Taoism and Confucianism: unity and conflict of opposites?
Any cultural factor need to be considered within the system which generated it. Pulled out from socially - a historical context it is easy to understand a separate factor mistakenly. It is impossible to speak about Taoism out of a sociocultural context in which it arose. This context is Confucianism without which, perhaps, there would be no Taoism also.
The Taoism arose in 5 - 4 centuries BC and at first sight acted as “opponent“ of Confucianism dominating as ethical system. Postulates of these doctrines often look opposite (in this case the speech about philosophical Taoism as about socially - philosophical doctrine, but not about methods of psychophysical training and alchemical practice).
The main difference of Confucian and Taoist cultures - the attitude towards human nature from which also the “cast“ which developed between them in traditional Chinese culture follows. Both doctrines assumed need of changes with the purpose to approach “true essence of the person“. But what was put in this concept and in methods of updating of “true nature“?
Confucians considered as true essence of the person humanity (zhen), kind, truly human beginning. Self-improvement was understood as self-education, development in itself the “humane“ beginning (the carrier high morally - psychological qualities) and suppression in itself “wild“, “angry“. By the time of emergence of a doasizm Confucianism was the official doctrine, a basis of government institution. “The central figure“, Confucianism ideal - Jun - Zi - “the noble husband“, the carrier of Confucian consciousness. His virtues: self-control, justice, respect to seniors, social responsibility. Its purpose - public ministry; the personality in Confucian ethics submits to society.
The Confucian culture is elite, the main environment of its distribution - noble people (mainly, officials whose primary activity consists in government). From here the aspiration to ordering regulating and ritualizing all possible spheres of life. As well as in the psychological sphere, changes were reached due to restriction of undesirable factors, mainly through assimilation of standards of behavior, by control (external in the beginning, and then internal). The constant control over own mental sphere and preservation of constant self-control was considered as virtue of “the noble husband“. The most important method of work on self-improvement - the introspection urged to reveal the “abnormalities“ which are subject to eradication also corresponds to it.
On the other hand, of a daosa , equally condemning “wildness“, uncontrollability, susceptibility to passions, understood the space beginning initially inherent in each phenomenon embodying universal regularities, uniform for all nature, as true human essence. The prime target in Taoism - identification and limit updating of “the true beginning“ in the person and full to it submission, “merge“ to a uniform stream of the movement of the Universe.
Here initially there is no speech about morals, about the public benefit. The Taoism is focused on individual improvement. Moral growth comes naturally in process of a unification of the adherent from Dao, but is not spread from the outside. Means, and the behavior of Taos is held much less down by conditional norms. Their place is taken by norms the natural, coming with deep transformation persons - and therefore not perceived as restrictions. Thus, Taoism much more gumanistichen in comparison with Confucianism which is initially focused on education of the worthy member of society and maintenance of a public order.
Negatively estimating susceptibility to passions also, as well as Confucians, daosa were opponents of violent suppression of the undesirable parties of human nature. Instead of fight against itself in Taoist tradition cultivation practices in itself conditions of rest, dispassionateness - including dispassionatenesses from own passions. Giving to a consciousness stream an opportunity to flow in itself, “I“ take the observer`s position:
“Having reached an emptiness limit, observing rest and a pacification, looking at mutually generation real, I will behold only its continuous return“ (Dao - de a jing). also ways of perception of the world of a daosama and Confucians Differ with
. The thinking of the Confucian as necessary binarno is, dikhotomichno, based on knowledge of the phenomena through their contrast, on opposition of couples like “natural - cultural“, “rest - the movement“, “good - the evil“, “subject - object“ etc. And in human nature Confucians accurately divided and opposed “natural“ (passions) and “cultural“, urged to conquer these passions. Such approach, opening a way to analytical knowledge of the world, allowing to order a world picture, at the same time “breaks“ the world into oppositions, depriving of it integrity. At the same time everything, not keeping within this artificial model of the world, is distorted or ignored. Also Confucian education promoted the internal confrontation leading to the intra personal conflicts.
For Taoist attitude public rules and norms are perceived as: 1) violence over the personality; 2) convention, artificial education, already owing to this fact interfering manifestation of true essence of the person; 3) the factor strengthening an otdelennost of the person from the world.
The Taoist mirovideniye is complete, so-called “contradictions“ unite, appearing as the inseparable interacting poles whole, and this interaction is a source of the movement and development. The unification with Dao erases a side between object and subject, “I“ and “not - I“, the person and world around.
Adherents of Confucianism leaned mainly on a reflexive layer of consciousness, went to changes through introspection and self-checking. “The noble husband is exacting to himself, the low person is exacting to others“ . Whether conscious assimilation, self-education had to counterbalance the natural and cultural beginnings of the personality.
The main task Taoist the practician - to allow to be shown to the space beginning initially inherent in us, to allow it to work through us. For this purpose it is necessary to gain not so much new qualities how many to eliminate obstacles in the form of passions, egoistical experiences and other manifestations of ours “I“ “disturbing“ a natural stream of events. Attempts violently, strong-willed effort to overcome undesirable manifestations were considered as unacceptable.
It is possible to tell that Confucianism is a way of self-restriction when the undesirable parties of the personality simply are suppressed by conscious self-coercion (without indulgence to that, as it - too part us). Taoism the adherent does not assume fight against himself, here, staying at rest, tries not to prevent manifestation of space whole. However dispassionateness from a stream of own thoughts and feelings does not emasculate emotional life of Taos at all. On the contrary, non-interference “I“ give the chance to be shown more fully to specifics of each intra mental factor.
Confucian “self-restriction“ was shown also in a certain limitation of spheres of application of efforts. Seeking for establishment of a general order, to the maximum structure of individual and public life, Confucians ignored or excluded from the sphere of influence what did not give in to “okulturivaniye“. Jun - Zi concentrated generally on administrative activity and the elite parties of culture - for example, a calligraphy, “high“ genres of music, poetry, painting.
For daos in principle there was no division into “low“ and “high“ occupations - it was possible to be improved in any sphere. And distribution of Taoist culture was not limited to a social framework. At the same time “culturation on a Taoist sample“ was much deeper and fully Confucian with its support mainly on a reflexive layer of consciousness.
However obvious opposition of these traditions existed rather on a surface. In reality, in full accordance with Taoist attitude, both doctrines are inseparable poles of a uniform sociocultural phenomenon. Having arisen in the state where Confucianism occupied (and later kept) the leading positions, the Taoism was some kind of alternative - but at all “underground“ and not contradictory - culture. Their interaction leading to interpenetration equally enriched both traditions. The developed balance maintained viability of both currents, interfering both with stagnation of Confucianism, and transformation of Taoism into a kind of anarchy.