Mencius vs Hsun Tzu
Is man naturally good or is he evil? This question has not only been pondered by countless philosophers, but also by religious leaders around the world. Most often a single religious faith believes in either one or the other, and often these beliefs tend to create a certain world-view which dictates much of the faith. However, in some cases such as the one I will be discussing, two religious dignitaries do not agree and the repercussions of this can be found throughout the religion. The two men are Mencius, an early pupil of Confucius and Hsun Tzu, a later follower of the same faith. Mencius believed that each man, born of woman, would be naturally good and Hsun Tzu believed almost the complete opposite. Through Mencius and Hsun Tzu’s differing beliefs on human nature a completely different world view was formed for each and it’s effect on their ideas and more importantly a young religion were apparent.
Before venturing into the essay, however, I would like to consider where this religion originated, and the meanings for it’s existence as to better equip us to understand it’s views. Confucianism as a religion was founded by Confucius, a man. It involves no superior beings other than man himself, and deals specifically with the interactions between fellow men. It also specializes on the actions a government (King) should take for it’s people. The religion was founded by Confucian himself, he lived from 551 B.C.E. to approximately 479 B.C.E.. He was just a man with an opinion. His opinion sprung from his unhappiness with society and the fall it had taken from what it had been. It had changed to an empire where values were ignored, and the past was just that, the past. He foresaw a proud China with values restored, and humility made once again important. Confucian’s main ideas were to adapt the good things from the past to the technology of today. The “good things'; he speaks of are a government where the King is like a loving father to the people, where the King would protect his people and the people in turn would follow the King.
Mencius and Hsun Tzu (Xunzi) were two later teachers of the Confucius ideas, but each had their own twist to what Confucius had started. Not much is known about Mencius or Hsun Tzu, but some basic information stirs around various interpretations of their works. Mencius was found to be one of the most important pupils of Confucius, he continued his work and added many new outlooks and clarity to some of Confucius’ teachings. Hsun Tzu, on the other hand, was a very well journeyed man. He had been surrounded by war, involved in politics and had a much greater variety...