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Social Science Major 3 – World Philosophies and Religion

Chapter I Overview on Philosophy

1.1 Nature of Philosophy

Social Philosophy is a branch of philosophy which can be better understood if viewed within
the context of the mother study – philosophy, Philosophy is derived from two Greek words: philia and
sophia. “The first stands for friendly love while the second represents wisdom. If philosophy is a type
of love, however, it will ultimately demand choosing wisdom as its beloved instead of surrendering to
folly. Love and wisdom are intimately linked by a commitment – an act of choice to become a wise
person.” Wisdom refers to the understanding and appreciation of the “first truths” – the real, the good,
the just, the truth itself.

Philosophy is regarded as the science of beings in their ultimate causes or reasons. “Science”
refers to an organized body of knowledge and “beings” refers to existing objects both living and non-
living. Philosophy is a critical reflection on human life and experience to discover its total human
meaning and possibilities and thus be in the service of total human growth. Philosophy seeks to
determine the ultimate or final causes of everything. It does not stop at immediate or intermediate
causes, origins or directions of things but extends to the very root beyond which there is no further
cause.

Philosophers engage in four types of activities:

1. Speculative - involves surveying the output of the sciences and the arts, and in the process
developing a comprehensive picture or vision of the universe.
2. Phenomenological – includes providing a complete and objective description of basic
experiences like fear, guilt, obligation, moral-dilemma, and happiness.
3. Normative – involves providing standards of rightness or wrongness against which individual
and social actions may be judged.
4. Analytical or Critique – refers to the process of providing clear and equivalent meanings of
such basic concepts as true or false, right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust, logical or
illogical.

1.2 Major Fields of Philosophy

1. Epistemology or theory of knowledge. This field utilizes the analytical method in discussing
such questions as what is knowledge, what is the source of knowledge; what is the nature of
knowledge.
2. Metaphysics or theory of reality. Metaphysics relies heavily on speculative method in
developing a comprehensive picture of the universe and in discussing such questions as the
meaning of beings, the nature of reality and the nature of the cosmos (totality).
3. Normative or Axiology. The study of values. Focuses on values, the good, the beautiful, the
holy, the norm. Social philosophy is included in this field because social philosophy deals with
a cluster of values identified with justice.
4. Applied Philosophy. It seeks to relate certain science or discipline to some philosophical
thoughts.

1.3 Why Philosophy?


Modern psychology generally characterizes human needs as being either maintenance needs
or actualizing needs. Maintenance needs refer to physical and psychological needs: food, shelter,
security, and so on. Actualizing needs refer to self-expression, realization of potential, and creativity.

Philosophy can help satisfy actualizing needs by (1) helping us to develop our own opinions
and beliefs, (2) increasing self-awareness, (3) equipping us to deal with uncertainty, (4) soliciting
creativity, and (5) aiding us in clearly conceptualizing value systems.

Philosophy can help us maximize our freedom by increasing our awareness, making us less
biased and provincial by exposing us to the history of thought, refining our analytical powers,
assisting us in dealing with uncertainty, enriching us through the contemplation of eternal questions.
In studying philosophy we risk having personal and cultural beliefs and assumptions exposed.
This risk is worth running in the light of philosophy’s value.

Chapter II Philosophy of Human Nature


Concepts of Man
Man is an emotional, sentient, organic, rational, and social animal/being.

2.1 Views of Human Nature


Human Nature refers to what it means to be one of our species, what makes us different from
anything else.

Two Essentialist Views of Human Nature


A. The Rational View
The view of the human as a rational being, which dates from the ancient Greeks, contends that
humans are primarily reasoning creatures.
This view fosters a concept of the self as something existing apart from and above the objective world
and as capable of discovering truth, beauty, and goodness. It also fosters a view of freedom as self-
awareness.

* Humankind primarily as a thinker capable of reasoning.


Socrates (469-399 B.C.E) “Man is a rational being.”

Plato (427-347 B.C.E.) in his treatise, The Republic


Psyche = soul = self
The human body has three major domains:
Head – (Reason) seat of reason and wisdom
Chest – (Spirit) seat of will and courage; self-assertion or self-interest
Abdomen – (Appetite) seat of appetite and temperance
 Reason is the highest part of human nature.
 Through reason we can discover truth about how we ought to live. This truth exists outside us
in some objective state. It is not a matter of opinion or feeling, nor is it something we make for
ourselves. It is not relative.

Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) reason is the human’s highest faculty.


- It is the characteristic that sets us apart from all other creatures of nature.

Stoics, members of a school of thought founded by Zeno in 308 B.C.E., regarded the ideal person as
able to suppress passion and emotion through reason. Only this way could humans discover
knowledge and be in harmony with cosmic reason, or logos.
Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics differ in many ways, but they all stress reason as the human’s
most important feature. They generally would have us see the self as a body and a mind. The body
as physical and is subject to the laws that govern matter. The mind is immaterial; it is conscious and
characterized by reasoning. Unlike the body, the mind has no extension; it is not part of the world of
matter and thus is not subject to its laws. N.B. Possibility of conflict between these two natures.

* Our mind enables us to stand apart from our environment, to find meaning and sense in the
events around us. We gain freedom through self-awareness, by becoming conscious of the forces
that have shaped us and the influences that have made us what we are.
* Freedom is a function of self-awareness; ignorance is bondage. Through reason we can also
discover how we ought to live.
* The way to truth is through reason which leads to moral knowledge.
So the implications of the Rational View for self-image are vast. We see ourselves as
reasoning, free, and moral beings.

B. The Religious View


The religious view of the human, rooted in Judeo-Christian thought, claims that humans are
unique because they are made in the image of God, their Creator, who has endowed them with self-
consciousness and an ability to love. This concept fosters a view of self as being purposeful, moral,
and possessing free will.
According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, humans are made in the image of God. They are
essentially divine beings because, they contain something of the self-consciousness and ability to
love that characterizes their Creator.

This ability to love is the distinguishing characteristic of the Judeo-Christian view. The divine
view contends that the two purposes of the life -Loving God and Serving God- are open to all
regardless of intelligence.

As St. Paul writes “If I understand all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am
nothing” (2 Corinthians 13.2).
Being given by God, this love is divine, and so allow humans to share in divinity.
* The divine view is hardly a denial of the rational view.

St. Augustine (354 – 430 C.E.), there is a similar dualism of mind and body and a belief in the
uniqueness of the human mind.
The divine view also holds that a single personal God created humans in His image; that is; He
endowed His creation with self-consciousness and ability to love. This ability is what makes human
beings unique.
Since the universe is the extension of an intelligent mind (God), believers may see themselves
as part of a universe whose meaning and purpose they personally share through fellowship with God.
One’s purpose in life therefore, is found in serving and loving God.
For the Christian, the way to serve and love God is by emulating the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
For the Jews, one serves and loves God primarily through expression of justice and
righteousness.
* The concept of Moral Self. Each of us is capable of great good, but also of great evil.
- That we can make moral decisions implies that we are free to make them.
- As divine creations, we are supposedly free to choose a course that will bring us closer to or take us
further from our Creator. As a result, we bear full responsibility for our moral choices and cannot
blame external factors for one’s failure to love and serve God.

Challenges to Essentialist Views


A. Scientific Views
Scientific views deny any essential immaterial human nature. A strict scientific view reduces
humans to physiochemical processes. Even though the social sciences don’t share this highly
materialistic view, they can be as reductionist.

Twentieth-century psychology behaviorism makes no essential distinction between body


and mind or between humans and the rest of nature. Concepts such as purpose, morality, and will
are, say the behaviorists, the results of pre-scientific thinking. Everything is determined, and there is
no personal freedom.

1. People can be explained by the natural sciences. They can be reduced to physical and
chemical phenomena; there is no essential human nature in the classical or religious sense.
There is no so-called mind or ability to love that makes us unique. The mind and thinking are
simply the electrochemical activities of the brain.

e.g. Reductionists or Mechanists. Reductionism is the idea that a whole can be completely
understood by analyzing its parts, or that a developing process can be explained as the result of
earlier, simpler stages.
* Science reaches no further than objective facts. Human nature can be attributed or reduced to such
facts.

2. Social scientists advanced the theory that people can best be understood as an integrated
system of responses resulting from genetics and environment; that individuals are basically
passive objects-things that are acted upon and that really cannot help acting as they do.
Humans are driven beings, moved by outer and inner needs or urges.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) Political Philosopher rejected the primacy of reason and the divine origins of
mankind. Material forces produce both human nature and societal tendencies. What changes social
structure is the production and reproduction of life; the primary need is survival. (Psychosocial)
Sigmund Freud. Nothing we do is haphazard or coincidental; everything results from mental causes,
most of which we are unaware of. “The mind is not only conscious or potentially conscious but also
what is unconscious.”
This unconsciousness is a reservoir of human motivation comprised of instincts. (Psychosocial)

Behaviorism - A school of psychology that restricts the study of humans to what can be objectively
observed – namely human behavior. Founded by J.B. Watson and B.F. Skinner – A human being is
simply “an assembled organic machine ready to run.” They view all humans as empty organisms
having identical neural mechanisms that await conditioning and programming. [No] will, impulse,
feelings, and purpose. We are in effect, mechanisms that are shaped and controlled by our
environment. By facing this fact, we will be better able to cope with the human condition by
concentrating on the external factors that mold our behaviors. In effect, the individual behavior is not
unique, not free but determined.

* Contingencies of Reinforcement - Relationships among: 1. occasion upon which a response occurs;


2. the response itself; 3. the reinforcing consequences.
Determinism - The theory that everything in the universe is totally ruled by causal laws. Every event
has a prior condition, and all events are at least theoretically predictable if all the prior conditions are
known.

In the strictly scientific world, it is generally assumed that everything is determined by natural laws.
The universe and all its parts participate in and are governed by an orderly causal consequence.
Events follow conditions with predictable regularity. B.F. Skinner – Freedom as a myth; all responses
are the result of past contingencies of conditioning & reinforcement.

B. The Existentialist View


The view of the human as an existential being, while denying the existence of any essential
immaterial human nature, also denies that we are only products of our environment. It asserts that
although there is no essential self, there is an existing self, and that the self is a freely choosing,
active agent. Self, Sartre argues, is choice.

* Existentialists deal on individual existence and its problems.


Individuals create their own characters through free responsible choices and actions. Humans
are active participants in the world, not determined mechanisms. Although they recognize outside
influences, existentialists insists that each self determines its own human nature.

Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) “Man is condemned to be free.”


We are free because we can rely neither on God (who doesn’t exist) nor on society to justify
our actions or tell us what we essentially are. We are condemned because without absolute
guidelines we must suffer the agony of own decision making and the anguish of its consequences.

Although he believes that there are no true universal statements about what humans ought to
be, Sartre does make at least one general statement about the human condition: We are free. This
freedom consists chiefly of our ability to envisage additional possibilities to our state, to conceive of
what is not the case, to suspend judgment, and to alter our condition. Each of us has our subjectivity,
our only birthright.

“We must take full responsibility not only for our actions but also for our beliefs, feelings, and
attitudes.”

“The self is a project that possesses a subjective self; it is the sum total, not everything that happens
to it, but everything that it ever does. In the end, we are choices; to be human means to be free.”

“Existence is prior to essence, he believes; humans exist first, then they make something of
themselves.”

“If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will
not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself. Thus, there is no human
nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. Not that he is simply what
he conceives himself to be, but he is what he wills…”
Clearly, existentialism gives the inner life and experience a new emphasis. Whereas those
seeing the self as response to stimuli ignore the inner world of feelings, sensations, moods, and
anxieties, existentialists focus on it. Indeed, this inner life is precisely what the self experiences, and
thus it is the self. In it are found our feelings of despair, fear, guilt, and isolation, as well as our
uncertainties, especially about death. There we confront the meaninglessness that is at core of
existence and thus discover a truth that enables us to live fully conscious of what being human
means.

C. Eastern Views
The Eastern view denies both a human nature and a self. These concepts are imaginary and
arise from deep-seated psychological needs for self-preservation. Freedom is an illusion.

Buddhism All existence is characterized by constant movement and change. Since “all is change,”
there is no fixed or static human nature. Human condition is summarized in the * Four Noble Truths.
There are no human nature and no self as we understand them. In fact, any attempt to
characterize humans as rational, divine, scientific or existential is destined to fail, and any attempt to
affirm our egos is doomed to produce misery.
Buddhist teachings pose a merging of five “streams” of physical sensations or material body,
feelings, perceptions, predispositions or karmic tendencies, and consciousness = skandhas, comprise
of being and an-atta, the “no-self”. In denying self and ego, Buddhists assert that nothing is
permanent, everlasting, or absolute.
According to The Buddha, “the idea of self is an imaginary belief that produces harmful
thoughts of “me”, “mine”, vanity, egoism, and ill will.”
Buddhism views everything that exists as being connected – everything depends on and is
influenced by everything else. Nothing comes into existence without prior conditions; nothing exists
independently of anything else.
We can infer from this view that nothing – physical or mental – is entirely free, because
everything is relative and conditioned; there can be no moral freedom, for freedom implies something
independent of conditions. As a result, it makes little sense to speak of the human as essentially good
or evil, or of individual actions as being right or wrong.

Chapter III Person and Education, Person and Society


3.1 Idealism - In Metaphysics, reality is ultimately non-matter; in Epistemology, all we know are ideas.
- “Objects exist only in the mind.” Plato
 It is a philosophy that says reality is essentially composed of truth and is perfectly rational; a
common moral end is the goal of personal interest and rational will.
 George Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831) - Historical or Dialectic Materialism. This philosophy was
arrived at by logical argument using the historical process patterned in terms of thesis –
antithesis – synthesis with the opposing forces reconciling in the end.

Communism - Hegelian idealism was converted to economic determinism and revolutionary


radicalism, by Karl Marx (1818-1883)
 History of the world could be understood in terms of a general triad whose thesis was
feudalism, whose antithesis was capitalism and whose synthesis he predicted to be
communism.
As antithesis, capitalism surpassed feudalism through its high rate of production, but it brought
the evil of exploitation of the labor class that emerged – proletariat. Marx proposed his ideal of
a classless society.
- Marx’s ideal was based on his belief that the history of all societies outlines class struggles,
(History of Class Struggle) and in the end a classless society where a person works in harmony
with his environment.
 Society cannot exist without the individuals who compose it, but neither can the individuals
exist without the society.” The individual is an organic part of the societal group: family,
community, state. “Just as the state is unthinkable without citizens, so are the citizens
unthinkable without the state.” GWH

3.2 Realism - It is the philosophy that regards the universe as compose of beings existing
independently but related and forming a hierarchical structure called cosmos or totality.
- Reality exists independent of human consciousness; against the Idealists, reality is
not mind dependent but exists independent of the knowing subject.
Classical Realism - It refers to the philosophy that originated in ancient Greece and was heavily
influenced by the thoughts of Aristotle (384 B.C.E.-322 B.C.E) and Plato (427 B.C.E-347 B.C.E.),
Aristotle’s mentor.
 It is the philosophy that distinguishes a person from other living substances as endowed with
two natures: animal and rational. The animal nature with its various appetites and sensual
desires is perfected by the practice of the habits of the “golden mean” between two extremes
of excess and deficiency. These habits enable a person to develop the moral virtues of
temperance and courage. These moral virtues, in turn, enable a person to perfect the rational
nature by achieving the intellectual virtues of wisdom, prudence, and art.
The full human nature, however, is not fully achieved by the development of virtues
alone. Full human nature enables a person to the ultimate goal of happiness by transcending
self-realization with the acceptance that one is not self-sufficient when isolated from others.
 Aristotle emphasized that a person is a part in relation to the whole which is society, and that
anyone who is not able to live in society or who does not need it is either a beast or a god, but
not a human being.
 Society is the external support of a person’s self-realization.
 The state which is a form of organized society has the moral purpose of maintaining proper
order and exercising justice for the good of the whole or the common good.

3.3 Liberalism –
 Stoicism (Third-Fifth Century B.C.E.). Stoics believed that some matters were within a person’s
power to control and others were not. Within a person’s power is the will to act or not to act, to
do or to avoid. Not within a person’s power is the nature of things and the laws that govern
them. People should therefore obey the rules of nature and respect the natural order of things.
Stoicism also preached the equality of all people since all of them are rational beings.
 The soul of philosophical liberalism is found in the works of John Locke (1632-1704).Locke
stated that freedom and equality of all persons are governed by a law of nature that obliges
everyone to respect the freedom of self-determination in others and to treat others as equals.
Reason defines the rights and duties that constitute and sustain everyone’s freedom.

 People find it necessary to give up their natural freedom on order to form a society. They enter
into a “societal contract” where they give up their power of self-preservation in exchange for
the collective and stronger action of society and government. The existence of society and the
authority of government arise out of people’s freely given consent as emphasized by Locke,
and not out of people’s needs as asserted by Hobbes.

 Vindication of the right of each person to work out his own destiny free from all but a minimum
social control.

Chief Attributes of Liberalism:


a. Reason, not faith or emotion, is the only true guide of man’s actions.
b. Man is essentially good and perfectible.
c. There are certain natural laws in human affairs - social, political, and economics – that can be
discovered by scientific investigation.
d. There are certain inalienable rights peculiar to man by virtue of his humanity, and the sole
purpose of the state is to preserve and protect these rights.
e. History is a record of continual progress in which mankind, thru its own effort, is steadily
improving. Change in the social and political order should therefore be welcomed and
encouraged, not feared and impeded.
f. Revealed and organized religion is not necessary to man’s moral progress.
g. Individual freedom is best assured by constitutional government.

3.4 Positivism - As a philosophy, it is based primarily on science and scientific discoveries.


 It is historically associated with the French Philosopher August Comte (1789-1857) who first
used the term positivism for his philosophical position connected with the laws of societal
growth. “The highest form of knowledge is simple description presumably of sensory
phenomenon.”

- Comte’s teaching identifies three ascending levels of explanation of natural phenomena:


theological level which explains natural phenomena by spiritual or anthropomorphic beings; the
metaphysical level which depersonalizes these beings into forces and essences; the positive
level which relies mainly on science and scientific descriptions.

 The forerunner of positivism in social philosophy was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) who sought
to explain the relation of persons and society in terms of scientific discoveries and observable
data.
- Persons are regarded as creatures ruled by needs and desires, and happiness is conceived as
success in getting what they need and desire. A person’s need for security led to the formation
of organized society and government under which people obey laws and the sovereign authority
for an orderly social life.

 The positivist concept of person and society was brought to extremes by the Italian Renaissance
political theorists Niccolo Machiavelli who regarded the person not as a being capable of
realizing his potentialities in society, but as a lover of power and reputation, as self-assertive in
controlling others.
 The positivist understanding of society has also led to the concept of “social engineering” as
observable in the theories and experiments of B.F. Skinner. His experiments on stimulus
response and conditioning of animals were applied to human behavior modification which was
later suggestively named “plastic man” model.

3.5 Pragmatism - It is a philosophy that believes that a thing to be true, it must work.
- It says that to determine the meaning of an idea, put it into practice in the objective world of
actualities and whatever its consequences prove to be these constitute the meaning of the idea.

 John Dewey (1859-1952). Dewey’s basic definition of pragmatism is that it is “the theory that
the processes and the materials of knowledge are determined by practical or purposive
consideration”.

 Charles Sanders Pierce (1839-1914). The pragmatists’ view is supported by the practices of
experimental science specifically the laboratory method in which the hypotheses are ideas or
proposed solutions to felt problems. These are tested and either rejected or confirmed. Truth,
therefore, is that which works and is successful in solving problems.
The pragmatists’ focus on consequences and how they are controlled through
intelligence is the foundation of their concepts of person and society. A person is a social
animal because association rather than isolation is the law that governs everything that exists.
Society is pluralistic, not an entity in itself, but a collection of interacting primary groups.
- It looks into the hard facts of life.

Chapter IV Person and State


4.1 State Defined
State – it is a body of people permanently occupying a definite territory, politically organized under a
government with sovereignty.
Ancient Greek Philosophers Concept of State:
Divisions of the state according to Plato
1. the rulers (head)
2. the auxiliaries (chest)
3. the workers (abdomen)

Forms of state organization according to Aristotle: “The highest form of human fellowship maybe
realized only in the state.”
1. Monarchy or tyranny
2. Aristocracy or oligarchy
3. Democracy or anarchy
Monarchy (kingship) - it is a one-man rule form of government that allows unity of command and
decisiveness. vs. tyranny
Aristocracy – it is a form of government that advocates rule of an elite group that allows selection of
the best. vs. oligarchy
Democracy (polity/constitutional democracy) – it is a form of government that allows individual
freedom and economic equality vs. anarchy
The Justification of the State

The Social Contract Theory


A. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Man by nature abhorred society
* Portrays human beings as:
- selfish, egoistic in his pursuits
- anti-social creatures driven by two needs: survival and personal pleasure
- purely material organism
- mechanically moved by pleasure or pain
- private appetite as the prime motivation of all of man’s actions
- “Homo homini lupus,” Man is wolf to man.
- no moral standards, no concept of right or wrong
Always in the constant condition for war, anti-sociability can be seen from daily experiences.
“Man is always on the edge.” e.g. well-armed when on a journey; well- secured/guarded houses.
As a result, human life is characterized by constant struggle, strife, and war, with individual pitted
against individual in a battle for self-preservation and gain.
- The state of nature “at first”: People were free to act as they wished. No law governed them save
natural law, and that law had no enforcement agency.

State of Nature: State of War


On the Social Contract
Solution
In order to stop disasters, driven by the same law of egoism humans find ways and means for a
solution. Peace had to be worked out, to end war and fear.
The Free Contract, made every individual agree to sacrifice his or her egoistic interests and live in a
society where mutuality of goodness is done. They renounced all individual power and right into the
hands of one authority, the state, i.e. The Leviathan.
 Made out of fear of being eliminated by others, the fear of death.
 Though Hobbes viewed people as prisoners of their own selfishness, he believed they were
rational. As rational beings, they realized the futility of their existence and hit upon a way of
creating order out of the chaos endemic to the state of nature: the social contract. In
exchange for order they agreed to surrender all their natural rights to a monarch and render
to him complete obedience.
 Needs a sovereign who’ll act as “sword” or coercive power to compel adherence to the
social covenant
 Not between ruler and ruled but between individuals

The Leviathan is the supreme and absolute, to whom all have to submit their will, judgment, and life.
- Leviathan, Hobbes’ famous work on social theory
 The Sovereign, i.e., the Monarch
- is the Authority, with the sole function of the king to keep order, as long as the
monarch did so, his subjects were bound to obey his laws. However, since the social
contract was an agreement among ordinary people, the king was not a party to it
and need not be bound by it. Only he could make the law; and because he made the
law, the king could not be bound or limited by it. Only if he failed to keep peace could
the people resist him.
- With Full power
- Alter ego of the individuals

B. John Locke (1685-1688)


- History’s leading classical liberal, Locke believed in natural law and that people could
discover its principles by using reason.

- Natural law guaranteed each individual certain rights that could not legally be taken away, or
alienated, without due process of law. He summarized these inalienable rights as “life, liberty, and
estate.” He held that individual freedom was an essential right.

- Locke was very optimistic about human nature. He believed that governmental restraints on
people were largely unnecessary. In fact, he argued that people were most free when they were left
unfettered by government. Thus, to him, freedom was found in the absence of restraint. He felt that
people would behave decently when left alone and argued that they should be free to exercise their
rights without hindrance or regulations as long as they did not interfere with the rights of others.

- All human beings have the same natural rights because the natural law, from which the
natural rights flow, applies to all people in equal measure.
- Views humans as essentially moral beings who ought to obey natural moral rules.
- Views humans as being by nature free and equal, regardless of the existence of any
government.
- Government does not decree mutual respect for the freedom and liberty of all, nature does.
- Humans are by nature free, rational, and social creatures.
- They establish governments because three things are missing in the state of nature: (1) a
firm, clearly understood interpretation of natural law, (2) unbiased judges to resolve disputes, and (3)
personal recourse in the face of injustices.

- Two Treatises of Government, famous work on social theory


The State of Nature: were “peace, goodwill, mutual assistance and preservation.”
“State of Peace” but not secure, there are “inconveniences”. He believed people were basically
good, he did not think of them as perfect,

(1) Conflict between people could occur in the state of nature; two people might come into conflict
while exercising what they consider to be their just liberties. (2) Injustice could occur in the
state of nature, because the person who manages to prevail over another may succeed only
because he or she is stronger and not because he or she is right.

On the Social Contract


* The basis of the social contract is not fear but the “inconveniences” encountered in the state of
nature.
* Believing that people were rational, he theorized that people saw the need for an agency to
dispense justice among them. This led the individuals in a community to make a contract among them
thereby creating society and removing themselves from the state of nature.
* The people create the society through the social contract, and then government is created as an
agent of the society.
* Consequently, government is two steps removed from the true source of its power, the
individual, and is subordinate to the society, which in is turn, subordinate to the individual. Also, since
government and society is not the same thing, the fall of a government need not mean the end of the
community. The community could create a new government to serve it if its original government was
unsatisfactory.
On the Government (sovereign)
- Locke believed that government ought to be strictly limited, he thought it performed a vital
function: To serve the people.
- Some things could be done better when people were left alone and that other things were done
better by society as a whole or by society’s representatives. He believed that most people could
act fairly and efficiently by themselves and insisted that government should not interfere with the
individual in such cases.
- People should keep most of their freedoms.
- Everyone is limited by law.
- The government as a passive arbitrator.
- The Government rests on the consent of the majority.
- The primary purpose of the contract is the protection of “property”.
- The state or government should never become more powerful than the individuals it served.

C. Rousseau, Jean Jacques (1712-1778)


Man is simply a-social by nature
- Originally lived a solitary life
 “Man of the forest”
- no desires; lived on the satisfaction of elementary needs
- no idea of right or wrong, good or evil
- no language wherewith to communicate, no family
- “The sexes united without design, an accident…”
- The primitive man was almost like an animal.

Primitive man saw the perfectibility of his nature.


The realization is done through labor, the effective means for the achievement of man’s
perfection. As a result, private property/private ownership was established leading to the division
of men into classes; between the haves and the have-nots, conflicts ensued.
Private property, which Rousseau believed develop only after the community was formed,
encouraged greed and selfishness. The most aggressive people in the community gained control
of the most property, and they set up a government to help them maintain that control. Hence,
people become prisoners either to their own greed or to that of their rulers. “Man is born free,”
Rousseau wrote, “and everywhere is in chains.”

Solutions:
Grouped and cooperated with one another.
Free Contract of human wills
 Rousseau, appealed to self-evident natural law
 Argued that if people are to act morally, then they must live under laws that they freely
accept.
 Emphasizes on personal moral autonomy, the capacity and right of individuals to live under
laws that they prescribe for themselves.
 The fundamental requirement of a morally acceptable government is that the governed
have freely subscribed to a common body of law.
 The Social Contract, famous work on social theory
 the state of nature: State of Peace
 Man’s nature is basically “good”
 Two Basic instincts (of man’s goodness)
i. self-preservation
ii. sympathy, pity or compassion

On the Social Contract


 Caused by the Forces of Nature
 Secure and preserve man’s goodness
 The organic society. To build a new community that is structured so that a moral existence is
possible. The people should form a new society to which they would surrender themselves
completely. By giving up their rights and powers to the group, they would create a new entity.
The society would become an organism in which each individual contributed to the whole. By
giving up their individual powers, people would gain a new kind of equality and a new kind of
power. They would achieve equality because they would all become contributors to the group.
Enhanced power would also accrue to the community, the sum greater than its individual parts.
This new society would actually be a person, according to Rousseau- a “public person”.
The public person
would be directed by the general will that is the combination of the will of each person in the
society engaged in the enterprise of doing what was good for all.
 The general will also make individual freedom possible. Freedom, according to Rousseau,
meant doing only what one wanted to do. When people join the community, they voluntarily
agree to comply with the general will of the community. The general will, created by the
majority in the interests of all in society, cannot be wrong.

On the government
 The power of the sovereign is limited. Rousseau opposed representative form of government,
since no one could represent another individual. Preferred direct form of democracy.
 A complete separation of the legislative and executive functions and powers. The legislature
will be more powerful than the executive. The legislature was all of the people, or the
community, making the general will. Hence, it was the sovereign or all-power body. The
executive was merely the government.
The government only served the community. It had no special rights and privileges and,
could be changed at any time while the community remained unchanged. The sole function of
the executive (the government), in other words, was to carry out the wishes of the community
(the general will).

* On the Justification of the State


The state is the highest authority in a society. As indicated, it has the power to define the
public interest and enforce its definition.
* Social Contract Theory
It is both an explanation of the origin of the state and a defense of its authority that
philosophers have frequently used.

4.2 Government Control


Just how far the state or government ought to go in the exercise of its authority and power in
controlling the lives of its citizens provokes analysis about the nature of government control.
1. Anarchists express unswerving faith in individual cooperation and show little, if any,
confidence in the state. Accordingly, anarchists argue that the state should be abolished as
unnecessary.
2. Totalitarians place such strong emphasis on the efficient workings of the state that they are
willing to sacrifice most individual rights and interests. Thus, totalitarians believe that
government should absorb the whole of human life.
3. Moderate Views:

Individualism, the backdrop of two significant trends:


 The desire to break away from established patterns of thinking.
 The belief in universal law i.e., SEPC of the 18th and 19th centuries.
For example: The tendency toward freedom and independence was fostered by an economic
theory known as laissez-faire which accompanied the Industrial Revolution.

Laissez faire – business and commerce should be free from governmental control so that the
entrepreneur can pursue free enterprise.

Adam Smith (1723-1790), the leading spokesperson for laissez-faire economics, insisted that
government interference in private enterprise must be reduced, free competition encouraged, and
enlightened self- interest made the rule of the day. If commercial interests are left to pursue self-
interest, then the good of society will be served. Indeed, only through egoistic pursuits can the
greatest happiness for the greatest number be produced. (The Wealth of Nations)

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and David Ricardo (1722-1723) argued that obvious inequities that
might arise would resolve themselves, for natural law or order operated in such affairs as surely as
Newton’s laws of gravitation and motion operated in the universe. Ergo, natural law would regulate
prices and wages; natural law would correct inequities.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), feared government interference in the economy. A government should
interfere only in those matters for which society itself cannot find solutions. Such matters should be
resolved according to the principle of utility, which holds that what is good is that which produces the
greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Under no circumstances should the
government unnecessarily restrict individual freedom, including the individual’s right to realize as
much pleasure and progress for himself as possible.

Ergo the three beliefs characterize the philosophy of individualism as it appeared in the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries:
1. Individuals should be free to pursue their own interests without interference, providing they
do not impinge on the rights and interests of others;
2. Individuals should be allowed to earn as much as money as they can and to spend it
however they choose; and
3. Individuals should not expect the government to aid or inhibit their economic growth, for
such interference only destroys individual incentive and creates indolence. So, in order to
combat the antiquated laws and regulations that fettered humans, to keep pace with the
scientific discoveries of natural law, and to bury the last vestiges of feudalism, eighteenth
and nineteenth-century thinkers elevated the importance of individualism. These thinkers
were termed liberals and their political philosophy liberalism. “They govern best who govern
least.”

Paternalism, sometimes termed Statism, leans toward a strong state presence and has little
confidence in the possibility of individual cooperation without the guiding hand of government. Its
corresponding theory would be socialism. It allows private property but limits the scope of private
enterprise in its use. It tends to impose regulations on businesses and charges the state with the
duty of undertaking all public works. Although in theory paternalism does not dismiss the value of
the individual and family, in practice it gives government an active role in directing the affairs of
each, as a parent might a child. Paternalism is to conservatism.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Central to Burke’s political ideology is a distrust of the individual.
Emphasis on individualism, led to the anarchy of the French Revolution. “Individualism was
incompatible with social and political stability.” Burke’s primary concern, society represented an
organic and mystic link binding the past, present, and future. The State, therefore, was not an artificial
but an organic structure, nourished by religious fervor, patriotism, and faith.”
This concept of the state as an organism persuaded Burke to preserve tradition, to nurture
respect for established institutions such as religion and private property, and to honor whatever had
survived for generations. As a result, Burke considered radical changes as signs of disaster,
contending that all change must evolve naturally and never represent a rupture with the past.
Burke’s political ideas emphasize institutions over individuals. The survival of the state is by far
more important than individual interests, which always must be consistent with tradition. Individual
rights exist side by side with duties, which, along with faith and loyalty provide the mortar of a solid
society.
Unlike liberals, he believed that individuals are not by nature equal. This belief, along with his
observations of political unrest in Europe, led him to distrust the masses, democracy, and popular
rule. As a result, Burke’s ideal state is ruled by a landed aristocracy whose circumstances of birth,
breeding, and education mark them as natural rulers. Only such aristocrats are capable of enforcing
the law and inspiring respect for traditions and institutions.
An Issue: The problem concerns striking a proper balance between private and public interests.
In other words, both must espouse the middle way between anarchism and totalitarianism. What’s
more, they believe that the government should “positively assist” private initiative for the common
good.

Chapter V Oriental Philosophy on the Social Sphere

5.1 Hinduism
Hinduism began about 7,000 years ago and is considered the world’s oldest religion.
Approximately 83 percent of India’s population practices Hinduism.

FOUNDING No one person founded Hinduism. It evolved over a long period of time into a flexible,
tolerant religion that allows for individual differences in beliefs. Unlike Christianity and Islam,
Hinduism does not have one sacred book, such as the Bible or Koran. Instead Hindus have the
Vedas, collection of prayers and verses, and the Upanishads, philosophical descriptions of the
origins of the universe. Religious thinkers commented on these hymns (Vedas) and speculated on the
ideas in them, discussed basic ideas about right or wrong, the universal order, and human destiny.
(Circa 800 B.C.E. to 600 B.C.E.)

Bhagavad-Gita, the Song of the Lord, which is part of the great epic Mahabharata, introduces the
principal concepts of Hinduism as well as beautiful poetry.

* In Aryan belief, both human beings and gods were part of universal order. The priests taught
that each detail of a ritual or sacrifice had to be perfect so this order would not be upset and
destroyed.
 The “world spirit” or “supreme principle”, called Brahman. Hindus believed that this spirit is
present in every living creature and that at the same time everything is a part of the world
spirit.
 The oneness of reality. This oneness is the absolute, or Brahman, which the mind can never
fully grasp or words express. Only Brahman is real; everything else is an illusory manifestation
of it. A correlative belief is the concept of atman, or no self. What we commonly call I or the
self is an illusion, for each true self is one with Brahman. When we realize this unity with the
absolute, we realize our true destiny.

DEITIES Hindus believe in one supreme force called Brahma, whose presence is everywhere
and in all things. Hindu gods are considered aspects, or manifestations, of Brahma. Three major
deities, or aspects of Brahma, are Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver of life), and Shiva
(the destroyer and re-creator of new life).
* The goal of a Hindu is to return to Brahman and be absorbed back into the universal spirit.
Hindus believe that, to achieve this goal, the human soul must progress and become purer.

REINCARNATION/INCARNATIONS (avataras) A belief in reincarnation, or rebirth of the soul in


another body after death, forms the basis of Hinduism and underlies the entire caste system.
Hinduism maintains that people’s actions in this life determine their reward or punishment for Karma,
deeds committed in a previous life. Acceptable behavior means following the dharma, or rules and
obligations, of the caste into which a person is born.

CYCLE OF LIFE Because Hindus believe in reincarnation, they practice cremation, the burning of
dead bodies. They see life as a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The cycle of reincarnation continues
until a person achieves moksha (salvation consists in an escape from the cycle wheel of time), the
highest state of being and perfect internal peace.

HINDUISM AND SOCIETY Hinduism is both a religious and a social system. It especially
affects the lives of people in rural India, who form the bulk of the population. The untouchables must
still drink from certain wells and take jobs no other caste would consider. Recent laws have aimed at
improving their lives, but centuries of belief in the caste system have hindered change.

COMMON CHARACTERISITCS OF INDIAN THOUGHT


1. Emphasis on the spiritual. It is the spiritual that endures and is ultimately real.
2. The realization that our philosophy and our life are inextricably enmeshed. What we believe is
how we live; if our beliefs are in error, our lives will be unhappy.
3. A preoccupation with the inner life. The road to enlightenment stretches not outward but
inward. To understand nature and the universe we must turn within.
4. Emphasis on the nonmaterial oneness of creation. There are no polarities; a unity of spirit
provides cosmic harmony.
5. The acceptance of direct awareness as the only way to understand what is real. Unlike the
user of psychedelic drugs, the Indian believer finds this direct perception through spiritual
exercises, perhaps through the practice of yoga. Reason is of some use, but in the last
analysis we know only through an inner experience of oneness with all of creation.
6. A healthy respect for tradition, but never a slavish commitment to it. The past can teach but
never rule.
7. Indian thought recognizes the complimentary nature of all systems of belief. Hinduism is not
rooted in any single doctrine, nor does it claim a monopoly on truth or wisdom. It preaches
tolerance of all sincere viewpoints and includes many of these within its own spiritual
teachings.

FOUR PRIMARY VALUES


1. Wealth, pleasure, duty, and enlightenment. The first two are worldly, which when kept in
perspective are good and desirable values. Duty or righteousness refers to patience, sincerity,
fairness, love, honesty, and similar virtues. The highest spiritual value is enlightenment, by which
one is illuminated and liberated and most importantly, finds release from the wheel of existence.

PSYCHOCENTRIC Hinduism/Brahmanism is founded on the experience of the Divine Being who is


beyond all multiplicity. The Supreme Being for the Hindu is more real than that of the Filipino. For the
Hindu, the material world and the individual self (Atman) are simple deceptions. The basic experience
of God, which is revealed in the Upanishads and underlies all Hindu religion, is intuition of the one,
eternal, infinite reality, the Brahman, which is the basic principle of all that exists. This Brahman,
when reflected in human consciousness, is known as the Atman, the Self, the ground and principle of
human existence and consciousness. This experience of the Self is one with the Brahman. The only
real, non-conscious and beyond good and evil is Brahman or the Great Self. The duty of man is to
deny the individual and the phenomenal, to achieve self-annihilation and absorption into the Great
Self. The chief contribution of Hinduism is the philosophy of the self.

5.2 Buddhism
India is home to one of the oldest philosophies known to man, Buddhism, and also the
birthplace of a second great world religion, Buddhism.

FOUNDING The founder of Buddhism was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in
Nepal from 563-483 B.C.E. Gautama rejected his wealth to search for the meaning of human
suffering. He became the Buddha, Enlightened One, after meditating for 49 days under a sacred bo
or bodhi tree.
FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS Buddhism rests upon the Four Noble Truths.
 the noble truth of suffering - All life is suffering.
 the noble truth on the origin of suffering - Suffering is caused by desire.
 the noble truth on the cessation of desire - Desire can be eliminated or to stop desire means to
stop suffering.
 the noble truth to the way of cessation of desire - There is a path, or way, to end desire, i.e.,
following the Noble Eightfold Path to break the chain of Karma and reach Nirvana.

NOBLE EIGHT-FOLD PATH To eliminate earthly desire, a person needs to follow the Noble
Eight-fold path. The path requires:
 Right understanding. Humans must realize that the only way out of pain and suffering is to
know their true selves, to abandon ignorance about the self, and to eliminate craving and
desire. Without understanding we do not know how to escape our predicament.
 Right intention or purpose. We must want release from dilemma and commit ourselves to
discovering self-knowledge. Without purpose we will not do what we must to find peace.
 Right speech. One sign that we are serious about attaining enlightenment is that our speech
is above reproach. We must never lie, gossip, slander, boast, flatter, or threaten.
 Right conduct. Just as speech reflects the quality of our intention, so does conduct. Seekers
of enlightenment never kill or harm any living creature. Neither do they pollute their bodies
with meats and liquors.
 Right way of livelihood. How we earn a living must be compatible with our goal of
enlightenment. Seeking material self-enrichment, such as money and status, excites desires
and leads us from the path of true self-knowledge. Working in the service of other people
helps to quell these desires and to keep us directed toward our goal.
 Right effort. Speech, conduct, and way of living are not substitutes for discipline. Right effort
involves constantly checking desires and cravings and conceding no morsel of gratification to
them.
 Right mindfulness. The interior life is as important as the exterior; what we think is as
important as what we do. Just as we must not give in to desires, so we must not even think
about them. All action originates in thought. When the thought is right, so is the action.
 Right concentration. The best way to ensure right mindfulness is through meditation and
concentration, the spine of the Eightfold Way. Through reflective practices and concentrated
voyages into the interior self, we can gain enlightenment.
Enlightenment, in Buddhist doctrine, is the state of “pure joy.” This joy may come after long-
practiced meditation and is not dependent on other people or on our own egos. We are
enlightened when we are no longer selves or egos but part of the flow of universal energy.
We so merge with this flow of energy that we are one with it. Nothing can still or limit the
joy of this merging, not even thoughts of death, because the energy of the universe
experiences no death. Since we are one with the energy, we too will always exist, not as
particular human beings but as embodiments of eternal being. When we realize this, we
abandon self-centered concerns and gain release from the endless cycle of change.
By following this path, a person will move toward nirvana, a state of perfect peace and harmony.

CYCLE OF LIFE Buddhism does not have a belief in a supreme being. The goal of life is nirvana.
Achievement of nirvana may take many lifetimes, and Buddhists accept the Hindu concepts of karma
and reincarnation. However, Buddhism was created in opposition to the Hindu caste system. As a
result, all people can achieve nirvana without moving up through the castes.

CULTURAL DIFFUSION Buddhism spread from India to China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
Peoples outside of India adapted Buddhist beliefs to fit their cultures. Today more than 300 million
people follow Buddhism, about 10 percent of whom live in India.
* The Buddha advised people to follow a “middle way”, one that avoided the extremes of too
much pleasure and too much self-denial.
* It was a challenge to some Hindu beliefs. It’s possible for a person to gain enlightenment in
one lifetime (as the Buddha had) and so escape Hinduism’s cycle of rebirth.

Cease to do evil;
Learn to do good;
Purify your own mind.
5.3 Confucianism
OVERVIEW
Throughout their long history, the Chinese adopted an ethnocentric world-view in which they
saw their culture as dominant. At times, they think of China as a civilization rather than as a nation
with distinct physical borders. Fundamental to this world-view was a highly structured society based
on traditional values that evolved over 3,000 years.
PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES
Various philosophies, or systems of thought, influenced the development of Chinese
civilization.

Kong Zi, Kung Fu Tsu, Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.), the Chinese philosopher and scholar
established his own school. Here he taught a system of thought that helped shape China’s history
and society.

Five Relationships of Confucius


1 2 3 4 5
ruler father husband elder
brother

friend friend

subject son wife younger


brother

The Analects 12:11 Chun-chun, chen-chen; fu-fu, tzu-tzu

PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS


1. Confucianism arranged Chinese society according to hierarchy, or arrangement of ranks. Four
of the five relationships cited by Confucius were between superiors and inferiors. Only in the
text of friend to friend did Confucius conceive of a relationship between equals.

2. To Confucius, the family was the most important aspect of society. The family taught the young
correct human behavior and loyalty. Three of the five Confucian relationships occurred within
the family.

3. Confucian society was patriarchal and patrilocal. Wives moved in with the husband’s family
and become part of it. Of the five relationships, the only role assigned to women was that of
wife. Sister to sister or mother to child were not included among the primary relationships of
society.

4. Confucius lived in a time of political upheaval. As a result, he placed special emphasis on the
ruler-to-subject relationship. He envisioned a perfect society in which capable ministers
served good rulers. Confucius drew many of his followers from China’s educated class of
administrators, who spread the influence of his teachings.

* Confucianism is a social philosophy, which strongly emphasizes the individual’s place in society.
Kong Zi was interested in reforming social life, to rid government of its repressive tendencies.
Metaphysical questions were viewed as distractions. Talk of gods and demons, heavens and hells,
leaves man and society as unredeemed as before. Therefore, they do not claim the attention of
intelligent human beings.

* The prime interest of Confucianism remained in the political and social. It was maintained that bad
social institutions are main corrupters of mankind, and his main salvation will be better institutions.

SYSTEM OF ETHICS Confucianism was not a religion. Confucius acknowledged “heaven’s will,”
but confined his teachings to questions of ethics and morality.

He took an optimistic view of human nature. He thought the outward use of li, or ritual, would
produce an inner harmony and perfect human character. Confucius supported moral education and
taught anyone regardless of their finances. Kong Zi taught the importance of moral perfection called
chin shan for the individual and of social order called li for the group. He stressed human society,
rather than the individual, and emphasized the social important of correct behavior.
The way to attain virtues is through natural means: (1) being true to one’s nature (Chung), and
(2) applying those principles in relationship with others (shu). The objective is central harmony.
Confucianism is founded on the experience of the all-embracing harmony between and nature and
highly conservative.

CONFUCIANISM AND GOVERNMENT By the T’ang Dynasty (C.E. 618-907), Confucianism


dominated political life in China. Confucian teachings became the basis of a civil service examination
used to recruit able administrators. While any person could take the examination, the necessity of an
education limited it to those who could afford schooling. The system provided the emperor with a
trained core of administrators schooled in Confucian ideas.

* A superior was expected to set a good example of good moral behavior. Evil rulers were
responsible for the evil actions of their officials and subjects. Similarly, a father was responsible for
his children’s good or bad behavior.

* Confucian Virtues: Possessing inner qualities: integrity, loyalty, and generosity; good
manners, culture, and politeness.

* Man is the ruler and master of the universe and man’s duty is to see to it that nature must
serve human ends. There is, therefore, a program of life and social order.

* Its main contributions to philosophy are: (a) doctrine of the mean – moral virtue lies in the
middle, (b) natural law – every person is to have: justice (yi), humanity (jen), wisdom (ten), and
propriety (li) and (c) the golden rule.

“Do unto others what you want others do unto you.”

5.4 Taoism
Taoism is founded on the dynamic force in the universe, which gives order, life, and meaning
to the totality of reality. It shared with Confucianism that Chinese vision of man’s harmony with nature.
However, it viewed man as essentially passive called upon to harmonize himself with natural rhythms
of things. It teaches man’s passive role in the universe.
Taoism emphasized self-knowledge and contemplation. While Confucian stressed social
conformity, Taoism stressed personal freedom. It taught people to ponder the Tao, or source of life,
so that they could find harmony with nature and the universe.
This is a philosophical system which strongly emphasizes man’s place in nature. In contrast to
Confucianism, it is not concerned with society, except as something to move away from.

Lao Zi (566-470 B.C.E.?) taught that the Tao is most fully revealed in tranquility neither through
action nor righteous action. Virtue is attained by quiet submission to the power of the Tao. The Tao
cannot be defined.
Taoism envisioned nature as a marriage of opposites, symbolized by the yin-yang, or female-male
aspects of life. Taoist teachers saw no conflict with a person practicing Confucianism (conformity)
within the family and Taoism (personal freedom) in private meditation. A balance between the two
was sought.

* Ponder on the way of the universe and live in harmony with nature.

* The Tao could not really be explained in words. It had to be sensed or felt.

* Symbols of the Tao: raw silk, an un-carved wood, and a newborn child. All of these are in the
natural state, unchanged by society.

Zhuang Zi (369-286 B.C.E.) View of the Social Man. Humankind is viewed as largely composed of
two types: one is the ordinary mass of people; and the other, the Perfect Man. The masses are the
concrete manifestation of humanity. The Perfect Man is its ideal form. Zhuang Zi views the person
who has managed to return to the state of being his True Self as the Perfect Man.
The masses of ordinary humanity are the result of the differentiation of the Tao. This refers to
the original substance of all things in the universe. They are composed of a body and a mind. The
body is made of physical elements. The mind is made up of Virtue. Virtue here means the
characteristic power and energy that animate and motivate it at its most basic level, and the spirit, or
nous. The mind of the ordinary person being shackled to the physical has been imprisoned in the
physical and suffers anguish until it reaches death. Such kind of person is a tragic personality who is
unaware of his status and is unable to release himself from the bonds of delusion.

The social man is a microcosm, a miniaturized version of the universe that contains all the
elements necessary to make up Heaven and Earth. The body is made up of all the physical elements.
The mind is composed of human nature, the spirit, and virtue. Its environment and the classes of
people around itself limit the human. Mans’ anguish is caused by unfulfilled desires. Therefore, desire
causes man’s sinfulness. Each person thinks, acts, and behaves as if his own mind were the
standard. The reality of human and social existence is characterized by limitations given by the
environment, dependency on external objects and events and anguish.

There are four limits of human existence according to Zhuang Zi.

1. Man’s insignificant size. Man has finite life in an infinite universe. Man lives in an extremely
small space. He points out that compared to the universe, the four seas are but the size of a
pebble; compared to the four seas, China is but an anthill and the people of China are but a
tiny part of that;

2. Bondage. Man is shackled by all manner of natural, social, psychological conditions. Putting
aside the natural conditions, he comes up against all kinds of hindrances on a social level.
Some examples are government organizations, institutions, doctrines, regulations, customs
and prejudice.

3. Besides these external factors that bind man, there are also some internal ones like emotions
involving fame and fortune, joy, anger, sadness, and pleasure as well as values arrived at
arbitrarily;

4. Death. According to Zhuang Zi, a human life comes into existence amidst the constant
uncountable changes of the universe when the forces of yin and yang come together in just
the right way. But that life flickers out after only a brief manifestation when the breath that
animated it dissipates. In fact, every breath that man makes brings him closer to his grave.
Zhuang Zi compared the brevity of human life to “a white colt passing a crevice.”

5. Delusion. The human being finds himself bewildered and unable to save himself from falling
into delusion.