Chinese Philosophy Essay by Abby

    Long ago in  China, before the Great Wall , there was some opinions and laws that were spilt into 3 groups: Daoism, Confucianism and Legalism. They were supported by philosophers: Laozi for Daoism, Kongfuzi for Confucianism and Han Feizi  with Legalism.  Each different philosophy had a different way of ruling. Legalist rulers were very important but very harsh; Confucianism rulers were also important but they thought  of the leader more as a mentor  but the Daoist rulers governed with more of  a self development program. In each philosophy citizens  had a different way of learning and acting: Confucianism was all about good behavior good virtues and community respect, Legalism was harsh,strict and promoted the emperor having complete power over the people and Daoism was about respecting nature and living in peace with it. They all had a different views on religion: Confucianism agreed on religion, Legalism discriminated religion and Daoism was technically a religion themselves.

         The philosophies all had different concepts on how a highly respectable ruler should govern. In some philosophies, the  ruler played a big part in teaching and showing the way of life, while some others did not. Confucians and Legalists believed the ruler taught what was right or wrong. Confucians rulers were the mentors of the people. Kongfuzi believed if the ruler was good the citizens would mirror the ruler’s ways and become good themselves. Legalist rulers on the other hand were harsh and governed with an iron fist. They also played a big part in the society just like the Confucianist rulers but they had complete power and the people had to do what the ruler said or they would be squashed flat. Daoism on the other hand was much different than the others. The ruler was still a big part of the society, but they were not so much of a mentor or dictator. Daoist rulers were still very important and powerful but the Daoist tried to live in harmony with nature, which would allow people to live in harmony with everybody else. “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” Laozi wrote.

    The citizens each had a part to play in  the philosophies, how they  lived and learned. It showed how the ruler stayed in control.Confucianists were a lot about people and people relationships; Kongfuzi said that all people were basically good they just needed to find and be taught that goodness. He believed you need to take steps to get  a noble community which included the virtues (good features) and respecting family relationships. Things were a bit different in Hans Feizi’s mind. He believed human were like animals and were greedy . They needed to be kept under control constantly. When someone stepped out of line they needed to be put in their place, and make sure they stay there’… but when doling out punishment he is as terrible as he thunder; even the holy sages cannot assuage him’ Han Feizi quotes.  Daoists didn’t believe in rules and regulations as stubbornly as Legalism and Confucianism  because Laozi thought some social systems ( like school and money) took you off the path you were born to follow.

    Religion had a different part in the philosophies: some philosophies of them accepted religion and some of them did not. Daoism was a lot like a religion. Daoists followed a “way” that was to connect and harmonise with nature. To achieve the “way” you could  carefully study nature to understand it and live in peace with it. You can not affect the natures way of nature will be unbalanced.Legalists did not believe in religion because it would put different thoughts in the citizens and the ruler has no power of the thoughts. Also they did not want any body that could be higher than the ruler. With no religion tqhen the ruler will always be in control.Confucianism was not that strict about which religion you chouse. You could be anything you wanted as long as the religion didn’t put bad thoughts in your head.  Confucianism was not so much based on a religion; more on a teacher and being taught.

          Each philosophy is different. They all had different philosophies and different ways of life. People learned, governed and grew depending on which path they chose. Legalism, Confucianism and Daoism all had similarities and differences that were debated, agreed and argued over. Legalism had very different ways of controlling their citizens ( harsh and swift punishments),while Confucianism was more understanding and do good and Daoists were the nature huggers. Each philosophy had its own way of creating the China we have now. Without them China would be a much different place.