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Unit2 Chinese literature paper - Essay Example

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As has been noted throughout this course, early Chinese civilization was successful in part because of a philosophical doctrine that was popular at the time: the idea that there could be a kind of combination of heaven and humankind. A good example is the Mandate of Heaven and…
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Download file to see previous pages It is important to remember however that such kings were as often “created” by poets and philosophers (like Confucius) as examples. Whether they were actually wise or not is difficult to determine. It was in their interest to appear to be so.
One of the reasons this idea of the Sage King became more popular as China transitioned into a feudal period was not only because it introduced an element of accountability into questions of leadership but because it focused on virtue. Leaders were to be good and rule for the good of the people, not to treat the country as their personal territory or the people as their own vassals. But virtue, as Duke of Zhou writes, is not enough: “The mandate of heaven is not easily [preserved] . . .”2 The key is to respect your ancestors and lead in the way they have done too. This speaks to an inherent stability and conservativism in Chinese politics at the time. Leaders at the time were trying to establish and confirm a new way of doing politics at the time, they were trying to introduce new ideas. Instead of basing their principles on radicalism and revolution, they did their best to appeal to the past. This almost certainly made it easier for them to appeal to ordinary people for their success. Part of the message sent out by sage kings was not more complicated than “respect your parents.” Most people can get behind a message like this.
It is hard to say much more about sage kings without reference to Confucius. This was a great philosopher who thought people who were honest and virtuous should be chosen to guide the multitude. He also believed that a leader must first govern himself, before he would be able to govern other people. Confucius appeared to have a great deal of respect for the Duke of Zhou and for much of the philosophical ideas about leadership mentioned above. Much of his thinking can also be attributed to the disunity undergoing this later period of Chinese history—he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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