Eastern And Western Parallels Essay

1666 words - 7 pages

Throughout time, Westerners have more or less oppressed Eastern culture, creating the west as the metaphysical head of the world. The west’s ethnocentric tendencies, have acted as a suppressant to the spread of non-western thought. Even though Eastern ideologies tend to differ greatly from thoughts of the western world, there is some level of unity between the two. Unlike the ecclesiastical influences, seen in the west, Confucianism and Sikhi present thoughts about the individual and humankind’s natural goodness. In many cases of political and social order, Eastern and Western philosophy have found themselves parallel in thought.
Western society views Confucianism as only a partial social contract. Primarily there is an idea of creation associated with the term social contract, which is not relevant to Confucian thought. This ideology, different from most Western societies, has no cosmogony at all, as Western theory of freestanding creation and two realms holds no truth to Confucian thinkers. Confucians believe that the world and the cosmos have always been, and there has never been any separate divine realm. Any transitions that occur are consequent to an important system of change and betterment. Unlike most Western cultures and the idea of the social contract, in Confucian thought there is no necessity for consent for government. An element of self-governance is also present in this ideology, as a part of what Confucian thinkers believe as being human. Confucianism leans more toward a way of life than a voluntary contract, as it lacks a loss of rights and has no implication of natural rights.
Chinese Confucianism starts as a series of relationships relating to the state of things. A quick summary would put emphasis on the idea of rituals and relationships. This idea of relationships places significance on relationships of the environment, nature, and heaven. Rituals, however, are the simple things that define one as human. They are the common rules regarding interaction, or the process of learning, practicing, and reciting how to have said relationships. The rituals are also enacted to bring order to the state and relationships as well as “manifest clear character:”
The ancients who wished to manifest their clear character to the world would first bring order to their states. Those who wished to bring order to their states would first regulate their families. Those who wished to regulate their families would first cultivate their personal lives. Those who wished to cultivate their personal lives would first rectify their minds. Those who wished to rectify their minds would first make their wills sincere… (Chan [1963]: 86)
Each element present in the relationships builds upon another as they are interrelated. The theory of being oneself, ontology, is portrayed as all things together in a relational or interrelated manner. In order for balance, one must “regulate” each of their relations (Chan [1963]: 86). Each stage of the relationship cycle...

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