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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:03

Video transcript

now going to talk about one of the greatest philosophers and teachers in human history and that is Confucius known to the Chinese as Cong C which means master Kong or Kong food C which means Grandmaster Kong and once again my apologies for my pronunciation the word Confucius is a Latinization of Kong food see so you could imagine Confucius Confucius now what's interesting about Confucius is he grew up in a time when China was getting more and more divided in other videos we talked about the Jo dynasty which begins at the very end of the second millennium but in the time of Confucius we're in what's known as the end of the spring and autumn period Confucius lid from 551 to 479 BCE and we're ending the spring and autumn period and we're getting into the period of the warring States so even in the time of Confucius there was more and more tension between States people felt less confident in the central government and as we'll see in this late spring and autumn period and especially as we get into this really violent period known as the warring States Period a lot of philosophers started to arise and philosophies began to rise because people were struggling with these questions of what is the role of the state what it what does it mean to be a good person how does humanity fit in with the cosmic order now what's interesting about Confucius is by his own account he he says that he didn't come up with anything new it's more of him trying to resuscitate or rejuvenate some of the traditions of the past most historians would give him more credit even though Confucius does look to the early Jo dynasty for a lot of his inspiration and he looks to a lot of the traditions of the ancestors he definitely puts a spin on it which makes it a very powerful philosophy and arguable arguably religion as we get into this warring States Period and especially as we get into a more unified China on the Qin and Han dynasties and as we'll see under the Han Dynasty in particular Confucianism becomes essentially the state religion now to get a sense of what Confucius preached and his life he spent most of his life both teaching and preaching a lot of people compare him to Socrates even though he predates Socrates and simultaneously he was also building a career as a civil servant but his legacy is definitely around his preachings and most of his life was here in the state of Lu in eastern China so there's three general themes that you could you could talk about Confucius's teachings you I encourage you to go look at his Analects they're quite interesting to get many many more of them but a lot of it are at is around respecting traditions and respecting elders here's a quote from the Analects a young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elder's outside his home he should be earnest and truthful loving all but becoming intimate with his innate good heart heartedness after doing this if he has interview despair he can study literature in the arts and there's a lot of talk of if someone is to be a good citizen they need to be a good a good child first they need to be a good son now he also talks about what does it mean to be a just ruler if you control people by punishment they will avoid crime but have no personal sense of shame if you govern them by means of virtue and control them with propriety they will gain their own sense of shame and thus correct themselves and as we'll see morality and ethics plays a huge role at a personal level and also as a state level to Confucius and we'll talk about other philosophies where that might not be as strong of a sense now another very big theme to Confucius was looking to yourself through self-improvement you can be a better citizen a better child a better ruler real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorant learning without thought is labor lost thought without learning is perilous when you see someone of worth think of how you they emulate when you see someone unworthy examine your own character I like that one in particular do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire so a very close statement to the golden rule now as I mentioned Confucius and Confucianism was not alone in this in this period of the Spring and Autumn Period and especially as you get into the warring States Period during that time we have what's known as the hundred schools of thought which that this time period starts around the time of Confucius and goes until Qin Dynasty ends the warring States Period in a very strong way unifies China now we already talked about Confucianism which talks a lot about ethics but it its goal remember Confucius himself was a civil servant he was an administrator he thought a lot about what does it mean to be a just ruler so it definitely touches on the practical to a good bit now many people say it's a pickle system but many would also consider it a religion because it does touch on the medical physical the notions of heaven and it borrows a lot from China's past now other samples of the hundred schools of thought especially ones that had a significant role on China's history and even modern China include the legalists the legalists have a strong pragmatism they are dismissive of the Confucian notion of strong internal ethics and that will guide people and rulers legalists are much more about look we need a strong orderly central state we need to do whatever it takes and it might be clamping down on people hard in order to bring in order to to have a have stability in order to have rule and you can imagine the context in which the legalism is coming about this is during the warring States Period this incredibly violent period where the states in China are fragmented and so you could imagine these people who are very realistic they're like look we've had this Confucianism we have these other philosophies but we we need strong super centralized rulers and it ends up being that legalist philosophy that wins the day as you have the emergence of the Qin Dynasty in 221 and the Qin Dynasty is what modern China is named after and it's considered the first dynasty to really unify China in a very strong way and create its administrative and bureaucratic systems it really is based on legalism and it was able to put an end to this warring States Period by putting so much power central power and strong rulers who are willing to be quite violent in repressing other people in order to bring that stability and notable that the the emergence of the Qin is also considered the end of the hundred schools of thought because the Qin as part of that order started persecuting many of the other forms of philosophy including many of those that followed confucius now other forms of philosophy and this is just a sample that have strongly influenced China you have Taoism Taoism is according to Taoist belief comes comes from Lao Zi and the historical record of Lao Zi isn't as clear as we have for Confucius but it's believed that he lived around the same time some people view him as more of a legendary figure but Taoism is much more concerned with the spiritual than Confucianism you see quotes the Dao is really the way it's all about harmony with the universe free from desire you realize the mystery caught in desire you see only the manifestations the diode a Ching now later on Buddhism it's interesting Buddha is lived at around the same time once again his birth and date under a little bit more contention as Confucius and he lives in northeast India Nepal area and Buddhism really comes about in India but it eventually makes its way into China as especially as we get into the first millennium CE II and in modern-day China a lot of the culture in the philosophy in the religion is a combination in particular of Confucianism most strongly but also Taoism and Buddhism but there are other philosophies for example mo ism a quite interesting one I encourage you to look at it but it's all about this notion of impartial love it actually has a lot of similarities parallels with the teachings of Jesus as told by the Gospels but that notion was viewed somewhat impractical by many of the followers of Confucius and especially the legalists and Moe ISM really didn't last much beyond the Qin Dynasty but one way to think about it is legalism allowed the Qin Dynasty to really end the warring States period and centralize China but then that short-lived dynasty as they transition to the Han the Han took over the the administrative structure and the stability of the Qin to a large degree but then they made Confucianism really the state philosophy and you could even say the state religion and to appreciate the importance of Confucianism to Chinese culture I'll leave you with this last quote by the historian hustin smith for though Confucius did not author Tiny's culture as we talked about even Confucius says I didn't invent anything he was its supreme editor