Second_essay_jdmitch2_hon_171_essay_2 - Mark Montesano HON...

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Mark Montesano HON 171 6 November 2007 Essay Two, Topic One Taoism and Confucianism have been China's two major homegrown schools of thought since the third century BC. One has not replaced or overcome the other because their coexistence is beneficial to both world-views. Many of the teachings of Lao Tzu fit perfectly within Confucius' account of the world and its workings. However, there are instances when the Tao Te Ching and the Analects contradict each other directly, and it is these disparities that allow the books to complement--rather than simply repeat--each other. Both texts advocate 1. order over chaos, though each approaches the task of maintaining order from a different direction. 2. The Analects supports study, thought and the acquisition of knowledge. The Tao Te Ching, however, posits that the usefulness of knowledge is illusory and that it clouds one's connection with the Tao. 3. The Tao Te Ching and the Analects provide instruction for governing properly. Both thinkers write that if a government is running smoothly, the leader should be doing very little. The two philosophies function best when taken together. You already made this point. A balance between Taoism and Confucianism is struck when the enigmatic teachings of the former are paired with the pragmatism of the latter. Good way of labeling the contrast. Confucius teaches that order is attained when everyone knows their role within relationships, and acts accordingly. He particularly stresses the necessity of respect for
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authority and one's parents. According to the Analects, "the Master said, 'When your parents are alive, comply with the rites in serving them; when they die, comply with the rites in burying them; comply with the rites in sacrificing to them'" (2.5). Confucius dictates that one should "never disobey" because to do so upsets the natural order as he perceives it (2.5). Respect for parents and authority does not create order. Submitting to those above oneself is order in a literal sense. well-said. Confucius states it succinctly: "Serve family elders when home, serve ruling officials when away" (9.16). When one fails to comply with the wishes of one's parents, one is engaging in chaotic behavior. Rejecting authority is not the beginning of a descent into disorder--it is disorder. Confucius doesn't need to defend submission to authority as essential to order, because he defines order as the state of affairs when relationships are respected. In this way, he deftly maneuvers around the need for a logical argument for his position.
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course HON 171 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '04 term at ASU.

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Second_essay_jdmitch2_hon_171_essay_2 - Mark Montesano HON...

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