Spiritual World of the Ancient East, Philosophy of...

Lecture 2. Spiritual World of the Ancient East

1. Philosophy of Ancient China

The history of Ancient China is divided into six periods:

1. Shan-Yin - HUSH-HP centuries. BC

2. Zhou - Western Zhou XI-VIII centuries. BC

3. Zhou - Eastern Zhou - Lego (separate kingdoms);

4. Zhou - Eastern Zhou - Zhangguo ("battling kingdoms") [Chou - the name of the ancient era and the ancient Chinese dynasties 1027 - 249 years. BC]

5. The Qin Empire, 221-206 BC

6. The Han Empire, the end of the 3rd c. BC. - II century.

The first two and partly the third of these six periods fall on the Bronze Age (the bronze age was historically formed at the end of the IV - beginning of the I millennium BC). The end of the third and fourth periods - at the beginning of the century of iron (the iron age - the period in the development of mankind, which came with the spread of iron metallurgy, replaced the bronze and falls in different regions of the world at the beginning of the II and I millennia BC). This historical time had a significant impact on the Chinese economy and, accordingly, on the social and spiritual development of the country.

The ancient Chinese state is a typical eastern hierarchy of despotism. The head of a separate state, a separate kingdom is a hereditary monarch, he is also the first priest and the only landowner. In China, there was no priesthood as a special social institution, and religious activities were carried out by heads of families, officials, kings, kings - wines. The whole earth was considered royal. The hierarchical ladder included the landed aristocracy, the heads of clans and large families. Slaves were outside the social ladder. The lower link - commoners - shuzhen, with which practically were not considered. Legal relations did not exist and no one was protected from the absolute power of any superior in rank, and the arbitrariness of the tree was spread to all.

The secular ritual of the relationship between the higher and lower on the social ladder people was closely related to the religious ritual of the attitude of the living to the dead, to the spirits of the ancestors, and also to the account of natural phenomena associated with terrestrial and celestial processes (in particular, the growth of grain, the flow of water, the burning of fire, celestial thunder).

In China, as nowhere, the cult of ancestors (manizm) was developed. The whole life of the living passed as a constant sacrifice to the deceased, at first even human sacrifices were made - prisoners of war, children -pervenes.

Social inequality manifested itself in the religious cult. The supreme sacrifice to the spirits of the earth and heaven had the right to bring only a van, he is also "the son of the sky" (tianji). The sky (tian) is the highest object of veneration in China, therefore the name Celestial in relation to China has not only a historical but also a philosophical explanation. The sky is the abode of the heavenly sovereign - Shandi. The Will of Heaven is the ultimate power that determines everything that is happening on earth.

Ancient China did not escape the period of domination of the mythological worldview. Relationships in the universe-human system by means of certain symbols were of a socio-anthropomorphic nature.

In support of this, the modern Chinese scholar Yuan Ke has collected many myths of Ancient China. Among them there are pre-philosophical ones that reflect at least two mythological positions:

- the first - the idea of ​​the world, its original state as primitive chaos and the two opposing cosmic forces ordering this chaos - heavenly (yang) and earthly (yin), creating from the light particles in the chaos - the sky, and from the heavy - the earth. The division of all things into two principles was in China almost the oldest principle of philosophical thinking;

- the second - the organization of the universe was associated with the activity of a certain superman named Pan-gu, originated inside the likeness of a giant egg, which was formed by the still unconnected sky and earth. Awakened in the primeval darkness after 18 thousand years of aging, Pan-gu splits this egg and the world comes into motion. Another 18 thousand years, Pang-gu, standing on the ground, supported the sky, so that it does not fall, growing daily for one zhang, until the distance between heaven and earth is finally established. After ceasing to grow, that is to live, Pan-gu dies, and from parts of his body arise: the sun - from the left eye, the moon - from the right, the four sides of the world - from the trunk with arms and legs, the rivers - from the blood, the roads - from the veins , the soil from the flesh, the constellations from the hair, the metals and stones from the teeth and bones, the wind and clouds from the sigh, the thunder from the voice. Of people who crawled along the body of the Pan-gu parasites, there were people, and the wind scattered them everywhere.

Ancient Chinese thought, before philosophy, is also directly associated with ancient books, partially surviving and, accordingly, brought to us the worldview of people of that time. - The so-called Pentateuch - U-ching & quot ;. They formed the basis of the worldview of every educated Chinese: 1) I-ching - Book of Changes & quot ;; 2) Shu-ching - History Book & quot ;; 3) Shi-ching - Book of verses & quot ;; 4) Li-ji - The Book of Rituals & quot ;; 5) Chun-chiu - Chronicle of Events .

Some of these books have been influenced by China's iconic school of ideology-Confucianism. Shi-ching and Shu-ching ( Book of Verses and History Book ) were corrected and supplemented by Confucius, and Chun-chiu ("The Chronicle of Events") was compiled by himself with the assistance of students.

In the book "Shu-ching it speaks of the five principles of the world - water, fire, wood, metal and earth (a certain worldview approach):

- the constant nature of water - to be wet and flow downwards

- fire - burn and rise upwards

- wood - to be bent and straightened;

- metal - subject to external influences and change;

- the essence of the earth is manifested in the fact that it takes a sowing and yields.

It is said about five phenomena of nature: rain, sunshine, heat, cold and wind.

The development of the oldest ideas about the two opposing and at the same time co-operating forces continues - yan and yin. At first it is the personification of light and darkness, heat and cold, perseverance and suppleness, male and female beginnings. Later this state qi - a kind of primitive matter. In the book "Tszo-zhuang named six states qi: yin, yang, wind, rain, darkness, light. Light, heavenly matter - Yangtsi earthly, heavy matter - yinqi.

Gradually, the most important idea for the ancient Chinese worldview is about dao (path, law), to which both nature and people obey. Tao is both a cosmic and a moral law.

There was also the concept li, as the beginning of the world: air, ether. Lee forms everything that exists. This was, perhaps, the primary philosophical view of the substantiality of the world.

Very serious significance in the worldview of the ancient Chinese people was attached to morality, behavior. Ancient Chinese morality is associated with such ideas as xiao - the veneration of the parents, di - honoring the elder brother, Whether - respect, ceremonial, ritual. All relations between the Chinese people have been subordinated to the ritual ("Chinese ceremonies"), having world-view significance. In the book "Zuo-zhuan" It was emphasized that the "ritual" is the foundations for the upper and lower classes, the basis of heaven and earth. He gives life to the people. "

Honoring parents meant the worship of ancestors, and the worship of the authorities - for the psychology of the ancient Chinese characteristic sense of unquestioning obedience to those who are below the rank of higher

. The veneration of the elder brother had a good reason, since it was the elder brother who was the only heir in the family, and this veneration prevented possible conflicts in the families, it also meant the veneration of the older ones in general.

Ancient Chinese philosophy included the germs of science: mathematics, astronomy, medicine. Already in the Shan-yin period, we were able to count up to 30,000. Observation of celestial phenomena allowed us to predict eclipses of the Moon and the Sun, to connect astronomical phenomena with the agricultural cycle, to create a calendar, to lead time.

However, in ancient China, science was poorly developed. In particular, the ancient Chinese mathematics was devoid of evidence, it never reached the level of deductive science, as it was at the same time in ancient Greece. This could not but affect the level of the ancient Chinese perception of the natural picture of the world and, accordingly, philosophical judgments about it. Logic, like the science of the Hellenes, was simply absent from the world view, the world-view of the ancient Chinese. In ancient China, there were no thinkers of the level of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and the corresponding philosophical schools. However, this is not a defect of ancient Chinese thought, but a statement of the objective fact of its evolution, but with features peculiar to Asian civilization that have amazed the world with a number of fundamental discoveries.

In general, analyzing the ancient Chinese pre-philosophical treatises, the representations, judgments and inferences concluded in them, one can outline the range of questions that worried these thinkers:

- how the world emerged and what it consists of;

- which is the primary basis of the world;

- the world is developing or at rest

- the place of man in the system of the world and its basic qualities;

- the ratio of the soul and body of a person;

- the problem of life, death and immortality of man;

- moral problems - what is evil and how to eradicate it, veneration of elders, respect for parents, unquestioning obedience to superiors.

Highlight specific features of ancient Chinese philosophy, associated with the characteristics of the culture of Chinese civilization:

- the philosophy of Ancient China is connected with mythology. Chinese myths are quite subtly connected with the natural-philosophical content of knowledge about the world through the natural-concept "is" and was & quot ;;

- the primary origin in China of the philosophical comprehension of one's being is connected with the role in the emerging socio-political struggle that was waged by the states of Ancient China from the period of Zhangguo (403-221 BC) - the period of the "Fighting Kingdoms" and before the Chunqiu period (722-481 BC) - the "Spring and Autumn" period.

Philosophers at this time in China were often ministers, ambassadors, various officials, that is, they occupied a high social position. Therefore, they were interested in issues of governance, the features of the relationship of various social groups, ethical and ritual subtleties; in philosophy, practically no natural-science material was used; in it there was no strict conceptual apparatus; in philosophical constructions, practicality predominated mainly: self-improvement of a person, problems of state management, and moral criteria served as the yardstick of activity.

The world in the views of the Chinese was presented as a whole organism. Nature is one, all its elements are interconnected and harmoniously support Equilibrium. A special place belongs to Heaven and his relationship with a person who is secondary. God - Shandy and Heaven stood side by side, but gradually Sky acquired a higher status and became the personifying regulating force (like the ancient Greeks - logos), reason, higher justice. Heaven gave the right to power to the earthly ruler. The main criterion of Heaven when choosing a ruler is the possession of the highest virtue. This heavenly givenness of goodness has been preserved in the centuries of the Chinese people with the moral status of worship to any elder. Today, the tradition of worshiping Heaven is also alive in China, which considers itself a heavenly abode of man.

However, considering the worldview of ancient Chinese as purely philosophical would not be entirely correct - it is mythological, partly religious, and unnatural. They are thinkers of their time and space.

The specificity of the Chinese world view is also linked:

- with the use in the practice of writing texts of a symbolic symbol - a hieroglyph and a hexagram. Each hexagram is an expression of a certain state of reality, a life situation. It is difficult to detect a spiritual impulse, individual impulsiveness;

- with the canonization of Confucianism, which in the person of Kun-tzu and his followers denoted his neutral attitude to the natural factor, creating a spiritual barrier between natural science and philosophy, which were only just beginning. Confucianism defined as its goal the moral education of man, the assimilation of a complex ritual of relations between people, based on their social status, with mandatory vertical submission, both religious and administrative, and family. Problems of peace and its essence in Confucianism were not raised.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)