The Ideal Person
Confucius taught several things, but one of the most fundamental thing of them all entails what constitutes an ideal person. According to the Confucius philosophies, an ideal person is a person of good moral character. This was believed as the foundation for the other beliefs of Confucius. Confucius also believed that an ideal person must also have profound respect for worship and sincere respect for his father and rulers. According to Confucius, becoming a servant first is a vital element that teaches a person how to comply and follow orders. This was the reason why he emphasized on obeying rulers and parents (Chong, 2007). Besides, an ideal person is supposed to think for himself under the guidance of distinct rules of conduct according to Confucius. Under the concept of an ideal person, there are several concepts that emerge, which entail ren, li, shu, xiao, and wen concepts.
Ren, in Confucian philosophy, describes the aspects that can be utilized in defining a being as ‘fully human’. Therefore, ren signifies the characteristics of goodness, benevolence, consideration, and empathy. These characteristics are believed to permit a person to be civilized and cultured. According to the concept of ren, individuals should posses proper behavior always. The vitality of the concept of ren is seen in the ‘Five relationships’, which act as the pivot of the Confucian ideology. The relationships include associations held amid ruler and minister, son and father, friend and friend, husband and wife, and elder and younger brothers (Chong, 2007). Ren is only cultivated when these associations are present. The concept of ren directly ties in with the belief of the Confucian.
The li concept is a Confucius virtue that constitutes the morals or etiquette with which a person can interact with aspects of the world extending from individuals and nature to material objects. Li constitutes two meanings; the first is the concrete guide to individual associations or principles of proper actions, which embody ren. On the other hand, the second meaning is the general ordering of life.
The concept of shu entails accommodating each other. According to the shu concept, individuals should be in a position to accommodate others, when they become offended. The concept can be interpreted to mean forgiveness (Chong, 2007). According to the concept, individuals should not impose on other individuals what can bring harm to them or feel difficult about; it also means that incase one is harmed by others, he should forgive. This constitutes benevolence, which is a part of ren.
In Confucianism, the xiao concept relates to the attitude of devotion, obedience, and care towards the elder family members and one’s parents, which constitutes the basis of social harmony and individual moral conduct (Chong, 2007). Xiao puts the needs of parents and elder family members over self, children, and spouse, deferring to the judgment of parents and observing towards them the recommended behavioral proprieties. It is a basis of ren that emphasizes family harmony and stability in the sociopolitical environment.
The concept of wen entails the respect for art for the sake of art and society as well. The concept emerged as Confucius observed that powerful nations extensively cultivate their arts and intellectual endeavors. Growth in knowledge leads to a growth in a country; this made Confucius to base the esteem of a country via the beauty of its art and respective intellect of philosophers.
Chong, K.-C. (2007). Early Confucian ethics: Concepts and arguments. Chicago, Ill. [u.a.: Open Court.