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Confucianism was an ancient philosophy that developed in China at the onset of the twentieth century. The primary role of this belief was to endorse humanism. It is a complex system of ethical, societal, party-political, and spiritual teachings that is greatly felt in China today. The ideology was meant for establishing a peaceful society that followed the rule of the state. Confucius, the proponent of the Chinese belief, focused on the sustenance of ethics, promotion of virtues, altruism, morality, resources, intelligence, and realism among others. In the present day, many Chinese people hold Confucius’ philosophy. This essay provides insight into the five great relationships of Confucianism and its role in Chinese culture and society today.
The Five Great Relationships
The Confucianism philosophy hinges on five great relationships. Hwang (2012) reveals that the level of relationships can be determined by individual, social, and economic factors among others. The foremost relationship occurs between the father and his son. In this case, the Confucianism philosophy holds that the father must remain in charge of both the moral and academic education of the son (Hwang, Chung, & Jin, 2012). On the other hand, the son is expected to observe respect and obedience.
The second relationship occurs between the elder and younger brother. According to Hwang et al. (2012), Confucius hypothesized that the elder brother should take care of the younger siblings. In return, the siblings should show submissiveness to the elder brother. The husband-wife correlation is the third relationship. This association assumes a mutual responsibility where each party takes care of the other. Elstein (2012) holds that the father undertakes the role of the guardian while the wife serves as a mother and homemaker.
The elder-young relationship ranks fourth in the hierarchy (Elstein, 2012). In this case, the elder persons in the family are supposed to care for the younger ones since they are deemed more answerable. However, the younger persons are expected to remain obedient to advise and support accorded to them by the elderly relatives with a view of promoting the formation of character. The ruler-subject relationship assumes the fifth position in the hierarchy. According to Elstein (2012), the ruler is expected to take care of the people without any form of discrimination.
How the Ideal Person should Act
In the Confucianism philosophy, an ideal person is supposed to act according to Jen (Liping, 2012). Jen is a Chinese concept that requires the members of the society to exhibit heartedness and compassion among other factors that make a person human. It is believed that the Jen principle guides one’s actions towards others in society. Besides, an ideal person should also act according to the Li principle that emphasizes openness. According to Liping (2012), the principle addresses social order, rites, adherence to norms, and the way of Chinese life. The Confucianism philosophy guides people to perform actions that are right irrespective of the results that occur.
The Role of Confucianism in Chinese Culture and Society Today
The role of the Confucianism philosophy is noted in the behaviors of the members of Chinese society. The ideology forms the basis of traditional Chinese culture. It is the foundation of authority in the family hierarchy. Besides, it makes the leaders responsible for the needs of other members of society (Shin & Sin, 2012). Furthermore, Confucianism encourages a system of social equality where society is guided by the perfection of the moral and political environments (Hsü, 2013). To conclude, Confucianism plays a central role in the development of behavior, ethics, culture, and social structure in Chinese society. Such factors are shaped to promote humanity.
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Hwang, K. (2012). The Deep Structure of Confucianism. New York, NY: Springer.
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