Mozi: The Great Chinese Thinker on Peace and Love

July 10, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Mozi, the great Chinese thinker for peace and love, illustrated by Zona Yeh. (The Epoch Times)

Mozi (about 470-391 B.C.) was born after Laozi and Confucius (571–479 B.C.), and lived during the Spring and Autumn (770–476 B.C.) and the Warring States periods (476–221 B.C.). This was an era of turmoil and great cruelty. 

At this moment of chaos, everyone, including kings, was eager to find capable people who could provide appropriate methods for managing a state well. Against this background many philosophical doctrines were taught in order to tackle all the social problems, including how to discipline people’s behavior and morality.

Mozi’s real name was Mo Di. He was an enthusiastic humanist and the founder of Mohism. This theory taught “universal love and no fighting.” He is known as one of the great thinkers in China.

From Mozi’s point of view, human selfishness and the desire for benefits were the main reasons that the world descended into turmoil. These desires prevent people from being more compassionate and loving each other. 

If everyone could love others as they love themselves, treat others as their own relatives, treasure other states as much as their own states and let go completely of any selfish thoughts, the world would then no longer be at war and the true peace would be achieved. 

Introducing the theory of “no fighting,” Mozi believed that the war was unjust and tragic for humanity. Every war destroyed countless properties, lives, and families. Therefore Mozi was against wars and urged they be stopped. 

In addition to the theory of “universal love and no fighting,” Mozi introduced also his ideas of government by meritocracy. Sage and capable people should be selected to take official posts and work for the state, regardless of their family background and social status. Any corrupt officials should be dismissed as soon as possible. 

Mozi was against munificent funerals and opposed treating music as a leisure activity. He thought these were a waste of either material or time. These ideas contradicted Confucius and were difficult for Chinese people to accept. 

Mozi’s industrious spirit dedicated to world peace was magnificent. His idea of “universal love and no fighting” from about 350 B.C. is still valid today.

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