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Saturday, 24th February 2024


This TED video uses myths of the east and west to show how different the attitudes and behaviours are. It argues that the western myths look for objectivity and the how whereas eastern myths are about why and subjectivity. Different people of the world have  a different understanding of the world. West is seen as rational, east as superstitious. West is linear, East is cyclical. West is organised, East is chaotic.

The best way to understand the argument of Devdutt Pattanaik is to watch the video in the link above.

It tells me how organisations and systems need to be seen in the context of the purpose and ethics, and that just because something appears disorganised does not necessarily mean it is meaningless. In the west we have structure, but no soul. In the east, there is soul, but sometimes no structure. Neither is ideal. For the east, death is not THE END, but the west seems obsessed by death, and hence so greedy about life.

A diverse mind is open to challenge and investigation, and should not rush quickly to judgement. If western life is built on the idea that nature is there to be used and exploited, that mindset is what needs to change for change to be sustainable. In the east, nature may appear to be exploited, but at the same time, it is revered and highly respected in many myths.

Leadership is influenced as much by stories, myths and role models. In the West, leadership is seen primarily as a personal endeavour, and success defined in material terms. In the East, servant-leadership is highly respected and honoured, and a very important part of the culture. Leadership has to adapt to different cultures and myths, and at the very least be sensitive to different world-views.


Article added on 9th May 2010 at 11:13am
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