According to Confucius, what is required for "harmony" to exist?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Confucius, the main thing that is needed in order to have harmony is for everyone to act in the way that is proper to their status in life.

Confucius was very concerned with the idea that people should play the role that was allotted to them in life.  He believed that there was a set of relationships (things like parent to child, ruler to subject, older person to younger person) that defined who people were and who they should be.  Harmony would come about if people understood their role in their various relationships and acted accordingly.

This meant, for example, that rulers should act in ways appropriate to their status.  They should command those below them, but should also act benevolently towards them.  At the same time, subjects should act properly as well.  They should show obedience and loyalty to their rulers.

If everyone played the role proper to their status, society would experience harmony.

moustacio | Student

Confucius advocated for the creation of an ideal social order, which was based on five specific types of human relations: ruler-subject, father-son, elder brother-younger brother, husband-wife and friend- friend. Individuals had to obey the former to allow for the establishment of appropriate human relations and for “harmony” to be established. Self-realisation through the practice of moral virtues, such as filial piety, was encouraged and the idea of family and state homogeneity, which saw a lack of boundary between the private and public spheres, was promoted. People had to fulfill their obligations as their roles in society dictated for the state to function well and for “harmony” to be created.