Some of the oldest philosophical ideas can be traced back to Asia, thousands of years ago. Lifestyle and how you are supposed to fit in society are key parts to these philosophies. Asia is home to one of the largest and oldest cultures on Earth, so there is no surprise that their beliefs are the ones we look back at and study. Taoism and Confucianism are just two examples of old Asian philosophy. They contain similarities as well as many differences.
Taoism was started at least 2,500 years ago in China. Lao-Tzu, the founder, was a man trying to find peace in a rough time period. Tao, or dao, is what is called “the way”. This is the founder of everything that exists. A popular idea that has come from Taoism is the idea of Yin and Yang. The Yin and Yang contradict each other, but also have to work together. Yin and Yang are two forces in nature that work with and against each other to keep us in balance. In Taoism, all people are told to “go with the flow”. You do not make plans for your future, and what you expect to happen. As things happen, you make choices in the moment. Instead of planning to be kind to others in the future, do not plan it and wait to just do it. This philosophy has Sages, that work for the idea. They are here to guide us to better understanding of Taoism. The main part of their explanations is using contradicting statements to explain. As Taoism is not able to be limited by a definition, they believe all things should not be limited by a name. Names are just limits on the possibilities of what something can be. The realization that reversal and relative opposites happen helps people. Reversal happens whenever you expect something, because the opposite will happen. Relative opposites are opposites that don’t actually have distinctions. You can’t tell what is good or bad, because it depends on the view of the point. Your view can decide whether rain is helping your crop in the moment, or flooding your fields. Taoism as a whole, is about minimalism and not going out of your way to try.
Confucianism is an upgrade to Taoism. Instead of sitting back and waiting for things to happen, you take action. The first step to universal peace in Confucianism is starting with yourself. You have to become the happiest, kindest, and most humane person you can be. You need to fill your role in society. For example, the woman of a house stays home and keeps care of kids while the father of the house is out working and providing for his family. The role for a great male is to be a “superior man” instead of a “vulgar man”. You need to be providing for yourself, as well as providing for your family members to become a superior man. The vulgar man, however, is not dominant and is not able to support himself and others. This weak man also may only care for himself, and not about his family. Your character is a big part of what helps keep society going. You should treat petty people not as good as superior people, but not like they are completely nothing. You need to have some leniency. Confucianism doesn’t focus on keeping yourself good, but instead on keeping society going along. You doing your part, means that society will keep going along well. One of the key parts to Confucianism is the the Golden Mean. Mean, meaning the average or middle, is referring to a great middle ground between to opposite forces. This Golden Mean also requires you starting with yourself, and that will build up to your community, then city, nation, and world. An example of this would be instead of being depressed and causing the people around you to be depressed, you can be happy and have that rub off on the people around you. Confucianism has three key parts to their expected actions. Tao, te, and li are the principles. Tao has to do with how our government should be run and organized. Te I think is the most important, our capacity to act on tao through li events. An example of this could be knowing you should include the friends that usually don’t get invited, and then actually doing it. Confucianism is the more active of the two philosophies.
Taoism as compared to Confucianism, is not as good. Taoism I believe has a strength in the idea of Yao and Ying. We do need to realize there is a balance of good and bad. The weaknesses for it are the lack of action, and lack of planning. I am more of a plan and do your plans type of guy. Overall, Taoism is a weaker philosophy. Confucianism is more interactive and involved. The strengths are the idea of beginning with yourself, being part of a larger community, and the idea of a dominant and not dominant male figure. I like these ideas of being the best you, and then everything will fall into place. I honestly do not see any weaknesses of Confucianism. Overall, Confucianism is much better than Taoism.
Both philosophies bring good ideas to the table. Ying versus Yang, a better you means a better universe, and the realization of a dominant and not dominant male are all great ideas. There are also some weaknesses in Taoism, like the lack of action. At the end of the day, these both work like a religion does. They give people a basis to live off of, and give them a “reason to live” in certain situations. The ideas behind Confucianism are much better than the ideas of Taoism in my opinion due to their more active approach, while both are acceptable ideas.