"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
China’s Lessons and Its Ways of Operating2 China’s Lessons and Its Ways of OperatingChina’s Lessons and Its Ways of OperatingChapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
While I can’t do these philosophies justice in a couple of sentences each without digressing too deeply (though I will go into them more deeply in Part 2), here is the best I can do:
Confucianism seeks to bring about harmony by having people know their roles in the hierarchy and know how to play them well starting from within the family (between the husband and the wife, the father and the son, the older sibling and the younger sibling, etc.) and extending up to the ruler and their subjects, with them bound together by benevolence and obedience. Each person respects and obeys those above them, who are both benevolent and impose standards of behavior on them. All people are expected to be kind, honest, and fair. Confucianism values harmony, broad-based education, and meritocracy.
Legalism favors conquest and unification of “all under heaven” as soon as possible by an autocratic leader. It believes that the world is a “kill or be killed” jungle in which the strength of the emperor’s central government and strict obedience to it must exist without much benevolence given to the people by the emperor/government. The Western equivalent is fascism.
Taoism teaches that the laws of nature and living in harmony with them are of paramount importance. Taoists believe that all of nature is composed of opposites and that harmony comes from balancing them well—yin and yang. This plays an important role in how the Chinese seek the balance of opposites.