Essay on Mohism and Mencius’ Thought

2195 Words 9 Pages
Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy
Instructor: Masayuki Sato
Mid-Term Paper

Question 1: Do you think which doctrine was really helpful for saving people from their destitute condition between Mohism and Mencius’ thought, and why?

When we put the two philosopher’s thoughts together, we can see one striking commonality. Both of them were against aggressive way and emphasized the importance of caring for the welfare of the state’s people. Ideologies that run in opposite directions also exist between the two thoughts. Eventually, it came down to how their teachings were carried out and their applicability to the lives of the lower class people, which determined which one of them, truly was the more helpful one.

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Even though the Warring States Period was dominated by such a school of thought, Mozi opposed it strongly. He suggested that a person’s success or failure, wealth of poverty, high or low status is not predetermined. People ought to adopt a positive attitude towards life and strife for the pursuit of wealth, social order and large population. The Mohism thought in this sense was a source of inspiration. When those in destitute no longer believed that it was their destiny to live under such harsh conditions, they could take action and try to step out of poverty and do something about their lives. This was as opposed to resigning to fate and not taking control of their lives.

Unfortunately for Mozi, the unification of China was a period of great prosperity for aristocrats. Mozi’s arguments that everyone should share equally and do away with extravagance did not go well with the rising groups, who naturally wished to protect their wealth. This is a possible factor in the state rulers supporting Mencius and Confucianism, but not Mohism. While Mencius argued for similar benevolence and the caring of the people’s welfare, Mozi’s focus on anti-rituals and anti-entertainment did not win him much patronage. It is interesting however, to note the regrettable fact that Mencius eventually grew disappointed at his inability to help establish an ideal government. It goes to show that even with lofty and beneficial philosophies, they

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