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A Reaction Paper on

Confucius: the Man, the Humanist at the Turn of a New Millennium


There is no question that Confucius is very famous and influential, not only during his
time but until now. The same is true with his teachings. His lessons are still the
statutes in which his followers live. Moreover, his philosophies are still applicable
during the present time anywhere.
The situation during the birth of Confucius and the time in which he lived is quite
similar with the state of affairs that we have in the country today. There is disorder
and discord. There are murder and other kinds of crimes due to greed and self
interests. There is turmoil in almost every part of the country, though the kinds are
varied from one place to another.
Just like the time of Confucius we also need to have focused mind and a determined
will in order to effect the change that we need in our society. We should not get tired
and frustrated, but we need to continue doing what is right, hoping that an
individuals act of righteousness will be passed on to others and become a collective
act.
As Confucius was saying, we need to become gentleman. We need to live in virtue
and have a virtuous society. It is necessary for us to put virtue over material wealth.
We need to focus on our moral needs.
It seems that morality is already lacking in our present times. Our values are already
gone. Crab mentality and survival of the fittest are already the present conditions that
are prevailing among us.
The present situation is partially due to the fact that our leaders seem to lack
morality. They choose might, power and richness over virtue and morality. This can
be exemplified by the fact that politicians use goons, guns and gold during election
period despite the fact that it is illegal and immoral. But that is the truth. Politicians
would do anything just to be able to attain their ambitions.
At this moment, I would like to point out my agreement with what Confucius has said
that righteousness is more important than riches and honor. We should not pursue
our ambitions if they will result detrimental to others. Our desires for riches and
honor should be done in the right way. Righteousness should reign above all desires.

Some of our leaders also forget that respect is better than might. This is one of the
premises of Confucius. It is very clear that Confucius choose government of virtue
over government of the law. And I would like to say that I am very much amenable to
this. Respect is better than might. A person might be feared by many if he still
physically strong or if he is still in power. But when he grows old or if he is not
anymore in power, will the people still remember him. However, a person who is
respected will always be remembered even after his death.
Confucius strongly advices us that morality should reign in the society. An immoral
person does not have the right to lead. It is very true. But the problem sometimes is
that what morality should be used. There are various criterion of morality depending
on whose philosophy one believes. We have Kantian or Natural Ethics of Kant.
There is the Utilitarian Ethics of John Stuart Mill. And there is the Thomistic or
Catholic Ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas. Which of this criterion of morality should be
used? I strongly believe that it is another question that should be answered.
To end this reaction paper, I would like to reiterate that I am very much convinced
with the idea of Confucius that: if there is strong morality and respect among us,
there would be harmony within the community.