An introduction to Confucius, his ideas and their lasting relevance

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle in specialist publication

Abstract

Widely credited for creating the system of thought we now call Confucianism, Confucius looked nothing like the great sage in his own time as he is widely known in ours. To his contemporaries, he was perhaps foremost an unemployed political adviser who wandered around different fiefdoms for some years, attempting to sell his political ideas to different rulers — but never able to strike a deal. Confucius wanted to restore good political order by persuading rulers to reestablish moral standards, exemplify appropriate social relations, perform time-honoured rituals and provide social welfare. To Confucius, the appropriate relations between family members are not merely metaphors for ideal political orders, but the basic fabrics of a harmonious society. Modern China has a complicated relationship with Confucius and his ideas. The danger today is in Confucianism being considered the single reason behind China’s success or failure.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2021

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