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Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 1 Chinese philosophy is a large subject.

It has been classified in many different types. There is religious philosophy and, of course, non-religious philosophy. Among the many philosophies there are five philosophies that stand above the rest. These philosophies are Wu Xing, Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism, and Legalism. Confucianism is a philosophy and system of moral, social, political, and semi-religious thought that has been a great influence on China. This philosophy, unlike many other philosophies, didn’t actually start with the person it was named after. Confucius was important in establishing and refining the thoughts but it had actually started centuries before Confucius was born. In the beginning of Chinese history the first Chinese government was an elected monarchy. The first rulers were chosen for their contributions to the society. These first rulers also had a different way of dealing with things. They ruled using moral persuasion. Moral persuasion is convincing people to actually do something for the most moral reasons. Confucius was devoted to studying the past to find meaning in the ancient rituals that were still being practiced. He was interested in preserving and studying the past so that he could gain insight on how to act in the future. He was a conservationist in many ways. He knew that many of the rituals that he was studying were dead but that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t be regenerated in the future. He also taught that living a normal life was good. He believed that people should live moderate lives. Confucianism is a philosophy that people can still learn from. The philosophy taught that money and power shouldn’t increase someone’s voice in the community. The only thing that should increase someone’s voice in the community is how virtuous they have lived. Confucius actually taught that people should adhere to Taoism. Taoism is a religion but it still has philosophical values, as many religions do. Many of the concepts and traditions of Taoism have influenced China’s growth for over two thousand years.

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 2 The originator of the philosophy of Tao is Lao Zi. Lao Zi lived sometime during the sixth century BCE. It is very possible however that Lao Zi never actually existed and that someone else wrote the explanatory book on Tao known as Tao Te Ching. The name Lao Zi actually translates to mean old master. The word Tao, which is also spelled Dao, means way or path. Tao as a philosophy is the way of nature. Tao is described as a supernatural force that flows through everything and connects us all. It is written that “All is One and interconnected.” This makes it very similar to “the Force” in Star Wars. It also teaches that a happy life is one that is lived in harmony with nature. If Tao really does connect all things and we are all one then Tao, nature, and reality are inseparable. Therefore we can’t understand the universe using logic or human understanding. Tao is infinite and we are finite. It is impossible to describe or understand infinite things using finite things. The Yin-Yang symbol is a large part of Taoism. The Yin is feminine, soft, cold, calm, internal, and healing. The Yang is masculine, hard, hot, energetic, external, and aggressive. They are opposites. Yin and Yang can represent most things that are opposites. Even though they are opposites they are bound together. Without Yin there would be no Yang. If there were only sunny days then the crops will die. The same thing happens if there are only rainy days. In order to truly appreciate the good things in life there must be negative things. This is why the YinYang symbol has the small white spot in the black side and the small black spot in the white side. Yin and Yang change each other. This can be seen in the deserts very well. Yang builds up one sand dune while Yin lowers another. Yin and Yang are equal and will always remain balanced, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times.

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 3 The Yin-Yang symbol represents the balance of Tao. The balance of nature is in many ways controlled by opposing forces. So where does that leave humans? Are we the opposite of nature? If we’re just a part of nature then where is our opposing force? Humans have been destroying nature for so long that it seems as if there would be an answer to us by now. The dinosaurs were the dominant race during their time and they were wiped out by nature. Maybe something similar will happen soon to us. Then again maybe it is already happening. How many lives have been consumed by nature’s fury? Tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, disease, volcanic eruptions, etc. maybe these are Tao’s way of balancing the human equation. Unlike Christianity, Tao has many ways to achieve enlightenment. In Christianity there is only one path that someone must follow to go through Jesus to God. In Taoism one can achieve enlightenment by figuring out how to become harmonized with nature. It is different for each person. Another Chinese philosophy is known as Wu Xing, or the Five Elements. In this philosophy the Chinese people have categorized almost everything. The five elements are Earth, Fire, Water, Metal, and Wood. There are several cycles in this philosophy also. The first cycle is the Generating cycle. In this cycle Wood fuels Fire, Fire makes Earth (ash), Earth bears Metal, Metal carries Water, and Water feeds Wood. This is actually true. Wood is what fuels a fire, and the wood then turns to ash because of the fire. The Earth holds metal and metal buckets carry water. Trees need water to survive. The second cycle is the overcoming cycle. There are two parts to this cycle. In the first part Wood parts Earth, Earth absorbs Water, Water douses Fire, Fire melts Metal, and Metal chops Wood. This is also a very practical cycle. Wood parts earth as in trees, Earth absorbs the rain, Water extinguishes fire, Fire or heart is used to melt down metal, and Metal tools are used to chop wood or trees. In the second part of the cycle Wood absorbs Water, Water erodes Metal,

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 4 Metal breaks up Earth, Earth extinguishes Fire, and Fire burns wood. This also makes a large amount of sense. Wood absorbs the rain and water from nearby water sources, Water rusts metal, Metal tools such as hoes break up earth, sand and dirt can be used to smother fire, and of course Wood is a fuel source for fire. A third cycle known as the insulting cycle. This cycle is all about how sometimes the first cycle doesn’t always happen. In this cycle Fire destroys Water, Water floods Earth, Earth keeps Wood from growing, Wood dulls Metal, and Metal extinguishes Fire. This seems completely contradictory to the other cycle and it is to a certain degree, however, it is still very much based in reality. Too much fire will evaporate water, too much water makes rivers, lakes, and oceans which erode the earth, trees don’t row in too high of elevation or in rocky areas, too much wood dulls the axe blade, and fire can’t melt metal if there is too much. Now that the cycles have been explained the elements should be explained. Metal represents hardness, strength, rigidness, persistence, and determination. People who are strong in the element of Metal tend to be organized, self-reliant, controlling, forceful, ambitious, stable, materialistic, and business oriented. Metal is also connected to white, autumn, chicken, West, dry, and the White Tiger. Earth represents stability, hard work, practicality, patience, and thoughtfulness. A person who is strong in the element of Earth is nurturing, thinks long term, ambitious, stubborn, and responsible. Earth also represents yellow, change of seasons, cattle, Center, damp, and the Yellow Dragon. Wood represents strength, flexibility, idealism, generosity, co-operation, and idealism. It also symbolizes springtime, birth, and sensuality. When the Wood element is strong in someone they exhibit characteristics: socially outgoing, large (in mind and spirit), and outgoing. This element is also a representation of green, spring, dog, east, windy, and the Azure Dragon.

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 5 The element Fire represents excitement, warmth, aggressiveness, enthusiasm, creativity, restlessness, and persistence. People who are strong in the Fire element are typically aggressive, warm, impulsive, creative, and restless. Fire is also a symbol of red, summer, sheep, south, hot, and the Vermillion Bird. The final element, Water, represents softness, cold, influential, flexibility, and wisdom. A person who is strong in the Water element tends to be understanding, intelligent, inconsistent, wise, and soft. Water is also representative of blue, winter, pig, north, cold, and the Black Tortoise. Wu Xing had a very strong impact on traditional Chinese medicine. Each element is represented in the body by a Yin organ, a Yang organ, sensory organ, body part, and body fluid. Wood is represented by liver, gall bladder, eye, tendons, and tears. Fire is symbolized by heart, small intestine, tongue, pulse, and sweat. Earth is connected to spleen/pancreas, stomach, mouth, muscle, and saliva. Metal is symbolized by lung, large intestine, nose, skin, and mucus. The final element, Water, is represented by the kidney, urinary bladder, ears, bones, and urine. Chinese medicine men organized the body this way so that they could treat things more effectively. They used Wu Xing to explain and teat illnesses. If a person had a heart attack the medicine man would give them a prescription that would increase the Water element in the person. The medicine man does this because the heart attack was obviously caused by an overabundance of Fire. This technique can sometimes be effective. The medicine man wouldn’t treat the symptoms he treats the problem. Legalism is another Chinese philosophy. This started a long time ago before China was even a nation. It was thought up as a realistic reform by Hanfeizi and Li Si to help the Qin region during the Warring States Period. At this point the Qin region was close to a civil war. Legalism wasn’t the only philosophy that arose to deal with such problems. Through these philosophies

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 6 the Qin became strong and eventually conquered the other regions to form the first true Chinese empire and the Qin Dynasty. After the Qin accomplished this Legalism slowly became the state philosophy; as this happened all other philosophies and religions were repressed. This was the state of things for quite some time. The reason for this is the values of the Legalist philosophy. The values of Legalism govern many aspects of the law. One of the values of Legalism is that the law should be stated clearly, written, and made known to the public. All people who are under the ruler are equal under the law. The law runs the state not the ruler. The ruler’s position can be protected by secrets and special tactics to make sure that the ruler is not overthrown. Another value is that it is the position of the ruler that protects the ruler rather than the value of the ruler him/herself. The main goal of Legalism was to make a philosophy that so supported and strengthened the law that people almost had no choice but to follow it. The people who taught this philosophy thought that this was the best way to make people model citizens. This worked effectively and would still work today as long as they keep people uneducated and unquestioning. As long as people blindly follow the law then Legalism will work. According to this philosophy individuals didn’t have permanent rights. The well being of the state was considered above all other things. This is somewhat like what America has been doing these past years. Another philosophy that began around the same time as Legalism, Confucianism, and Taoism is called Mohism. Mohism is all about the fundamentals. It also deals with the thought of universal love or caring for people because they’re people. This philosophy states that in order to be a good person that the person must do good things for the right reasons. It taught that intent was more important than action.

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 7 Mohism teaches that a ruler may have many strategies for war but courage is what is important. There are many rituals in a funeral but the fundamental is mourning. It isn’t as important for scholars to have knowledge as much as it is to know how to apply the knowledge. It also teaches that a person must be discipline him/herself by avoiding malicious gossip, cursing, and murderous thoughts. Mohists believe that there is a powerful and all-knowing being. This being knows every immoral thing that people do. Punishments were handed out, by this ultimate being, according to whatever immoral acts had been committed. In punishing these immoral acts the being would encourage moral behavior. Another philosophy in China can’t really be classified as a philosophy. It is more of an attitude that has been instilled by the Chinese communist party. People over there are very positive about their former ruler Mao Zedong. He is still held in high regards. It is almost as if he stands amongst everyone there making sure that they show him respect. Terrible things happened during the Cultural Revolution in China. Things may not have been better before this and maybe change was needed. That doesn’t really excuse what happened though. Mao Zedong ordered traditional Chinese cultural elements to be replaced by Communist cultural elements. In many cases they didn’t just replace the items the army tended more towards destruction of these elements. In one example, the red army went to a Buddhist monastery to tear down the statues of Buddha. The monks knew about this beforehand so they place enough portraits of Mao Zedong in front of one statue to cover it. The red army noticed this but ignored it because they didn’t want to destroy a picture of their great leader. There is no doubt that the Cultural Revolution was not good for China. Mao Zedong was not a great leader, however, the people of China see Mao as a great leader. It is almost as if they

Ian Bergman History 200 Chinese Cultural Diversity Page 8 think that he is this little rascal who was just playing around. It seems as if they think that he brought order and helped the country.