The Advent of Confucianism in Zhou China and the Socio-political forces that led to the Eventual Rise of Legalism as a Pragmatic Alternative But not as a Total Master of the Former
As many belief systems arose in China around the Yellow River before 1000 B.C.E., the teachings of the "Divine Sage," Confucius (Kong Fuzi) ca. 551-479 B.C.E took center stage to give Zhou China 1029-258 B.C.E. a humanistic philosophy that worked in harmony with nature and was structured to fit within the social, political, and cultural ethos of Chinese society. Competing schools of thought would gain strength-especially the pragmatic, authoritarian, and state centered teachings of Legalism during the Qin and early Han periods in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.E. Confucianism, in the course of Chinese history would, however, prove to be the most enduring.
In the midst of political and social decline during the Zhou Dynasty, Confucius rejected the often decadent aristocratic code and offered to rulers and their people alike an "ethical code"-centered upon individual moral conduct, unity among family and state, and government that would be led by a benevolent ruler.
Confucius' lifelong quest-a search that went unrewarded-was to become a entrusted advisor to a ruler who would be wise enough to learn how to use his power and skills to restore peace and order under the benevolent but firm, centralized control of his dynasty. While on this mission, the "Divine Sage" gathered numerous followers-some of whom (i.e. Mencius and HsunTzu) would later become influential advisors in future ruler's courts and would preserve and spread the teachings of their master. Ã¯Â¿Â½
Such diverse and profound teachings of Confucius were compiled in a work that would be know as the Analects-a collection, it is said, of all his profound knowledge and teachings on nearly all aspects...