On The Basis Of The Great Learning And Analects Discuss The Confucian Conception Of The Relation Between The Family And The State.

1426 words - 6 pages

The Chinese people have always looked up to Confucius as a moral and spiritual leader and regard his teachings as an ideal which should be aimed for in the cultivation of a good life. The Chinese culture, in this aspect, reflects some of these teachings through its continued emphasis on family and discipline. Rooted in customs and traditions, the family unit is the breeding ground for values and mindsets which will be carried on throughout one's life. Inevitably, most of these values and mindsets will spill over in the management of state affairs. The relationship between the family and the state is an intricately close one and Confucius articulates the way a Confucian scholar should begin his journey in his text "The Great Learning".In this piece of literature, he begins by saying that "The Way of learning to be great consists in manifesting the clear character, loving the people, and abiding in the highest good." He states the importance of having good foundations and knowing the penultimate goal so that his journey might lead him closest to "The Way". This is important in drawing the conclusion that the relationship between the family and the state is a closely knit one and that they are parts of a greater order. In the next paragraph, he stresses the importance of an order by which one must follow in order to manifest a clear character. The most noteworthy and relevant aspect here is that in order to bring order to the state, the family must first be regulated. This makes perfect sense since the state consists of many individual family units and if all the family units are able to regulate themselves, then society should thus also be orderly. Confucius goes on about the cultivation of oneself as the basic building block of civil society today, whereby once the individual himself is in order, he can then regulate the family, once the families are regulated, society will have order and once society has order, then world peace will be achieved. There is no one who cannot teach his own family and yet can teach others. Thus, statehood in itself becomes a form of parenting. The ruler must exercise his power in a caring and loving way like the way a mother loves her child so as to be effective and appear benevolent to the people. Once the individual families have become humane, then the whole country will be aroused towards humanity.Similarly, in the "Analects", Confucius reemphasizes the importance of learning and the connection between the family and the state by introducing the concepts of 'Li' and "Jen'. The concept of 'Li' refers to the rites and rituals that one has to go through in his daily life. These rites are an objective prescription of behavior laid down as codes of conduct in everyday affairs and encompass both human rites and divine rites. Propriety is perceived to be very important as this can be deemed a form of discipline and respect for someone of a higher status than you are. When one is well versed in the way of "Li' and carries...

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