shī fǎ zhī huà 师法之化
Enlightenment Through Education
Enlightenment through education was a notion first put forward by Xunzi (313?-238 BC). He believed that people by nature desire external things. However, If unrestrained, this natural desire will lead to conflicts between people and plunge society into chaos. Therefore, they need to be enlightened through education to both meet their desires and make them understand and observe ethics and etiquette. The basic form of enlightenment is guiding their desires, words and deeds through teaching.
If people’s natural impulses are allowed to surge without check, conflicts are certain to break. This will lead to violation of social norms and disruption of social order, resulting in social unrest. Therefore, it is necessary to have teachers and models to give guidance to people and enlighten them through teaching of etiquette and ethical principles. When this is done, courtesy and deference will develop, people will observe social order in their words and deeds, and peace and stability will prevail. (Xunzi)