Hsun Tzu Essay

1220 Words Nov 4th, 2005 5 Pages
Wendy Swartz The Nature of Evil

Hsun Tzu's philosophy is built from the idea that human beings are by nature inherently evil, and the good they produce will only come through their conscious activity. Hsun Tzu believes that if man follows his nature and indulges in his natural desires, without transforming himself by conscious activity he is doomed to fall victim to his evil nature. "Any man who follows his nature will inevitably become involved in wrangling and strife, will violate the forms and rules of society, and will end as a criminal." Despite the pessimistic tone of Hsun Tzu's message he does propose conscious activity as a solution to man's evil. This paper will examine Hsun Tzu's perspective in light of both Mencius
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Also, Lao Tzu advised people to "give up learnedness" (Lao Tzu, 19), but Hsun Tzu said that "learning should never cease" (15). Hsun Tzu frowned on the "naïveté of the child" (159), saying that humans require learning to move beyond such naïveté. At the heart of their disagreement, Lao Tzu and Hsun Tzu seems to each have a different picture of what learning means. Lao Tzu favored experience over learning, but Hsun Tzu didn't make much of a distinction between the two, as he often framed the idea of learning in terms of experience: "If you do not climb a high mountain, you will not comprehend the highness of the heavens" (15). However, beyond the contrast in their beliefs there is a common ground to be found between Lao Tzu and Hsun Tzu. Following in line with the teachings from Lao Tzu, Hsun Tzu says, "one who truly understands how to use force does not rely upon force" (40). Hsun Tzu also said that the heavens fulfill Lao Tzu's picture of ideal action through inaction: "to bring to completion without acting, to obtain without seeking – this is the work of heaven" (80). One immediate practical issue with the teachings of Hsun Tzu is that he idealizes perfection of the self, although perfection is unrealistic. He could easily entice an idealistic thinker with his picture of absolute perfection: "when he has reached this stage, he cannot be subverted by power or love of profit… he cannot be moved by

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