Can Confucius Influence Our Lives Today? This Essay Looks At Confucian Ideals And Compares Them To Our Modern Society.

871 words - 3 pages

Can Confucius Influence Our Lives Today?Viewing Confucius' basic ideas and principles today, it is far easier to dismiss them according to our society rather than embrace them and take on the task of becoming a true gentleman. His beliefs were created based on a time of warring clans, turmoil, confusion, and a collapse of civilization in ancient China; now, we find ourselves in a time of prosperity and strong international relations, yet there is still confusion. In America, we must deal with terrorism and racism today. Confucius once said, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself" (Analects 15.23). This stands true in American society as the Golden Rule expressed in the Catholic Bible. "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6.31). It is not a question of whether Confucian ideals pertain to our society or not, but more or less if we can adapt them to our culture and permeate new variations into our Americanized lifestyles.In America today, politicians win public support through such relevant topics as care for the elderly, lowering taxes, supporting the less fortunate, and preparing our children for the future. Confucius taught that politics are ethics and everything must be ethical. Educating children is an essential step in preparing them for the future because they are the future. On the subject of education, Confucius said "Forever occupy your thoughts with education." He is telling the reader to always think about learning something new. One should be open to learning something from anyone that one meets, no matter how old or smart one thinks he is. He also said "Teaching is half learning." This means that the person who is teaching is also learning from his students. Like public schools, Confucius took in all male students interested in learning. He taught them to be gentlemen and to live life through the middle way.Confucius spoke about the saving power of jen. The term jen can be translated as "innate goodness, love, benevolence, perfect virtue, humaneness, and human heartedness" (Fisher 188). These terms relate to virtues that our society would like to uphold, but are not always possible. According to Confucius, the person who is wholly dedicated to jen is depicted as "one who is not motivated by personal profit but by what is moral, is concerned with self-improvement rather than public recognition, is ever mindful of parents, speaks cautiously but acts quickly, and regards human nature as basically good" (Fisher 188). On the other hand, we have the American Dream. Living in a democratic, capitalistic society, the American...

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