Does the Analects provide practical advice for peace and inner-strength? Why or why not?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short answer to this question is "yes". The Analects of Confucious do attempt to present a clear and practical path to finding a personal balance within the social world, which will lead an individual to peace. 

The degree to which you are persuaded that the path presented by Confucious is resonant, insightful, useful, or practical in your own life-context will be up to you. 

One of the more remarkable aspects of Confucious' analects is the emphasis on order, tradition, and right behavior in particular social settings. While he is not presenting a view of ettiquette, but rather a view of moral behavior, it is Confucious implicit contention that a person will find spiritual peace by adhering to traditional modes of proper behavior. 

Of the central idea that is discernible in Confucian thought, the idea ofren is perhaps the greatest in importance. Ren is the foundation of Confucian ethics because ren stands for the ideal relationship among human beings.

Acting rightly will lead a person to feel, spiritually, right and therefore at peace. This is a social philosophy, insofar as it perceives the individual to be a social animal involved and enmeshed in a cultural milieu in such a way as to make this social context also an existential context. 

Achieving the aims of Confucian virtue, a person will be in balance with his existential nature, which is a social one.

In short, ren is the perfect virtue of human beings; it is the only road to the peace and harmony of a society.

The philosophy of Confucious may not satisfy individuals who believe that spiritual being is something more or other than social. The extent to which you are persuaded to think that the Analects of Confucious offers a path to peace will be determined at least in part by your stance on the nature of the (spiritual) human being.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial