Essay: History Final

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¶ … individuals take over the world by weapons and conquers. Posterity then comes to know them as righteous rulers, courageous warriors and wise kings. Most of these individuals are regularly descendents of noble, quite often royal families, thus they enact the destiny they were born to fulfill, such as Alexander III of Macedon or Alexander the Great as he is most commonly referred to. But taking a good look at history, we might find ourselves discovering another series of individuals who have molded the times they lived in as well as posterity, not by actions of war, but through their revolutions of word, theories and philosophies. My thoughts take me to Confucius, a Chinese revolutionist of human values.

Confucius was born somewhere around 551 BC into a, financially speaking, average family. His father had been an officer in the military but died when the boy was only three years of age. It is said that, upon growing up, Confucius had no other choice but to take on such petty jobs as caring for animals, accounting or book keeping. Many suppositions around his birth and the events in his life have been cast throughout time and a lot of what concerns these issues are lacunae. I will not go around them, rather I will focus on his teaching achievements for the purpose of this essay.

Of how Confucius came to receive his education, facts again are misplaced. He is said to have studied ritual, music, bureaucratic history and that, by the time he reached middle age, he had already gained value in the sight of his townsmen. His thoughts and teachings, most of all his impressive influence, all of these can be understood in relation to Analects (Lun Yu), his "secret teachings" that explain the influence Confucius had on the evolution of Chinese culture. Confucius believed that the Golden Age of humanity was reached during Zhou dynasty (1045 -- 771 BCE). The reason for his beliefs was that its rulers had established a connection with divinity (Tian -- referring to cosmos or "Heaven"), following a sincere listening of the "word" and of the practices, collectively named rituals or "Li." The vastness of these practices encompassed issues as far along as politics going on to particular details of one's personal and private life. The Zhou dynasty had been rewarded with the government of China through the manifestation of "De," a powerful virtue. None of the principles of the old dynasty applied during Confucius' time, but he believed that the teachings, held together by a group of scholars named "Ru," could once again revive the Golden Age; this is why he became committed to the cause and decided to dedicate his entire existence to this particular legacy, hoping that, through example and teaching of the spiritual heritage, the world would eventually be restored to its true path or "Dao."

Thus Confucius positively influenced the development of a new culture by restoring some of the old values. He relied strongly on trust, army and, yes, food, as the three most important basic needs in a state. He offered guiding as to how food was to be consumed and stored which often made the difference between health or sickness because, although ingredients were very much "bio" then, the lack of refrigeration and food hygiene were more dangerous.

Confucius revived the act of self perfectionism as human's most valuable moral law. He sought perfection and the means to reach it as something that applied to the exterior conduit, this is why his philosophy can be appreciated as a practical formalism and valued because his doctrine constituted of applicable precepts in daily life, holding no metaphysical allusions, but a simple ethics: harmony with traditions, honesty and devotion towards family, respect to society, etc. This is one of the main reasons I think highly of Confucius and because his teachings are something comprehensible and practical, all humans can therefore undergo the experience of perfection. Another reason his teachings increase the importance he's had to humanity is related to his advise that individuals should not stop once they've reached the path, but that they should transmit their knowledge on to other people, which,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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