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My Reflection on Eastern Ethics of 5.2.2013

On this day, Professor Hamid gave us a lecture on ‘Eastern Ethics.’ Within this topic we learnt about the ethics in Japan, China and Persia. I enjoyed the lesson because I felt as if I went on a little trip to the three countries one at a time. According to the lecturer Chinese ethics dates back to the time of the Confucius (551-479 BCE), the Confucius ethical teaching was emphasized on self-cultivation. The Confucius was sort of an ultimate model. By this I understood that Chinese behaviour and way of life revolved around the Confucius teachings. The Chinese ethical theory deals with moral status of an action or a policy or practices and theory about good and bad, which goals and what ends one should have. Basically it’s all about humanism. It teaches that we should treat others how we would want others to treat us. Honestly I liked the Chinese quote that says ‘What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.’ In respect to deontologists to achieve the good you can’t just do it because it’s a good thing to do, but rather one has to think of the consequence of the good deed because the consequences might be bad. According to the teachings of the Confucius if you want to be pure then ‘don’t look at anything improper, don’t say anything improper, don’t listen to anything to improper and don’t do anything improper.’

The Japanese ethical teaching was much more sophisticating to me that I actually thought of living in Japan for a while. Our lecturer said that the Japanese people deeply scrutinize one’s discipline, cleanliness, politeness and much other outstanding moral behaviour. Our lecture emphasized on the Japanese attributes by using his personal experiences. Japanese people have a positive attitude about how they work whether it’s collective or individual work, they take it seriously and give it their best due to their hard working nature. I believe that after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan made a point of indirectly ruling the world. Japan now rules the world with its electronics, its Ethical teachings and even its way of life. The last question that the lecturer asked was interesting. The question was ‘if Japan was able to enter modernity, be a leading centre of technology, and at the same time retain its ethical essence, how did it achieve that?’ In my perspective, I think they achieved that by their good moral behaviour. Japanese people are known to have collectiveness in work area and sense of respect. Where there is team work and respect nothing is impossible. Good moral values when practiced throughout are hard to neglect. Japanese people have self-restraints and do everything for a purpose.

Persia, currently known as Iran had its own ethical thoughts just like China and Japan. Long ago roughly around 6000 BC a prophet emerged in Persia who name was Zoroaster. He was the founder of a book by the name Avesta, meaning praise. And such a book was also used in India but with a different name, Veda. Persia, then had three ethical principles of Zarathustra, which were; good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. They believed in good and evil. Ahura mazda means the good while Ahriman means the evil.

Out of the three countries that I mentioned above, I really like the Japanese way of life. I don’t have any experience with Japanese people but if I ever get the chance to go to Japan I wouldn’t resist.


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