Confucianism vs. Taoism

Confucianismvs. Taoism

Confucianismis a Chinese philosophical and ethical system that believes thatpeople should set good examples for other people to follow.Therefore, Confucianism considers a leader-follower relationship whenevaluating the society (Smith 157). The philosophy explores thefollowing wife and husband, father and son, ruler and subject, wifeand husband and friend and friend. On the other hand, Taoismconsiders life as a harmonious living which seeks to fulfill theconcept of yin and yang. Yin and Yang perceive the interrelationshipof things and facts of life where the whole is not complete withoutthe other. These philosophies are Chinese in origin and all respectsthe human life, human existence and respect for the authority. Whilethey have similarities as Chinese philosophies, they have fundamentaldifferences.

Inthe view of the role of nature, Confucianism takes a different viewfrom Taoism. According to Confucianism, sees nature as themaintenance of the natural order by people knowing their place (Smith158). This means that nature exists when everything that exists in itkeeps to its place and plays the role well. On the other hand, Taoismviews nature as the interrelationship of different things to create abalance. This is the balance that attains the naturalness. Thenaturalness is achieved when people follow the way, which is referredto as Tao by the philosophy. Based on the yin yang concept, theTaoists believe that nature exists through the maintenance of thebalance.

Ontheir view of human nature, the two philosophies differ. Confucianismstrongly recommends that humans should respect and follow those whoare superior to them. Through the leader-follower principle of thephilosophy, Confucianism takes the success of human beings as anelement anchored on the followership to the superiors (Smith 158).The aim of the philosophy is therefore to maintain the socialstructure (Smith 89). On the other hand, Taoism recommends that humanbeings should follow the way things should be done, other thansuperiors. In this regard, the meaning of life is explored byfollowing the way, and not the superiors (Smith 196). According tothe Taoists, the aim of the philosophy is to help people alignthemselves with the nature by following the way, the Tao.

Inregard to self cultivation, Confucianism holds that being altruisticis the nature of being oneself and discovering oneself throughothers, by serving others, a person realizes his human being.According to Confucians, self cultivation is achieved when onefollows the altruistic nature of follow the superiors and expressingoneself to other people (Smith 159). On the other hand, Taoismconsiders self cultivation as an element of spirituality that makesindividuals align themselves to cosmic forces. Self cultivationinvolves taking spiritual discoveries where one improves his or herhealth and life towards the continued existence (Smith 197). Theconsistent aim of self-cultivation is aimed at achieving longevityand long life towards immortality.

Confucianismand Taoism are Chinese philosophies that impact on how people and thesociety should live and align with life. While the two philosophieshave similar origins, they have fundamental differences. Thedifferences are based on the way they view life and other aspects ofexistence. While Confucianism aims at maintaining the structures inthe society, Taoism focuses on the alignment of humanity with nature.It is the structure view that makes Confucianism focus on theleader-follower concept and people following their superiors.However, it is the balance view that Taoism focuses on integratingeverything in life towards a natural balance and harmonious living.


Smith,Huston.The World`s Religions 50thAnniversary Edition. HarperOne 50Anv edition,