Confucius and Socrates: The Courage to Stand on the Side of Truth (Part 1)

Confucius and Socrates: The Courage to Stand on the Side of Truth (Part 1)
In the Analects of Confucius, Chapter Xianwen, Confucius made the famous remark: "A benevolent man worries not, a learned man is not perplexed, and a brave man fears not." Courage is an essential virtue for establishing a perfect realm. Historical records speak of many courageous people in both Western and Chinese cultures.
According to historical records, there were 180 Mohist disciples, all of whom would sacrifice their lives for the truth without hesitation. There was the warrior, Jing Ke, in the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC). He was on a quest to assassinate the king of the Qin Dynasty, singing the song, “The wind swirls, chilling the waters of the Yi River, the brave soldier leaves on a quest of no return.” Xiang Yu (232 – 202 BC), the King of Western Chu, had unrivaled strength and a reputation that was known throughout the world. When he was defeated, he was grief-stricken and ashamed to face his people back home such that he committed suicide at the bank of the Wu River. These men are all brave and fearless. However, Confucius appreciated a different kind of great courage.
Mencius said, “Do you want to be brave? I have heard from Confucius about being brave: 'If you look inward, and find justice is not on this side, then I would be fearful even if the other party is a lowly person. If after examination, I feel that justice is indeed on my side, then I will forge ahead even if the other side is a mighty army.'” (The First Volume of Gongsun Chou of the Works of Mencius)
Confucius guided his students by demonstrating such principles during his entire life. According to legend, Confucius was tall and muscular, with enough strength to wrestle an ox. Nevertheless, he was always kind to everyone. He was very patient with his students and very modest and prudent. If he made a mistake, he would apologize sincerely even to his students.
When the Zhou Dynasty began weakening, propriety and music deteriorated. Confucius had the lofty goal to promote benevolence and persuade the king to educate the people by promoting etiquette and music.
When Confucius lived in the State of Lu, he tried to resurrect it but failed. He then traveled throughout the land to promote his political views. Confucius went to the states of Zhou, Qi, Wei, Cao, Chen, Cai, Song, Ye, and Chu, but over the fourteen years of his travels, the authorities rejected his views and others ridiculed him. He experienced hardships such as being surrounded by soldiers, being subject to scare tactics, deprived of food and other supplies, starvation and being trapped. Even Jie Yu, the maniac of the State of Chu, lamented to Confucius that he was born in the wrong era and that he should stop pursuing his ideals given the lack of morality in the world.
However, the downward spiral of the deteriorating moral standard could not affect him. Slander and cold reception could not change the aspirations of saints. He always put the spreading of the culture of etiquette and music as his destiny and took the implementation of righteousness as his responsibility. He told his student Zilu, “If virtue existed nowadays, I would not try to change it.”
In order to spread his ideas and educate the people, Confucius opened the first private school. No matter if a student was poor or rich, intelligent or slow, filial or not, all could attend his school. When he was in his 70s, he concentrated on finishing and revising ancient books. From Emperors Yao, Shun, to the Zhou Dynasty to the Spring and Autumn Period, he established the foundation for Chinese history and literature. From then on, the wisdom of ancient Chinese saints and wise men returned to China. His Through the endless promotion from Confucius’ students, Confucianism became widespread after the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). It had a far-reaching impact on China’s history, culture, character, thought, and much more.

道之所在,虽千万人吾往矣 ()


    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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