrary to this, the Confucians are the proactive ones. They do not just sit down and let the world pass by and happen as they are. Confucian followers believe in their want to change the world and hope that what they are doing is for the amelioration of life and everything in between. They suggest, they mold, they teach, they invent and everything that they can get their hands on they will try to come up with a solution to help and make something better. As mentioned by Capra, “He who conforms to the course of the Tao, following the natural processes of Heaven and Earth, find it easy to manage the whole world.” Even if they are one with the tao, they would still want to manage and possibly take over the world.
Reality for the Daoists lies in the fact that they do not want to change it. Reality for them is what is being seen now, and they have no problems with it because they think that if they try to change what is real, what reality is, that will be the source of their frustrations and their fight against it. The only reason that one cannot accept reality as it is would be because they want something more or they want something changed in their realities. And having to change reality because of something that you do not like with it or possibly agree with it makes you proactive and does not follow the wu-wei.
However, reality is very different with the Confucian followers. Confucians believe that they have the power to engineer reality to their preferences, change it the way they like it, and ameliorate it for what they think progress is. For them, the existence of an ultimate reality that cause and unite multiple things around us serves as reasoning for why things are the way they are. The Tao is how they called reality, which means the way, the way of the universe and the order of nature. For them, to live one with the tao, is to become one with the tao. A Confucian lives in harmony and lives one with the tao by succeeding in everything that he undergoes. And that even means fighting to improve reality. For them, moving forward is not really getting you far but just making you go back, it’s a cycle they believe.
I believe that being happy or happiness itself has very different meanings for these two philosophies. Human happiness in these times reflect mostly who we are, because it is the events that happen in our lives, the people that we meet and decide to keep, the goals that we reach, the things that we buy and we want but cannot buy, these are a few examples of how our happiness defines us. And happiness is very relative and dependent on the individual that experiences it.
The Daoist view of reality defines happiness by not wanting more than what you have now. Basically, I deem that what Daoists are trying to achieve is simplicity – whoever you are and whatever you have is equivalent to happiness already. They do not want to change or do anything more. Because doing more and changing things will just lead you to disappointments and dissatisfactions.
And for the Confucians, the only way to achieve happiness is in actually doing something to achieve it. Happiness is not imaginary for them, it has a form and to be able to be truly happy, they must move forward and achieve their goals. That is also the only way they can go back to the cycle.
Capra, Fritjof. “Chinese Thought.” Shotokai Enyclopedia. 2005. Karate Do Shotokai Enyclopedia on Karate-do and Japanese Martial Arts. 18 Jul 2008 <http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/filosofia/chinatao.html>.
“What do Daoists believe?.” Faiths amd Ecology. 2003. Alliance of Religions and Conservation. 18 Jul 2008 <http://www.arcworld.org/faiths.asp?pageID=35>.