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The Periods Of Success And Decline In The Dynastic Cycle

1303 words - 6 pages

After the fall of the Qin Dynasty, the Han dynasty drew from the teachings of Confucius to create the Han Synthesis. This formed the traditional belief in China that history repeats itself and directly contributed to the Dynastic Cycle. This is demonstrated by the use of Confucius teachings, the Dynastic Cycle and the Han Synthesis when addressing the Good Life, Good Society and Good State respectively. Each of these philosophies highlight that Chinese history repeats itself by casting light on this theme of repetition through the three different areas. This makes the state accountable for its actions to its people. Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose ideas greatly affect China in every aspect of its culture. In The Analects, he preached how to be a good man through living a life of filial piety, being a gentleman, and the way a ruler should govern his empire. The Han Synthesis used many of Confucius’ ideas to be the guiding force in China’s political ideology which contributed to the Dynastic Cycle of an empire, which stated that empires go through periods of success and decline. All of these highlight the cyclical nature of history in China, and its importance in the development of the state.
The geneses of the three philosophies were based on the teachings of Confucius, and show how the nature of Chinese history is cyclical. Confucius was born in 551 BCE during the Chao dynasty, about 100 years after a period known as the Warring States. Political unity was unstable during Confucius’ time and consequently, China had broken into small states that were constantly at war with one another. Confucius wanted to solve these political problems and help restore order in his country and therefore created his “school of thought” called Confucianism. Confucius advocates that by following his words, the “virtues of an earlier Golden Age” could be reached. He relentlessly preached his ideas because he believed that Confucianism would end the disorder in his country. Confucianism “addressed the problem of social order, individual responsibilities, and the role of the state.” Confucius’ ideas relate to the Han Synthesis in many ways. The Han Synthesis is a combination of ideas from Confucius philosophy as well as Taoist. Within Han, the job of a ruler was to care for his people and be benevolent. Confucius stated in The Analects that a ruler should “attend strictly to business, punctually observe his promises, economical in expenditure, show affection towards his subjects in general, and uses the labor of the common people only at the proper times of year.” The Han Synthesis focuses on the success of an empire by the government and ruler working to please its people through benevolence rather than violence. Inevitably, a ruler has only a finite period to govern, and also inevitably, the empire will decline. The Dynastic Cycle will then repeat itself. This is a clear example of the philosophical importance of the repetition of history in China....

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