When Socrates meets Confucius
If you ask the question, in ancient China and western society, which great thinker and philosopher enjoyed unprecedented status in influencing people’s ideas?
When I heard this question, two great names flashed in my mind. One is Confucius in China and the other is Socrates in ancient Greek. As we know, Confucius is considered as one of the greatest ancient Chinese sages, and Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who was regarded as a saint dying for the pursuit of the truth.
Two thousand years ago in the west and east, they both devoted their all passion and heart to the great artistic practice of philosophy. Socrates was keen on thinking, sometimes he even thought silently for a day and a night. At the same time, Confucius went through hardships and lobbied seven countries for 14 years in order to realize his politics idea. He never gave up in his lifetime.
They both engaged in the practice of searching for truth with extraordinary perseverance and courage. They regarded themselves as works of art and tried their best to shape unique and perfect themselves.
Imagine, when Socrates meets Confucius, what sparks will they collide out?
Socrates and Confucius both used the dialogue as a main way to study the philosophy,so when they meet each other,many interesting and great dialogues can be made by them.For example,one day they meet each other, Socrates would like to ask firstly:’Hello,friend,what is virtue?’ Confucius answered:’Loving and respecting
others and understanding how to be self-restraint.If a person can meet these standards,we can call him gentleman.’ Socrates may said:’Wow,that is impressive.But
maybe you just explained some manifestations of virtue. This is not what I want to
ask, what I want to ask is virtue itself, a common nature that can be defined as
virtue.’ Confucius then answered:’ Thought-provoking.Well,it is hard to define the
essence clearly. I perfer to this adive.You can just perform yourself in words and deeds to manifesting and examining your thoughts and ideas.Practice may be the best teacher.’Socrates replied:’Good advice!And you can cultivate yourself through
the process of questioning and confirming universal concept.Thinking can be a greatest leader.’
From their communication, through their thoughts are different in many ways,they can really enjoy the collision of thought just like two masters match each other.They can both benifit a lot from each other.They just embody two dimension of thought. Socrates is more like a thinker, he questioned on everything and thought deeply on them in order to deny errors and pursue truth; Confucius is more likely a strong supporter of pratice. He is a good learner, practitioner and a gentleman who understands and carries out self-restraint. Socrates is a questioner and spiritual midwife who is brave in exposing his own and others’ ignorance; wheras Confucius is
a learned answerer and teacher of performance art. And because of the same spirit in dying for the pursuit of idea and perfect,they would have mutual appreciation and respect for each other and become good friend. What’s more,the word culture will
be further integrated.Also,China’s feudal culture bond won’t continue for so long.Last
but not least ,the cultrual conficts will be reduced and the world will be more peaceful and wondeful.
As for us, the differences in their thoughts lead us to think and study; their common spirits of pursuing beauty and love tirelessly impress and encourage us. In the sky of human culture’s history, they like two bright stars, shining the light of wisdom and love to us.