Is Ruism Just for Asians?

Ruism (sometimes called “Confucianism”) began in China more than 2,500 years ago. This tradition has had such a profound influence on Asian culture that some Westerners wonder if it’s strictly a “Chinese thing” or an “Asian thing.”

This is a fair question. After all, there are real differences between Eastern and Western cultures. In light of these differences, does Ruism have anything to offer Westerners?

Our answer to this question is a firm yes.

To understand why, let’s consider a great philosopher from the West, Aristotle. Although Aristotle was a Greek, he wasn’t just concerned with Greeks. His ethical teaching was focused on humans in general. It’s true that to understand Aristotle, you have to know something about the culture in which he lived. But virtually no one asks, “Is Aristotle just a Greek thing?”

Like Aristotle, the great thinkers and teachers of the Ruist tradition were concerned with human nature. To understand their ideas, you have to learn about the culture in which they lived. But if their ideas are true and useful for people in general, then they are true and useful for us, too.

One of the defining features of Ruism, for example, is its intense focus on family life. Ruist thinkers have always placed great emphasis on the family, the importance of family life, and the influence of the family on one’s life outside the family.

Is this familial focus strictly an “Asian thing?”

An international team of researchers working from Arizona State University surveyed over 7,000 people from 27 different countries about what motivates them. The top priority across this group was caring for family. This held true for both Eastern and Western countries. (You can learn more about their research here.)

The Ruist Association of America, Inc. was founded on the firm belief that anyone can benefits from Ruist ideas to improve themselves, their families, their communities, and the world.

In other words, Ruism isn’t a “Chinese thing.” It’s a human thing. If you’re a human, Ruism is for you, too.

To learn more about Ruism, start by reading this article, What is Ruism? And, if you’re ready to take the next step, take this brief course. It’s free and we don’t gather any personal information from you. Finally, if you think Ruism might be a good path for you, consider joining the RAA, Inc. today.

About the Author

Ben Butina, Ph.D.
Ben is the President and co-founder of the Ruist Association of America, Inc. and Friends from Afar, an English-speaking Ruist discussion group on Facebook. He's also the creator of Stone Chimes, a modern English adaptation of the Analects of Confucius.