The Zhou Dynasty reigned over 1050- 256 BCE after conquering and succeeding the Shang Dynasty. The early years of this dynasty were marred with peace that later years strived to achieve once again. Far from this, the Zhou Dynasty noticed the birth of various Chinese philosophers at around 6 century BCE. These philosophies survived generations of Chinese generations to present showing how significant they were in history. Among these philosophers were K’ung Fu Tzu (commonly known as Confucius) who developed Confucianism and Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu who came up with Daoism. Confucianism glorified education, social values and respect for authority while Daoism stood for the embrace of the flow of life as it is on an individual basis. Formulation of these philosophies during the Zhou dynasties impacted the governance of the region significantly, and thus they determined the success of a leadership regime. The philosophies began as mere teachings in this era that transformed to religions and cultures that have massive followings. However, after an intense review of the two philosophies, Confucianism turns out to have a stronger view than Daoism.
Confucianism centered on the need to create social order unlike Daoism that centered on individualistic means to achieve harmony. This made Confucianism more effective in creating Harmony within the society. Daoism allows nature to take its cause to allow humans to experience the various eventualities that come from the embrace of liberal ideas. On the one hand, Confucianism based its teachings on virtues on the five consonants (Wu Chang) that ensured high ethical standards within society (Yao). These are Ren (compassion), Yi (justice), Li (protocol), Zhi (knowledge) and Xin (veracity). These ensured the steadfast maintenance of societal institution in a manageable state. Confucius wanted to create a society with a standard line of character that one should bear to create harmony. On the other hand, Daoism treasured the diversity of the world and cherished a non-action-oriented society. Achieving individual satiety does not affirm the presence of harmony within the whole society, and this can cause strife within a society. Therefore, Confucianism that prevailed within the Western Zhou Dynasty benefited the region in this case than Daoism would have.
Confucianism sort to give people a hands-on approach to deal with the various challenges that plague relationships in various social circles like the family unlike Daoism. This showed that Daoism Dao (The Way) was not a problem-solving philosophy, but rather a philosophy that taught about getting accustomed to problems. The Way in Daoism dissuades the idea of education citing the harmony in pre-historic times when harmony existed. According to Daoism, civilization (leadership, knowledge and societal standards) ruined the balance of nature. In Confucianism, the religion, schools and family are expected to educate children on the virtues they should uphold to promote harmony within the society. The Dao expects society to go back in time despite all the milestones humanity has made over the ages. This goes to show that Daoism is of a reactionary’s nature. The “waiting” for nature to take its course in Daoism leaves the society as sitting ducks waiting to succumb to the various problems that it might face. This shows that Daoism came into play in Zhou to create a dynamic problem-solving approach to life unlike Daoism.
The acquisition of moral qualities that govern relationships among people to create harmony in Confucianism beats the disregard to authority by focusing on individualism in Daoism. The respect for leadership in the Zhou Dynasty and ensuring their comfort so that they may lead the dynasty with ease was beneficial. The less a king does, the more things get done. Based on this philosophy, the society has a duty to ensure the comfort of its leaders so that the leaders can lead the kingdom effectively brings comfort to all. Daoism during the Zhou Dynasty detests leadership of any kind since it campaigns for the non-interference of the flow of nature by human interventions like leadership. The result of this is the disorganization of society leading to the lack of harmony. The appreciation of leadership by Confucianism and the added effort to improve it is indicative of a philosophy aimed at attaining optimal harmony within the society. The family structure also benefits from this ideology as the juniors are called on to show respect for their seniors while the seniors reciprocate with compassion to the juniors (filial piety). This creates a society where people have mutual respect for each other by complying with their societal requirements. Confucianism thus inspired harmony in the society through organization more than Daoism strived to create.
The reasoning of Confucianism limits itself to secular fields unlike Daoism that considers gods, immortals and other forms of pantheism. This made Daoism controversial as it claimed to deal with true reality while it revered spiritual figures that they had not proof of their existence. Confucianism did not consider any higher law or spirituality; however, filial piety is the closest thing to divinity that Confucianism teaches. This goes to show that Confucianism deals more with reality than Daoism because it does not lean on the mythical issues. The problems and issues that face society cannot be solved with the efforts in Daoism in achieving ecstasy, longevity and immortality. Confucianism deals with real problems that face society leading to the peaceful nature of the early years of the Zhou Dynasty that were not witnessed in the later years of the dynasty due to the scrapping of Confucianism. Confucius died along the reign of Jing Wang between 519 BC- 476 BC. The turmoil that arose in the later years of the Zhou Dynasty elucidates the effectiveness of Confucianism in the early years of the dynasty. Daoism leads to the straining to maintain order in the society as the responsibility of individuals to attain satiety without arising turmoil is unpredictable. Therefore, Confucianism secured peace within the Zhou dynasty by dealing with the realistic problems within the various societal institutions.
Conversely, Daoism offers a better balance to society by encouraging the equality that comes with being liberal as opposed to Confucianism. Currently, Confucianism philosophies cannot fully be a part of the societal guide to living as it has gender discriminations. The virtues in Confucianism dictate that a woman will obedient to her father before marriage, her husband in marriage and her son in case of her husband’s death. This degrades the value of women in the society. Daoism allows nature to take its course enabling women to realize their full potential within the society. The pampering of leaders also leaves people vulnerable to exploitation by the same leaders that they bank on to help them. This goes to show that Daoism has an element of equality within it. However, the idea of equality is the sole reason why there is leadership in the society, and thus Confucianism. Therefore, Confucianism remained relevant within the Zhou Dynasty for harmonious living within the Zhou Dynasty.
In conclusion, the Confucianism had better philosophies of living during the Zhou Dynasty. The order, equality, respect and honor that the philosophies cultured among the people led to the harmony among them in the early years of the dynasty. Daoism centers on individualistic satisfaction and natural improvement of conditions. The need for an action-oriented society that works to counter its problems forms the basis under which Confucianism becomes a superior teaching than Daoism.