The Ideal Person

Published: 2021-06-29 07:08:57
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Category: Religion

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The Ideal Person
Confucianism is often revered as a set of guidelines in which society should follow to become a more perfect society. It is the belief that the empowerment of one should benefit the society in which that person is a part of and vice versa. According to Confucius, "excellence comes partly from the cultivation of an individual's virtues and intellect" (Molloy, 2010). Confucius saw society and civilization as a whole as being fragile and because of this, people must be responsible and respectful of each other and future generations to come. To achieve this, Confucius conceived the belief of having a perfect society in which people could follow or experience certain relationships and possess certain values that could lead them to become what he saw as the ideal person.
The relationships and values that Confucius spoke of were to him just as attainable and real as any visible object. He believed in five great relationships, while not equal, they are determined by many factors. He listed these five relationships in order of importance; the father - son relationship, the older brother - younger brother relationship, the husband - wife relationship, the elder - younger relationship, and the ruler - subject relationship. According to Confucius, "The Five Great Relationships signify that each person must live up to his or her social role and social status" (Molloy, 2010). Confucius also spoke of a set of virtues that the ideal person must possess which are known as the Confucius Virtues. "Just as social harmony comes from the living out of the Five Great Relationships, so personal excellence comes from the manifestation of five virtues" (Molloy, 2010). These virtues are ren, li, shu, ziao, and wen. Ren is translated as simply meaning to think of the other. Common words today that can be associated with ren are sympathy, benevolence, kindness and so forth. The next virtue is li. Li is often translated as meaning propriety or doing what is right in any given situation. Shu, translated as reciprocity, is often linked to what we in the west have come to know as the Golden Rule. Xiao, which translates as filial piety, simply means devotion. This type of devotion is mainly focused on the devotion to one's family; past, present and future. The last listed virtue, wen, is translated to mean culture and all that it encompasses. "Wen can also entail the general notion of art appreciation, or connoisseurship. A connoisseur has a highly developed aesthetic sense and is able to know and appreciate beauty in its many forms" (Molloy, 2010).


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