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Aristotle and Guangxi — the brotherly principle

Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, offers insights into societal structures that contrast with the cultural norms of China, particularly through the lens of 'Guangxi.'


China, boasting an ancient civilization dating back to the V – III millennium BC, developed largely in isolation, fostering distinct social frameworks that endure today. A significant cultural parallel emerges in the modern concept of 'Guangxi,' which mirrors Aristotle's categorization of friendships as utilitarian.


In Chinese culture, 'Guangxi' embodies a relational principle akin to utilitarian friendships described by Aristotle—relationships based on mutual benefit or profit.


Confucian philosophy, integral to Chinese society, emphasizes familial harmony and hierarchical relationships over individualism and abstract reasoning. It prioritizes obedience to paternal authority and nurturing of sibling bonds.

This familial structure extends to the state, where leaders like President Xi Jinping are regarded as paternal figures overseeing a national family unit.

At every level—from family dynamics to civic governance—trust is cultivated first within familial and familiar circles, gradually extending to broader social networks and cautiously to outsiders.


In contrast, Aristotle distinguished between friendships based on utility, pleasure, and virtue, each representing different motivations and levels of interpersonal connection. His philosophical framework underscores the pragmatic nature of relationships driven by mutual advantage, resonating with the practicality embedded in 'Guangxi.'


Thus, while Aristotle's philosophical perspective contrasts with Chinese cultural values, particularly in terms of familial and societal bonds, 'Guangxi' exemplifies a broader continuum of trust and loyalty rooted deeply in familial and communal ties.


La Classe Team

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