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AP World History (Everything)

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How did the new cultural traditions that arose around the world circa 500 BCE differ from earlier polytheism? (CH4)
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Many cultures all over the world started to develop more complex religious and philosophical systems around 500 BCE. These systems were frequently monotheistic (belief in one god) or had a central figure who was thought to be more potent than the other gods. This marked a dramatic shift from earlier manifestations of polytheism (belief in many gods), which tended to concentrate on a sizable pantheon of gods with distinct functions and obligations. A higher focus was frequently placed on moral and ethical teachings, as well as concepts about the nature of the universe and humanity's place within it, by the religious and philosophical systems that developed around 500 BCE.
Urbanization: The expansion of ancient urban centers brought about a rise in social and cultural variety, which put old beliefs and practices under pressure.

Trade and business: As trade and commerce grew, it brought individuals of various cultures and religious views together, fostering discussion and prompting conventional beliefs to be questioned.

Intellectual movements: In ancient civilizations, the growth of philosophy, science, and mathematics led to new ways of perceiving the world and challenging prevailing beliefs and practices.

Political and social changes: With the advent of new political systems and social structures, like as the democratization of Athens, old power structures were called into question, and new political and social ideologies were created.

Religions and spirituality: With the rise of new religions and spiritual movements like Buddhism in India and Confucianism in China, ancient religious doctrines have been questioned and new spiritual practices have been created.
From 500 BCE to 200 BCE, China was going through a time of political and social turmoil known as the Warring States period, where various states competed for power and control. This led to a widespread sense of disappointment among the population with traditional beliefs and practices, and a search for new ways of understanding and organizing society. This social atmosphere gave rise to new Chinese thinkers such as Confucius, Laozi, and Mozi who proposed new ideas and philosophies that aimed to address the problems of their time.
Confucius proposed a moral and ethical system, Laozi emphasized the importance of living in harmony with the natural world, and Mozi advocated for universal love and a strong central government. These new thinkers and their ideas had a significant impact on Chinese society and culture, shaping the country's political and social systems for centuries to come.
Han Fei is the most well-known philosopher of legalism. He was an ancient Chinese legalist philosopher who lived during the Time of the Warring States. He is credited with creating the political philosophy known as legalism, which places a strong emphasis on observing laws and regulations to the letter and using punishment to uphold social order. His ideas had a big impact on how China's political and legal systems evolved.
Legalists thought that establishing a powerful, centralized government with strict laws and regulations and using punishment to uphold social order would be the best way to solve China's problems during the Warring States era. They believed that the key to achieving this was to consolidate power in the hands of the ruler by removing the influence of local lords and nobles.
Legalists also emphasized the need for a strong, competent bureaucracy to implement the ruler's policies, as well as the significance of education and training for public servants. They also believed that in order to maintain the ruler's power, the populace needed to be kept busy so they would not have time for dissent or rebellion.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, China experienced a massive population growth, which resulted in several problems. These problems include:

Food Shortages: The increase in population put pressure on the country's agricultural production, leading to food shortages. This was exacerbated by a series of natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and famines, which further strained the food supply.

Poverty: With the increase in population, the competition for resources became more intense, leading to an increase in poverty. Many people struggled to find employment and were forced to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
Social Unrest: The population growth also led to social unrest, as people became more desperate for resources and social mobility. This resulted in increased crime rates, peasant uprisings, and political instability.

Environmental Degradation: The increase in population also put pressure on the country's natural resources and led to environmental degradation. Deforestation, soil erosion, and overfishing were common problems during this time, which had long-term impacts on the country's ecosystem.

Health Problems: The population growth also led to health problems, as people lived in unsanitary conditions and were more susceptible to infectious diseases. This was further exacerbated by poor healthcare infrastructure and lack of access to medical treatment.
Legalists generally believed that human nature was selfish and predisposed to anarchy and disorder. They thought that since everyone was motivated by their own self-interest, if left to their own devices, people would inevitably clash and contend with one another. They believed that in order to combat this, strict laws and regulations as well as severe punishment were required in order to keep people in check and preserve social order.

Additionally, legalists strongly believed in social hierarchy; they thought that various social classes and professions should have various roles and responsibilities within society. They held that the ruler should be at the top of the hierarchy, then came the merchants and artisans, then the bureaucrats and other members of the government, and finally the farmers and other common people. They held the opinion that each class should only be allowed to perform specific roles and should not be permitted to advance beyond their station. Additionally, they thought that the ruler should use rewards and penalties to keep the proper order and balance between the various classes.
A collection of sayings and lessons attributed to Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and teacher who lived in the 5th century BCE, is known as The Analects, also known as the "Lunyu" or "Conversations." With the intention of preserving Confucius's teachings and transmitting them to subsequent generations, the book is a collection of the master's sayings and conversations. It covers a variety of subjects, including politics, social interactions, education, and more.

The Analects emphasize the value of virtue, morality, and the development of the self. It also emphasizes the value of family values, the function of a ruler, the value of social connections, and the importance of education.

The Analects place a strong emphasis on social harmony, traditional rituals, and the formation of moral character. The Analects have been extensively studied and interpreted throughout the ages and have had a significant and long-lasting influence on Chinese culture. Given that Confucianism is one of the most influential ideologies in Chinese culture, it is regarded as one of the most significant Confucian texts.
The Confucian solution to China's problems was to address the social and political issues of the time through education and the promotion of virtue and morality. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of strong leadership, proper social relationships, and the education of individuals to develop their moral character.

Confucian society was hierarchical, with unequal relationships defined by a strict social order. The five key relationships were ruler and subject, father and son, elder brother and younger brother, husband and wife, and friend and friend. Each relationship was governed by a set of moral obligations and duties, with the superior party expected to act with benevolence and the inferior party expected to show respect and obedience. This social order placed the emperor at the top and commoners at the bottom, with women also occupying a lower status.
Ren is a central concept in Confucianism and refers to the ideal of humaneness or goodness. It encompasses qualities such as compassion, benevolence, altruism, and a sense of obligation to others.

People achieve ren by following the Confucian principles of moral and ethical conduct, such as treating others with respect and fairness, promoting social harmony, and acting with integrity and generosity. Confucianism emphasizes that the pursuit of ren is a lifelong process and that individuals can improve their moral character through education, self-reflection, and practicing virtuous behavior. By living a virtuous life, people can demonstrate their commitment to ren and cultivate the qualities that are essential to a harmonious society.
The Chinese imperial examination system was a means for selecting candidates for government positions. It was a competitive examination that tested the knowledge and abilities of men who sought to enter the civil service. The exams were based on the Confucian classics and tested candidates on their knowledge of history, literature, philosophy, and moral principles.

The examination system was highly competitive, and only a small percentage of men passed the exams and received appointment to government positions. The exams were typically taken by men in their late teens or early twenties, and were divided into three levels: the local, the provincial, and the metropolitan exams. The metropolitan exam was the final and most prestigious exam and was held in the capital city.

Success in the imperial examination system was highly prized and was seen as a means of upward mobility for individuals and their families. The examination system was seen as a merit-based system, and it was believed that the best candidates would rise to the top based on their abilities and knowledge. The examination system was also seen as a way of selecting individuals with the knowledge and character necessary to govern justly and effectively.
Filial piety is a central concept in Confucianism and refers to the respect, obedience, and devotion that a child owes to their parents and elders. It encompasses a range of behaviors, including caring for one's parents in old age, honoring and revering one's ancestors, and upholding the family's reputation and honor.

Filial piety is seen as a fundamental aspect of personal character and as a cornerstone of social order. Confucianism holds that the practice of filial piety is essential for the development of virtue and morality and that it serves as a model for all other social relationships. Confucian teachings emphasize that filial piety is a way of showing gratitude for the sacrifices that one's parents have made and is a means of maintaining social stability and harmony.

In Confucian society, the practice of filial piety was deeply ingrained and was considered to be a crucial part of education. Children were taught to respect and honor their parents and elders, and the failure to do so was seen as a grave moral failing. The practice of filial piety continues to be an important part of Chinese culture and remains a highly valued virtue in many traditional and modern societies.
Laozi, also known as Lao Tzu, is credited as being the original founder of Daoism. He is a legendary figure in Chinese history and is believed to have lived in the 6th century BCE. Laozi is the author of the Tao Te Ching, a seminal text in Daoist philosophy that lays out the principles of Daoism and provides guidance on how to live in accordance with the Dao.

The Tao Te Ching is one of the most widely translated and influential works in Chinese literature and has had a profound impact on Chinese culture and philosophy. It is a concise and poetic text that explores the nature of the Dao, the ultimate reality and source of all things, and provides guidance on how to live in harmony with the natural order of the universe.

Laozi is revered by Daoists as a sage and as a symbol of wisdom and enlightenment. Despite the lack of concrete historical evidence of his existence, Laozi remains an important figure in Chinese history and continues to be widely studied and admired.
The Dao (sometimes written as Tao) is the central concept in Daoism and refers to the ultimate reality and source of all things. It is often described as a force or a way that underlies and governs the natural order of the universe. The Dao is seen as beyond human comprehension and beyond the limits of language and representation.

In Daoist philosophy, the Dao is seen as the source of all life and all existence, and as the source of all change and transformation. It is seen as a force that is both immanent and transcendent, and as the ultimate reality that gives rise to all things. Daoists believe that the Dao can be experienced directly through a process of self-cultivation and spiritual practice, and that by aligning oneself with the Dao, one can achieve inner peace and harmonious existence.

The Dao is often symbolized as a river or a path, and is seen as a way that one should follow in order to achieve a harmonious and fulfilling life. The Dao is also seen as a force that transcends all dualities, such as good and evil, and is characterized by its naturalness, spontaneity, and effortlessness. In Daoism, the goal is to live in harmony with the Dao, and to cultivate a state of non-action (wuwei), in which one lets things unfold naturally without interference.
Daoism is a philosophical and religious tradition that originated in China and has had a profound influence on Chinese culture and thought. The beliefs of Daoism can be broadly described as follows:

1. The Dao: The Dao is the ultimate reality and source of all things, and is seen as beyond human comprehension and beyond the limits of language and representation. Daoists believe that the Dao is the source of all life and all existence, and that it is the ultimate goal of human existence to align oneself with the Dao.

2. Non-action (wuwei): Daoists believe that the path to aligning with the Dao is through non-action, or wuwei. This means letting things unfold naturally without interference, and avoiding the imposition of one's own will on the natural order of things.

3. Simplicity and Naturalness: Daoists emphasize the importance of simplicity and naturalness, and believe that the best way to align with the Dao is to live a simple, uncomplicated life, free from materialism and excess.

4. Harmony and Balance: Daoists believe that the ultimate goal of human existence is to achieve harmony and balance in all aspects of life, including one's relationship with nature, with others, and with oneself.

5. Spontaneity and Effortlessness: Daoists believe that the natural way of the Dao is characterized by spontaneity and effortlessness, and that by aligning oneself with the Dao, one can achieve a state of effortless action and naturalness.

6. Rejection of Confucianism: Daoists reject the Confucian emphasis on social order, moral rectitude, and strict adherence to rules and rituals, and instead emphasize the importance of living in accordance with the natural flow of the Dao.

7. Spiritual Practice: Daoists believe in the importance of spiritual practice, including meditation and inner cultivation, as a means of aligning oneself with the Dao and achieving inner peace and harmony.