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Xunzi And Mencius Analysis

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When analyzing ideals of Confucius and his followers, one might think of the relationship between a ruler and their subjects to be of the upmost importance. However, when we analyze Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi we see that familial relationships are more crucial to a successful society. The relationship between parents and their children is the most important aspect of building a state, and must be done so properly. Once a proper familial relationship is reached, it paves the road for the relationship between ruler and ruled. This is important because improper relations between ruler and ruled lead to a weak state. In their various texts, Mencius, Confucius, and Xunzi emphasize the importance of familial relationships in the state building …show more content…
In the eyes of the Confucian thinkers, the main focus of building a prosperous state should be a positive relationship between ruler and ruled. Mencius says this quite clearly when he states, “When one uses force to make people submit, they do not submit in their hearts but only because their strength is insufficient. When one uses virtue to make people submit, they are pleased to the depths of their hearts and they sincerely submit” (Mencius 2A3). This shows that a ruler should not rule by force, but instead through virtuous traits. Traits such as honesty, respect, and caring are virtuous traits that a ruler should strive to achieve if they desire to gain a positive relationship with their people. These virtuous traits, however, are not gifted to humans at birth. Xunzi believes that virtue comes slowly, over time when he explains, “Pile up Earth to make a mountain and wind and rain will rise up from it…Pile up good deeds to create virtue” (Xunzi 18). Xunzi here explains that virtue is not an inherent trait that humans are born with, but instead must be obtained through teaching or experience. This teaching and experience comes from one main source, that being family. Family acts as a miniature version of the state. The elders are the rulers and the children are those being ruled. In this sense, familial relationships are the training grounds for societal relationships. This is why they are so crucial to the development of a proper state. If familial relationships are weak, or families are practicing vicious habits, this will translate to society. Instead, families should behave as described earlier, with virtue. By doing this one learns how to respect their rulers, therefore forming a successful

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