Mencius’ Concept of Rulership

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Submitted By nghazavi
Words 2277
Pages 10
Mencius is one of the most famous philosophers in Chinese history. He lived at a time when wars and conflicts in China were very common. Different kingdoms waged war against each other for the expansion of their own territory. Rebellion was also common as the subjects made attempts to topple their abusive and cruel ruler. In view of the importance of managing states and winning wars for expanding the territory of rulers, heads of states consulted known philosophers and intellectuals like Mencius whose wisdom proved to be vital in their rule. This essay seeks to discuss Mencius’ concept of ruler-ship and what to the mind of Mencius constitutes the best and most effective ruler. Initially, Mencius separates society into two classes of people. He thought that there are individuals who labor with their minds and there are those individuals who labor with their body. He thought that those who labor with their mind should be leaders or rulers. This emphasizes the need for rulers to be strong in intellect. This also emphasizes the need for an ordered society which is ruled by individuals who are mentally fit. While this can be considered as somewhat elitist, Mencius told that this is essential in achieving an ordered society. However, having a strong intellect is not enough to become an effective ruler. Mencius believed that virtue is essential for the successful ruler-ship. Virtue however, is not exclusive to the ruler. Mencius also believed in the inherent goodness of man. He thought that man is by nature good and would as much as possible do good. However, he also thought that man makes mistakes. Man makes mistakes because of factors which are beyond his control such as the lack of education or poverty. When this happens, he makes mistakes not because he wanted to commit evil. Rather, he makes mistakes because he does not know any better and…...

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