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Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature Essay


One will not be far off the mark by stating that there has never been any film that explicitly depicts both sides of the human nature better than ‘Schindler’s List’. In the film, the grotesque and satanic are embodied by Goeth while the noble and self- sacrificing are personified by Schindler.

The film Schindler’s List starts on September of 1939 in a place known as Krakow, Poland, with the Jews being oppressed by the Nazis. In the prevailing pandemonium, Oskar Schindler emerged. He was a Nazi businessman who needed assistance from the Jews in establishing a factory. He links up with Itzhak Stern, who was an accountant, to make arrangements with regard to bank rolling his intended project. Later, the Krakow Jews were whisked away to live in the ghetto where currency was worthless.

Subsequently, Jewish elders decided to put their resources in Schindler’s factory resulting in the birth of Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik – where a wide array of pots was made. Schindler opted to hire Jews since their labor was cheaper than that of the poles (Ames, 74). The German army ends up being his lead client. March 1943, Germany’s intentions towards the Jews community came to the fore. As a result, the Ghetto is demolished and survivors were ferried to Plaszow Labor Camp.

Execution in the camp became a common phenomenon while other Jews were taken away never to be seen or heard from again. Schindler managed to suck up to the local commander, Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), a Nazi who derives his greatest joy from murdering Jews. He takes advantage of his friendship with Goeth. Schindler surreptitiously commences lobby for the salvation of the Jews. He saved the lives of men, women, as well as children.

Regardless of the horrific theme, the film sets out to reveal a glimmer of hope and dignity amidst of a gruesome tragedy. The account of Oskar Schindler’s sacrifices on behalf of the Jews separates this film from all other Holocaust movies.

Categorical in its depiction of good and evil, Schindler’s List gives a lucid outlook of human nature: extreme dislike, ravenousness, covetousness, spite, antagonism and particularly important, compassion and love. Since the film strikes a cord in any one who watches it, the catharsis has a clout that defies description hence ascertaining the film as awe-inspiring (Bloom, 95).

Mencius is renowned for his theory on human nature. His theory with regard to human nature maintains that human beings share an inherent righteousness that can either be refined in the course of learning and self-will or wasted through wanton abandon as well as unconstructive influences, but cannot be lost completely.

In the film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler who is a Nazi businessman plays a role that is accordance with Mencius’ outlook on human nature. The way he conducts himself is diametrically opposite from what anyone would have expected. The Jewish community was under increasing pressure from the Nazi’s at that point in time.

Oskar Schindler, by virtue of the fact that he was a Nazi would not have been considered to have acted abnormally by any standards had gone along with the trend of the times and also took part in the persecution of the Jewish community. However, he went against the grain by being the one who safeguarded the well being of the Jews.

His selfless act of setting up a factory by partnering with the Jews and pooling their resources at a time when the Jews were consigned to economic and financial impoverishment in the ghetto was legendary by any standard of selflessness. However, by far the most charitable deed that Oskar Schindler undertook was the saving of many lives of Jewish men, women and children. He did this by going to great lengths of sucking up to the bestial Amon Goeth, the local commander (Bloom, 24).

In contrast to Mencius’ view on human nature emanate from God, as a result, is inherently righteous, Hsun Tzu’s view proposes that human beings come into this world with inherent needs that, if they are not watched over and controlled, would inevitably result in clash and friction among humans and therefore it follows that human nature is wicked and that the righteousness of human beings can only be attained through constant guidance as well as training.

Nonetheless, to some extent in accordance with Mencius’ outlook on human nature, Hsun Tzu’s view on human nature has it that human beings are endowed with the capability of become righteous by way of subscribing to practices as well as regulations of decorum that have been devised and established by wise folks of days gone by.

However, in contrast to Mencius’, who emphasized the necessity to nurture the soul as well as the mind, Hsun Tzu outlook on human nature put a lot of emphasis on gradual attainment of knowledge, constant practicing of good habits , learning, obligated by regulation, music, rites as well as the set of laws of decency (Ames, 147).

Amon Goeth‘s character in the film is consistent with Hsun Tzu’s view on human nature that human beings come into this world with inherent needs that, if they are not watched over and controlled, would inevitably result in clash and friction among humans, and therefore it follows that human nature is wicked and that the righteousness of human beings can only be attained through constant guidance as well as training.

Amon Goeth, who killed Jews for sport, had a cold heart, if he had one at all. He and the entire Nazi outfit perpetrated despicable acts against the Jews giving credence to Hsun Tzu’s view on human nature.

Works Cited

Ames, Roger. “Mencius and a Process Notion of Human Nature,” Mencius: Contexts and Interpretations. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press (2002): 72-90. Print.

Ames, Roger. “The Mencian Conception of ren xing: Does It Mean `Human Nature’?” Chinese Texts and Philosophical Contexts: Essays Dedicated to Angus C. Graham, ed. Henry Rosemont, Jr. La Salle, IL: Open Court (1991): 143-175.Print.

Bloom, Irene. “Biology and Culture in the Mencian View of Human Nature,” Mencius: Contexts and Interpretations. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. (2002): 91-102. Print.

Bloom, Irene. “Mencian Arguments on Human Nature (jen-hsing).” Philosophy East and West 44/1(1994): 19-53. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018, October 26). Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/mencius-and-hsun-tzus-view-of-human-nature/

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"Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature." IvyPanda, 26 Oct. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/mencius-and-hsun-tzus-view-of-human-nature/.

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IvyPanda. "Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature." October 26, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mencius-and-hsun-tzus-view-of-human-nature/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature." October 26, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mencius-and-hsun-tzus-view-of-human-nature/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Mencius’ and Hsun Tzu’s view of Human Nature'. 26 October.

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