Confucianism has many social and political components. This section will discuss some of the main tenets of the ideology from the individual’s perspective. Then, the individual’s perspective will be related to the entire society. The study of an individual’s ego was central to Confucius and his strong belief that the ego is at the heart of many issues for the individual and society as a whole. In this section, we will examine some of the core tenets of Confucianism based on theory and practice over time. This will not be an exhausting exploration of all aspects of the ideology but will bring to the forefront some of the most significant aspects of Confucianism and how it relates to a society and its economy.
A clear sense of the golden rule can be gained from the following dialogue. Tzu-kung asked, “Is there one word which can serve as the guiding principle for conduct throughout one’s life?” Confucius said, “It is the word ‘altruism’ (shu). Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” (Analects 15.23) This is similar to the main tenets of other religions, but Confucius was primarily concerned with the relationship between the individual’s actions and society. Confucianism, like many other ideologies, has had different variants and influences. There have been many contributors to the main ideology, and it has had many manifestations.
Like other ideologies, Confucianism believes that the core to change is human nature. But unlike other ideologies, Confucianism lingers longer on the core values of human nature. The individual good is strongly related to the collective good. Here, Confucianism can be seen as a set of religious doctrines that encourage the individual to become better not only for himself/herself but for the greater community.