|Type of paper:||Essay|
In the modern times, leading a better life is attributed to owning properties, for example, a lot of money, large tracts of land, cars, houses, business empires which is also a symbol of class and status in society. According to religious teachings, good life entails good art, showing love to others, helping the less fortunate, piece of mind and brotherly love. Different religions teach the true meaning of leading a good life and one's role in life. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome between 161 to 180 C.E. Confucius; on the other hand, was an instructor from China who introduced the idea of good morals in society and social interaction. This paper therefore compares and contrasts the views of "the good life" as suggested by Marcus Aurelius and Confucius.
"The Good Life" by Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius was one of the bravest emperors in Rome. Rome was the largest emperor at that time. Marcus Aurelius was nominated to the priesthood by his uncle known as Hadrian in 129 B.C. He focused on literature but emphasizing meditation and the meaning of useful life. According to Marcus, he advises people to become good men but not to get a real understanding of who is a good man? How does a good man look like?
As stated by Marcus Aurelius, there is a reason why everything happens in life. However, Marcus Aurelius definition of the good life is that there is no disturbance is permitted between people as a way of preventing conflict among people. As maintained by Marcus Aurelius, social interactions possess the ability to influence the culture of people residing in a given community. At the community level, good life comprises living in peace and unity with one another.
Aurelius further argues that human beings should be independent and that they should not exercise care for anything that is considered above his present conditions and well-being. Self-sacrificing is an important attribute which all human beings should strive hard to achieve. The soul forms a critical component of the human beings body; therefore, they should ensure that their personality and spirit remain unblemished because this is what defines who the person is.
As stated by Marcus Aurelius, a person ought not to engage in conversations of gossiping other people mostly their masters. If a person considers justice denied then dialogue is the best by approaching the individual and make him know your grievances. Happiness is an attribute of the good life, and every person should work hard to create happiness to himself and also other people
Marcus Aurelius states that everything happens for a reason; as a result, it is the responsibility of each person to exercise decision-making skills that are reasonable concerning the events that occur in their daily lives. Excellent decision-making skills are a significant factor in differentiating human beings with animals. Moreover, common sense dictates that everybody should work hard on his own and not depending on other people for survival.
Life is considered to be good especially when a human being is at liberty to make individual choices without intimidation. Marcus Aurelius, furthermore, reveals how his father Antonius Pius interacted with people, his father was a brave leader who listened to his people's grievances without discriminating on them. Also, he always gave them an opportunity and a platform to say whatever they wanted. Marcus Aurelius's father was committed to ensuring that he does what is right for his contentment (Brummer, 2018).
In the opinion of Marcus Aurelius, a man who focuses on achieving his goals, fruitful life and showing love for his household is considered to be living a good and not a bad life. This means a person should live a life that is free from all events that can contribute to discrediting his or her soul. Consequently, Marcus Aurelius cautions one should give attention to people who engage in gossips. In the modern world there exist factors that give rise to enmity between families and neighbors or even sister and brother. Individuals who lead a life of enmity are considered to be having a good life.
"The Good Life" by Confucius
According to the teachings of Confucius, ethics are essential to society and the members of the society. As stated by Confucius, good life involves adhering to the ethical codes, being a good citizen, respecting all the laws of the country, having a job and being able to cater for the family needs. The primary emphasis was the role played by individuals in governance and politics, household and public life but not the state of mind of individuals or acquiring of wealth.
On the contrary, Confucius held different opinions on how people should treat their parents; thus; he argued that we should respect our parents and also take good care of them at their old age. Additionally, Confucius believed that we should mourn the death of our parents and exercise self-sacrificing to remember them after death. We should be close to our parents when they are still alive. The aspect of moral life starts at the family level; therefore, we should display attribute of caring to our mothers and fathers.
Similarities between Confucius and Aurelius Views of "The Good Life"
In comparison, Confucius and Aurelius share a common feature because of their mission of trying to discover the connection between human beings and the world. They want to introduce a common stand which emphasizes history's dominance over people and also different features of human beings and identity. According to Confucius, it is important to respect those in authority. Confucius advised his followers, "let a ruler be a ruler, the worker a worker, a father a father and a son a son."
In the opinion of Confucius, we need to appreciate individuals who have a long term experience than us in specific fields thus, qualifying to be superior. It is important to exercise patience and do what our seniors demand. More specifically, there is a difference between superiors and inferiors, and each has a role to play so respecting the superiors does not necessarily mean one is weak, but it is a signal of being humble to those in authority.
The modern world, culture recognizes innovation, and there is a lot of attention being given on creativity. Confucius believed that worldwide intelligence is derived from working hard and self-reflection. He introduced virtues such as knowledge, integrity, justice, compassion which acted as guidelines to an individual's life. For a person to live a good life, Confucius argues that the virtues must be observed and strictly adhered to. Throughout his life, he could follow the desires of his heart.
Most of the teachings of Confucius revolved around good morals. Similarly, his teaching on the golden rule is all about doing what is right to others as you may also expect good deeds to you. Many people viewed Confucius as an educator of ethical behavior and an inspiration who was admired. Interestingly, foundations in society are considered by the relationship of human nature (Cheok&Karunanayaka, 2017). The teaching of Confucius had impacted mainly the evolution of multiple cultures found in Asia resulting in Confucianism cultural heritage.
In comparison, Confucius and Aurelius encounter a similar problem which is related to the moral being of human agency and the past. This is portrayed in different aspects; for instance, the daily challenges in life are tedious and exhausting. About history, the life of a person is short and does not have meaning. A person experiences a conflict especially in his well-being and his past; as a result, his aspirations can be in constant struggle with what the world demands.
According to Aurelius, men cannot dictate about the occurrences of the past or even the future, but they can take charge by controlling the present. In the opinion of Marcus Aurelius, he tries to find and research the importance of present life. Aurelius claims that there is a connection between life and living; hence life is referred to as the period man lives in. Confucius, undoubtedly, knows that his tribulation will be unsuccessful since the world we live in is so corrupt to create free space for the victory of an individual purposive for righteousness.
In conclusion, Marcus Aurelius was raised in a royal family, interacted with different people and he learned lessons especially from interacting with the people he lived with. Aurelius meditation formed the literature which defined what it takes to live a good life by explaining a variety of attributes associated with a good life. According to Marcus Aurelius, everyone desires to establish close and good relationships with friends not forgetting that everybody should strive to commit what is right. On the other hand, Confucius definition of the good life was mainly strict adherence to ethical codes and good morals which were critical to an individual and the members of the society.
Brummer, S. (2018). Marcus Aurelius: Living philosophy and the business of governing an Empire (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University).
Cheok, A. D., Edirisinghe, C., &Karunanayaka, K. (2017). Confucius computer: a philosophical digital agent for intergenerational philosophical play. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 21(2), 327-343.
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