All things thrive without harm

2022-06-14 0 By

The spirit of Confucian philosophy is the “subtle inner motive force” of Confucian philosophy.This subtle inner power is often expressed in some concepts that drive and guide.These concepts include: harmony is the most precious, vigor and vitality, unity of nature and man, holiness within and majesty outside, great wisdom and moderation, harmony between righteousness and justice, people-oriented, life-centered and so on.Is there a more basic concept in Confucian philosophy that can govern and guide these concepts?The answer is yes, I think this more basic concept is “all things thrive without harming each other”.”All things grow together and do not harm each other” is the conceptual expression of the fundamental spirit of Confucian philosophy and the requirement from the highest category of Confucian philosophy.Confucianism emphasizes “benevolence”, but benevolence is only the highest category of Confucian ethics, not Confucian philosophy.The highest category of Confucian philosophy is “Tao”.From the perspective of Confucius’s idea of “aiming at Tao, according to virtue, according to benevolence, and wandering in art”, Tao occupies the highest position in Confucius’ thought.The Neo-Confucianism of Song and Ming emphasized “reason”, and the “general ji” of “ten thousand reasons” was “Dao”. In this regard, the highest category of neo-Confucianism is also Dao.Although modern Neo-Confucianism emphasizes the study of the mind, it also acknowledges that the nature comes from the mandate of heaven (Tao).The So-called Tao of Confucianism is different from the Tao of Taoism.The Tao of Taoism is the link between “being” and “nothing” — Lao Zi’s tao is the “path” linking “being” and Zhuangzi’s Tao is the “hinge” linking “being” and “nothing”.The Confucian tao is “the golden mean”.The doctrine of the Mean is a way to reach a certain boundary, which is what the Doctrine of the Mean says: “All things grow together without harming each other”.The doctrine of the mean is the ultimate boundary of “all things nurture and do not harm each other”, which means that “all things nurture and do not harm each other” is derived from the requirements of “Tao”, which is the most guiding principle in Confucianism.Based on “with all things and do not harm”, not only “reconciliation” promising “energetic” and other concepts can get system specifications, many characteristics of Confucian philosophy, emphasis on all things such as ethics, one of the kernel, epistemology and political science to the attention of the value and action on the pursuit of “datong” “tao”, etc., but also unified, the understanding of the fundamental.The guiding principle of ethics, which is guided by “all things nurture without harming each other”, is put into practice in the field of ethics and forms an ethics that transcends the relationship of human relations based on the basic principle of “benevolence of all things”.Benevolence is the core category of Confucian ethics. Confucius expounded on benevolence from many angles, but the core meaning of Confucius’s benevolence is “love”.After Confucius, the School of Thinking and Mencius started the transformation of Confucian “benevolence”.The key to this transformation is to place benevolence under the vision of “destiny” of heaven.What is the core of Providence?”All living things thrive without harm.”Under the guidance of the principle of “all living things nurture without harming each other”, the scope and connotation of Confucian benevolence have changed.This kind of change has been seen in the School of Thinking and Mencius, while in the Neo-Confucianism of Song and Ming Dynasties, not only the object of benevolence was extended from the close and the people to all things, but also the content of benevolence was multidimensional.Among the Confucian scholars of Song and Ming Dynasties, some regarded benevolence as “perception” and “feeling”, others regarded benevolence as “business” and “nature’s principle of endless growth”, and some regarded benevolence as “public”.These new assertions about the content of benevolence seem to be loose and loose, but in fact they are unified in the idea that “all things grow together without harming each other”.”Benevolence”, which is governed by “all things nurture together without harming each other”, was called “benevolence of the unity of all things”.The benevolence of the unity of all things requires that “benevolence” should take “symbiosis of all things” as the idea.Taking symbiosis of all things as the thought, the object of benevolence should expand from man to all things;Taking symbiosis of all things as the idea, benevolence should pay attention to the expansion of perceptual ability;To all things symbiosis as the idea, benevolence must pay attention to cultivate all things, pay attention to life;In order to realize the symbiosis of all things, benevolence should overcome the conceit of selfish interests and desires, and emphasize public rather than private.The promotion of Confucius’ benevolence by “benevolence of the unity of all things” makes Confucian ethics transcend the ethical relationship between people and resonate with contemporary ethics of responsibility, ecology and technology. The spiritual basis of this resonance is “all things grow together without harming each other”.The principle of “all things nurture without harming each other”, which is applied to the field of cognition, forms an epistemology that attaches importance to “value” and “action”. It is different from the narrow epistemology that emphasizes fact cognition, which is a broad epistemology.For Confucianism, the highest goal of cognition is to seek “knowing”, and the so-called “knowing” is essentially the golden mean of knowing that “all things grow together without harming each other”.This kind of “knowing” contains three dimensions: First, “knowing” contains the affirmation of the value principle of “all things are nurtured without harming each other”.In the Confucianist view, it is not “knowing” to not recognize the principle that “all things thrive without harming each other”.The Confucian emphasis on “conscience” and “knowledge of virtue”, as well as on honesty and respect as the means of learning, are all related to the recognition of value, and the ultimate basis of all values is “all things grow together without harming each other”.Second, “knowing” includes the understanding of the concrete way that “all things are nurtured without harming each other”.This means that “knowing” is inseparable from the knowledge of concrete things.Only based on the concrete cognition of the nature of all things, can we determine the boundary between one thing and another without harming each other, and determine which path can truly praise the cultivation of heaven and earth rather than encourage or destroy all things.The Confucian emphasis on groups and their historical experience, on “learning” and “learning”, on careful thinking and discrimination, and on exhaustivism, not only points to values, but also to facts.Third, knowing involves the act of following the principle that all things flourish without harming one another.The Confucian emphasis on the unity of knowledge and action is inseparable from the goal of “knowing”.The “knowledge” of “knowing” is the knowledge of the path, which must point to “action”.Wang Yangming believes that the real “knowledge” is the “knowledge” of knowing the county and state, and such knowledge must include action.For Confucianism, “knowing” in a strict sense should include the above three aspects simultaneously.Taking “knowing filial piety” as an example, if we do not recognize the value principle of filial piety (the way of harmony between father and son), we cannot know filial piety.The principle of filial piety is recognized, but they know nothing about the warmth of the sky, the warmth of the father, and so on.Recognizing the principles of filial piety and knowing how to do it, but not putting them into practice, cannot be regarded as filial piety.The Confucian concept of “knowing” refers to the knowledge that contains value, knowledge and action, and the “great knowledge” involving cognition and action, knowledge of facts and value.Based on the “big” epistemology, it is a kind of “with good” (obviously) of epistemology, is a kind of “linked to the ethics and aesthetics” (feng qi) of epistemology, is a kind of “unite with the theory of value” (Zhao Fujie) of epistemology, is an emphasis on “unity”, the ability to give attention to two or morethings and propositional knowledge epistemology.The guiding principle of “all things nurture without harming each other”, which is guided by “all things nurture without harming each other”, is put into practice in the political field, forming a political science with “great harmony” as the ideal and “rule by tao” as the path.The society expected by Confucianism is one of great harmony, which embodies the ideal of “all things grow together without harming each other”.The rule of the Way of Kings, harmony among nations, socialism and communism all reflect the demand that “all living things thrive without harming each other”.The Confucian ideal of great harmony has natural basis, but it is not the inevitable result of natural operation.The realization of an ideal society in which the world is for the common good, the old have their ends, the strong have their uses, the young have their strengths, the widowers, the lonely, the sick and the sick are all supported cannot be completely left to nature, let alone resort to the law of the jungle. It requires the vigor and the commitment of human beings.The implementation of lofty ideals in reality, inseparable from the specific path.As for this path, Lao Zi describes it as “loss of virtue leads to virtue, loss of virtue leads to benevolence, loss of benevolence leads to righteousness, loss of righteousness leads to propriety”. We can add “dispoliteness leads to law”.Laozi is critical of the “whereabouts” of Tao, but the actual process of Chinese history shows that this is the concrete path of the downward implementation of Tao.The political order advocated by Confucianism is directly subject to etiquette and law, indirectly subject to benevolence and righteousness, and fundamentally subject to tao — the way that “all things grow together without harming each other”.Confucianism emphasizes the consistency of Tao, Virtue, benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and law, but when these norms conflict, the order of Tao, Virtue, benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and law from highest to lowest also applies to Confucianism.If the etiquette and law are inconsistent with benevolence and righteousness and with “Tao”, it must be adjusted according to “Tao” as the highest standard.In this regard, the highest principle of Confucianism and even Chinese politics is “Tao” rather than “law”, and the most ideal way of social governance is “tao ruling” rather than other “governance”.This is true even among legalists who value the Law.To follow the path of law, a relatively flexible mechanism must be retained.In the history of social governance in China, people for the mechanism of “law” to “tao” has different design and selection, the design and selection of though in later generations and even when I was a variety of criticism, but the “law” “tao” conflict can return to the mechanism of “dao” (regardless of the way, how effective) itself, is objective existence.Although Confucius did not propose the idea of “all living things grow together without harming each other”, it should be the ultimate direction of Confucius’s “doctrine of the Mean”.The yearning for the ideal cosmic order of “all things grow together without harming each other” is the foundation of Confucianism’s benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom and faith, the source of Confucianism’s propriety and matter, and the basis of Confucianism’s governance and peace of the world.”All things grow together without harming each other”, which originates from the Confucian “tao”, is the value, the driving force, the road and the fundamental spirit of Confucian philosophy.(Authors: Liu Jingfang and Liu Xi, professor and research assistant, Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Respectively)