Regardless of birth, can a person’s moralcharacter be shaped or changed?
Zhou Dynasty collapses• A loss of centralized control• the empire breaks up into several different states, each at war with the others. • Hence the name “Warring States Period.”• Lots of turmoil, death and uncertainty
People start to questfor stability and reasons why?• Why is life so difﬁcult?• Why must I suffer?• How can this situation get better?
Three solutions emerge• Confucianism• Daoism• Legalism
First is ConfucianismWe’ll pause here to watch a little of his biography. He’s an odd duck...
What’s he all about?• Ethics and politics the key to “the Way” • avoided both religion and metaphysics• Become a junzi “superior man/gentleman” • They are the best leaders of men• Emphasis on Zhou Dynasty texts • the Classics; the core of Chinese teaching
Confucianism has 5 virtues• ren-humanity/benevolence all are born with this• li-rituals/propriety imposed/external to bring out Ren• yi-Honesty/righteousness instinctive, but needs teaching• xin-faithfulness/trust ditto• zhi-wisdom can be developed, but ﬁnite amounts in people• some add a 6th: xiao-ﬁlial piety
Confucianism has 5 relationships• father-son• husband-wife• elder brother-younger brother• king-minister• friend-friend• All are dominant-subordinat, except the last
Confucius• Itinerant scholar, scold, teacher, OCD-er • Never wrote anything down • Never held a “real” job advising a king• Had many followers• Died believing himself a failure
Mencius• Follows Confucius, but not his actual student• Fleshes out the skeleton left by Confucius’ students• Believes in the inherent goodness of people--focus is on benevolence/ren. • He is an optimist, and is ignored in his lifetime
Xun Zi• The last of the Classical Confucians• A pessimist: people need limits and structure--warped lumber • some are born good, but they are the minority • Regardless, all need education • Focus is on Li (rituals) and discipline• Was a government ofﬁcial
Daoism• also written “Taoism”• Founded by a man named Lao Zi/Tzu • semi-mythical• Is a response to Confucianism
The way to ﬁnd the Way• I can’t tell you. It’s my Way, not your Way. You have to ﬁnd your own Way.
1. The WayThe way that can be spoken ofIs not the constant way;The name that can be namedIs not the constant name.The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets;But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.These two are the sameBut diverge in name as they issue forth.Being the same they are called mysteries,Mystery upon mystery -The gateway of the manifold secrets.
No, seriously, how?• By being like the un-carved block of wood• By acting without expending effort.
Legalism• More conservative than Xun Zi• People are all bad, self-interested and need to be controlled through punishment and reward. • Mostly strict punishment • Collective responsibility
Legalism• Shang Yang (390-338 BCE), The Book of the Lord Shang first gets the ball rolling: his advice for his son.• Then Han Feizi writes his book (named for him) that gives it a more formal setting (what you read last night) • Han Feizi is forced to commit suicide by his former partner Li Si, the chief advisor to the first Qin Emperor
Legalism continued• Mostly meant as a guide for rulers• How to get and keep power.• No thought to people’s self-improvement, just about how to control them. • They can’t be improved, only ruled.
Theme 3• Politically, China organized itself as Dynasties of emperors.• Xia, Shang and Zhou were the Dynasties of the Foundational Era.• In the classical era, we have the Qin and the Han Dynasties.
Resistance is futile!• Emperor orders execution of all critics• Orders the burning of all books but those relating to agriculture• creatively kills Confucian scholars• Other scholars exiled• Results in massive cultural losses
Standardization is the name of the game• Emperor orders the following items be standardized in the empire: • axle length of carts • coins • written language • weights and measures • laws
Massive public works projects• Starting with his tomb.• 700,000 conscripted peasant workers.• slaves, concubines, horses all sacriﬁced when he died and buried with him.• unearthed in 1974 by a farmer.
Qin dynasty collapses• QSHD dies. His son rules for a brief period of time before he is killed.• Chaos ensues, and a general, Liu Bang, takes power.• He was a peasant by birth, so he takes the name of the river in his town as his Dynastic name: Han
Han Dynasty• Early policies: • “relax but not too much” • created large landholdings (almost states) • an early rebellion attempt makes them build up the central administration.
Han Centralization• Han Wudi, the martial emperor, comes to power (141-87 BCE)• increases taxes to fund more public works• and the military• huge demand for administrators, but there aren’t any to be found
Time for school• HWD establishes the imperial university in 124 BCE• Confucianism adopted as the formal teaching method/approach• 3000 students, grows to 30,000 students by the end of the Han Dynasty.
Clobberin’ time!• Time to expand the empire to get a bigger tax base• Invades modern Vietnam and Korea• Deals with Xiongnu, nomads to the west • brutal leader Maodun • skilled horsemen • HWD takes a new approach and goes to war and is a beast.
Theme 5• China becomes more patriarchal. (yes, that is possible...)• Classic of Filial piety written and propagated limiting the focus of ﬁlial piety to fathers.• Admonitions of Virtue published, extolling female virtues • humility, obedience, subservience, loyalty • but at least they were allowed to read...
Theme 1• Technological innovations take root.• Iron is widespread and plentiful • no longer used only as a tip of a tool or weapon, but whole implements made• The compass is invented and comes into wide use.
Paper is made fromwood pulp/textile.Up until now, books made on bamboo strips tiedtogether with strips of cloth...
Population growth• Population triples to 60 million over the course of the Han Dynasty. • Increased agricultural productivity • Taxes small part of overall income • Produce occasionally spoiling in state granaries
Problems arise in Themes 4 and 3• those Xiongnu are expensive to ﬁght• taxes increase and peasants can’t pay• Land conﬁscations increase • slavery, tenant farming increase • banditry and rebellion rise
Break point 9CE-23CE• 2 year old emperor. Regent, Wang Mang takes power--kills emperor and declares himself Emperor.• Instituted massive land reforms • redistributes land to try and solve inequities. Fails spectacularly • Wang Mang killed and eaten by his troops
Post 23CE• Later Han Dynasty: cousin comes to the throne and begins to re-assert power• Has problems: constant rebellions • Yellow Turban uprising • internal court intrigues• 220CE Han Dynasty ﬁnally collapses• 400 years of 3 large kingdoms