The Ideal Person

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The Ideal Person Sabrina Freeman Rel. 133 Aug. 15, 2011 Mr. Batchelor

Confucius believed that every person is capable of being good, refined, and great. But unlike Daoism, he believed these qualities could not be achieved living in solitude. Confucius realized that in order to become a full person, you would have to make contributions to others by fulfilling obligations to them. More human interaction is detrimental to achieving personal excellence. Along with interaction with others, there were Five Great Relationships to guide one on how to interact with others. These virtues are Ren, Li, Shu, Xioa, and Wen. Ren is the first of the virtues. It stands for: to think of others. It can be more easily translated into kindness, consideration, or thoughtfulness for others. When you have this virtue, it will help you suppress your own selfish urges. The second virtue is Li. This is translated into “doing what is appropriate.” Li originally referred to carrying out rites correctly; knowing and using proper words and actions for social living. For every situation there is a proper way to act, talk, and to be. Sometimes to do these correctly, one would have to suppress their desires. The Analects have a saying which is “To subdue one’s self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue”. Li plainly means practicing good manners. Shu is the next virtue and is translated into reciprocity or “How will my actions affect others?” It is basically the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But Confucius’ version sounded more negative in comparison to this. It states “Do not do unto others what you would not wish done to yourself.” His version is called The Silver Rule due to the negative tone. The fourth virtue is Xiao. Its translation is “filial piety” or is better understood as honor thy father and mother.…...

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