Similarities And Differences Between Humanity And Universal Love

1086 words - 5 pages

Love is generally viewed as a deep and tender feeling of affection to a person or persons and their happiness is important to you. In ancient Chinese, Confucius, a famous philosopher in the Spring and Autumn period, introduced the virtue of humanity, while Mozi promoted another virtue, universal love. Universal love is a kind of pragmatic love while humanity is a kind of non-pragmatic love. Universal love advocated love without distinction while humanity is a kind of extensive love with the foundation of filial piety, which means people should love their parents first and later spread the love to others. After analyzing, it is clear that these two concepts are not compatible due to the mutually exclusive foundation. In this essay, the similarities and differences between humanity and universal love will be discussed. This essay will also provide supports that both concepts are not compatible with reference to the Analects, Mozi, Mengzi and Zuo Zhuan.

The first major difference between humanity and universal love is the order of love, in other words, whether love should be with or without distinction. In humanity, love towards different parties are not the same. It emphasizes much on existential love that is love with the foundation of filial piety. One loves people who have closer relationship with him more than people who are less related to him. While universal love promotes universality and people should love others equally. Mencius commented on the source of love and agreed that love makes no distinction, but its application must begin with one’s parents (Chan, 1963). This clear states that although both humanity and universal love are about love, their foundations are different and violates each other. Confucian’s notion is to start loving one’s parents and later spread the love to other family members and lastly the people around with different gradation. Mencius believed that people should be humane to people generally but not affectionate to them, while they should be affectionate to one’s parents (Mengzi, The Mencius, 371 BC). This comparison can fully demonstrate the love with gradation in humanity. Meanwhile, Mozi emphasized love without distinction, that is, one’s affection for the child of his own brother is just like his affection for the child of his neighbor (Chan, 1963). Here is an example to demonstrate why both concepts are not compatible. When a person’s father and his neighbour’s father are in danger and he could only save one person, the man would save his father if he follows humanity. However, if the man follows universal love which encourages equal love, he might save his neighbour’s father instead of his own father. Therefore, humanity is a kind of extensive love that is love with gradation while universal love emphasizes love without gradation and these two are not compatible.

Another difference is that humanity is the highest value of all and is a kind of non-pragmatic love, whereas universal love is the reverse. The...

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