What is human nature for Confucius? What evidence does he give to show that his views about human nature are correct?
Confucius was an influential figure in Chinese culture and the first to encourage education for all people. Along with teaching, it is said that he was also likely the first man in China to study and teach philosophy (Confucius, 2019). As per many significant figures of antiquity: little about his life is known with certainty. However, most of what people learn has been intermingled with myth. The theory of human nature that Confucius gave is that humans have a natural tendency to live in harmony, so promoting social peace should be a top priority for any government. To show the validity of his belief, he quotes other people’s lives, such as one Huangpu conqueror from Maya civilization who cares about human beings and the human condition. This paper focuses on Confucius’s view of human nature and the correct evidence about human nature.
Man is the Centre of the universe, according to Confucianism. He believed that man cannot survive alone but with other human beings (HU & JIA, 2021). The primary goal of human beings is individual happiness achieved through peace. Confucius argues that human nature is intrinsically good. He explains that human beings are born to differentiate between wrong and right, but uninhibited acts are often tempting. However, all offspring feel shame, and once the children learn which deeds are evil or good, they usually tend to consent to the former and criticize the latter. Confucius describes human nature in Analects IV, 6, implicitly implying that it is not born one way or the other (good or evil) but cultivated. He writes that no one is taken of wickedness or goodness, and therefore, developing this virtual is a matter of focus and effort.
Confucius was referred to as ‘Master Kong’ or simply Confucius by his friends and contemporaries. He believed that humans had the potential for human behavior if they acted as scheming dogs. Solutions to common problems come naturally to those who practice goodness- constantly on guard and loyal, so Confucius’ optimism is reflected through virtue. Virtue will result in joy (Tan, 2018). However, Confucius recognized that not all people would be saints, so he also realized that some troubles come from ourselves.
Confucius does not believe people are born initially knowing what is right. Conflict arises because of our environment, meaning we need to be molded into someone who can act morally. This is based on our culture and the societal standards in any given society. However, human beings tend to find their path rather than sticking to the ways of the higher ground. Confucius says that a good man considers his words and acts quickly when needed. A gentleman secures the appropriate path for his knowledge. It is through human nature for a person of high moral integrity to be associated with or attracted to other people of good company (HU & JIA, 2021). On the other hand, people will be attracted by this person’s inner stretch and seek the good man’s company to emulate him.
Confucius believed that humans are born with the same basic faculties and needs (Yanna, 2018). There is good evidence in his words to show his opinion about human nature tells the truth; we all possess different behaviors and personalities, but there are exceptions to one on either end of the continuum. In general, studying the reactions humans have based on this feedbacks shows changes in their behavior caused by changing experiences. At the same time, it shapes a person’s life from childhood to death. Confucius says that everyone is capable of making mistakes. According to book V, 23, he refers to a legend known for his virtual, Cheng Kao, who could do wrong at some time (Confucius, 2019). With the example of Wei-Cheng Kao, Confucius explains how hard it is for human beings to maintain the path of goodness. This man was known for his truthfulness in Chinese culture, but he made mistakes like other human beings. However, in this evidence, confections speak the importance of giving credit where it deserves that is the importance of proper attribution.
In Confucian view about human nature, he states human beings have no control of everything. Therefore, human beings are a result of destiny. According to him, the future was heaven for human beings who had no complete understanding. However, it is human nature to confirm the existence of heaven if they choose (Confucius, 2019). Therefore, the sky is beyond human control and understanding. Over the year’s people have been following the decree of heaven by being unconcerned with status, wealth, longevity, and many others.
Another evidence is that social discord is caused by human ignorance of the past and selfishness. It is in human nature that rulers govern, intending to intention gain. This is because social behaviors are governed by greed and egoism (Yanna, 2018). Ordinary people suffer under unjust burdens. Confucius answers why life is so bad by saying that it is in human nature that people are profit motive; they are fond of ignoring the past, little’ benevolence, and lack of respect to their parents. Therefore, without knowledge of the pastime, people have no moral insights. Confucius states that the essential the essential virtual is charity and kindness. Thus, he realizes these virtual are seldom; hence life is filled with conflict.
Confucius referred to Human beings are vessels that carry knowledge and experiences throughout their lives. However, he did not emphasize the death of anything supernatural (HU & JIA, 2021). He observed funerals stated that emotions are something that comes with death. Human nature is meant to be reformed into rituals to short grief, relevance, and respect to their beloved ones.
In conclusion, Confucius believed that good was a natural part of the human condition. The purpose of this illustration would not be as powerful if it were not based on love, but what makes this product is that these emotions flow from the most righteous person. In Confucius’ understanding, the top supreme political institution is a customary theocracy where an honest person should be leading because it is natural for goodness to arise.
Confucius, C. (2019). The analects of Confucius. BoD–Books on Demand.
HU, W., & JIA, X. (2021). Comparative Analysis of Two Famous English Versions of Analects of Confucius. Sino-US English Teaching, 18(10), 279-283.
Tan, C. (2018). Confucius. In International Handbook of Philosophy of Education (pp. 91-101). Springer, Cham.
Yanna, S. (2018). “The Analects of Confucius” and Contemporary College Students’ Ideological Education. The Science Education Article Collects, 08.