Throughout the world many philosophies have been created in order to better understand the world which we live in. These philosophies are all very interesting, but all are very different. Philosophies change not only through geography, but people from the same family may have very different philosophies. The Chinese have always been admired for their diverse philosophies. Three of the main philosophies of China are Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism.
Confucius was a great philosopher who came from humble beginnings, but would later change the world with his ground breaking ideas and philosophies. Confucius believed that social and harmony could be achieved by focusing on five basic relationships: ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, older brother and younger brother, friend and friend. A certain code of conduct regulated each relationship. Confucius pressed the youth to practice filial piety. Confucius’ beliefs are the basis of an ethical system called Confucianism.
Another well known philosophy is that of a man named Laozi. Laozi believed that all things are guided by a mystical force called the Dao, or “The Way.” Daoism teaches that one must follow the Dao. One must let everything happen naturally, for all is inevitable. Daoism is represented by three main beliefs: Yin and Yang, Wu Wei, and The Three Jewels. Yin and Yang represent the negative and positive principles of the universe. One cannot exist without the other. “There is no good without evil.” Wu Wei is doing all things so it seems effortless. This is much like following the natural flow of nature, or following the Dao. The Three Jewels are three characteristics that Taoists cherish: compassion, which leads to courage; moderation; which leads to generosity; and humility, which leads to leadership.
On the contrary, Legalists believe that an efficient and powerful government is the key to order. Rewards should be given to hard workers, and disobedient peoples should be harshly punished. In Legalism, the law is the governing power, not the ruler. This system helped China to become unified and stay unified over a long period of time, even through terrible rulers. Though Legalism may not be the friendliest of ethical systems, it has proved to succeed where others have failed, by finally unifying China.
So it is easy to see the differences in philosophies of the Chinese. Strengthen your relationships, follow the natural way, or stick to the law, these thoughts are the creations of ancient China’s greatest thinkers, greatest philosophers, greatest “lovers of wisdom.” They differ in ideas, focuses, and teachings.