What makes a good society?
What are the characteristics of a good Confucian ruler and a good Confucian society?
- Above everything be virtuous – According to Confucius, virtue is more prominent to man than either water or fire. Men have died from treading on fire and water, but none has succumbed to death from treading a virtuous course. The supremacy of virtue is one of the most prominent tenets of Confucius (Confucius and D. C Lau, 1979).
- Rule fairly and wisely – Chi K’ang enquired what causes people to revere their leader, remain faithful to him and assume a virtuous nature. The Master’s reply was that a leader should preside over his subjects with gravity to earn their undivided veneration. His kindness and firmness will make his subjects faithful to him. A leader that fosters goodness and teaches the incompetent will instill the same virtuous appeal to his people. Often leaders are oblivious of the fact that they should take care of those under them. Instead of their egocentric pursuit of glory and riches their focus should be on ruling wisely and fairly. The same message is echoed in the Kuran where a leader is evinced as an individual who works through a team of followers and does not accomplish anything by himself while being a servant-leader (Kuran).
- Think before acting decisively – Chi Wan reckoned three times before taking action. When the Master was notified, he said, “Twice will do.” The society depicts a people whose judgments are clouded by rash decisions and actions. An individual and more so a leader should think critically prelude to doing something but then proceed decisively (Confucius and D. C Lau, 1979).
How are the social values promoted in the Koran and the Analects of Confucius different from the Greek readings (Plato and Thucydides)?
- Confucius and Plato have discordant ideological foundations. Confucius held Ren as the fundamental concept while fostering piety and love and emphasizing restraint from ritual. He explicated his reflections in moral education, virtue, and management through the conventional concept of macho kinship based on interactive relations and real conundrums of man and society. Plato’s ideological system founded on ancient Greek society mainly addresses the relations of the citizens.
- Despite Plato and Confucius reckoning that the pursuit requires external tenets and norms to regulate, they imply discordant means of regulation. Confucian ideological system depicts a Ren-based norm of regulation that involves restraining oneself and following rites to attain virtue. Plato is of the understanding that justice is the key to a better society.
- Confucius approach to virtue involved stressing the harmony of knowledge and emphasizing devotion to the practice of Ren. He utilized clear metaphors when teaching students while encouraging them to practice drawing moral interpretations about other cases for one scenario. Plato is more focused on the pursuit of moral knowledge. While Confucius focuses on the nurturing of morality and illumination of moral obligation, Plato argues that teaching is a process of recollection.