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In addition to honoring elders, the path to virtue is found through restraint. This means that the individual must not indulge for personal satisfaction in order to stay on the path that will bring him/her to higher levels of achievement. When the individual behaves in a manner that expresses his/her position on the path as he/she is following the Way, the development of the community is achieved through right and moral good which in turn contributes to social betterment. Finding the Way is the path to finding virtue. The term virtue refers to moral worthiness, specifically and is referring to the power within the individual to act along the path. As Kong and Slingerland suggest, during the Shang period virtue was about the personal power within someone. This referred to charisma and the way in which the individual attracted people to them so that they would follow (242). This does not always mean that someone is good, however. A good example is that of Fidel Castro. One of the comments made by Barbara Walters when she had interviewed him was that she was wildly attracted to him and sexually compelled by his personal power (Ratcliff 130). In some interpretations of the Shang period of virtue, this would make Fidel Castro virtuous. The mark of this power was envisioned as a part of the divine right that was given to a leader as a blessing. The intention was to make the ruler seem that they were not to be questioned. The ruling position was deserved. The Zhou shifted this to mean that the observance of ritual was recognized by Heaven through which a ruler was then given divine blessing. What Confucius did was then place this not only within the power of the ruler, but into the power of the individual. This can almost be seen as the action that Martin Luther took when he opened up the path to God through the individual with the intervention of the priests no longer necessary. The sense of Heaven could be felt through the Way, and the way was accessible by the individual (Kong and Slingerland 242). Dao is a reference to the Way. The Way refers to a path, which Confucius defines as a literal way of doing things in order to meet certain expectations of what it means to be a good and wholesome person. The Way is distinctly defined by a means to morality, the path through which the individual must go in order to move towards living a moral life. Kong and Songerland write that “this Way is manifested in the ritual practices, music and literature passed down from the Golden Age of the Western Zhou” (243). This means that culture is highly important in fulfilling the path of the Way. Culture is of high importance to the practice of morality. In passage 1.6, the “Master said, ‘A young person should be filial when at home and respectful of his elders when in public. Conscientious and trustworthy, he should display a general care for the masses, but feel a particular affection for those who are Good. If he has any strength left over after manifesting theses virtues in practice, let him devote it to learning the cultural arts” (Kong and Slingerland 3). This task is both difficult and easy, the mandate depending on the nature of the individual and their position within the world. The individual who is inclined to have respect for their elders and is consistent in showing respect for the people in his or her environment and who has a desire to seek the learning about the cultural arts can accomplish this goal. The ...Show more
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Client’s Name Class Date Virtue: Ideals and Realities The idea of virtue has been of constant discussion by those who create philosophical discourse. Virtue is defined by Kong and Slingerland as a right of the ruling class. Embracing the conception of the so-called Way was a means to virtue…
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