Saturday, December 08, 2012


....excerpt from Vivek Dehejia and Rupa Subramanya’s book “Indianomix,”....
Devdutt refutes this narrow vision. He defines a myth as ‘subjective truth’. Any belief which someone subjectively holds potentially classifies as a myth. Equally, he critiques the standard Western assumption that scientific knowledge is rational and all other traditional knowledge, including mythological, is non-rational. As he sees the world, all beliefs are fundamentally irrational at their root. It’s just that the Western scientific view of the world has become so dominant, or ‘hegemonic’ in the jargon used by cultural theorists, that everyone assumes by default that this is the only correct way to view the world and all other ways must be inferior and irrational. Devdutt turns this idea on its head and argues that the apparently secular capitalism of the West in fact is a thinly veiled descendent of the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian mythological traditions that have dominated Western civilization.

While this is a controversial hypothesis, the close relationship between economic and political ideologies on the one hand and religion on the other shouldn’t be. After all, it was Max Weber, the founder of modern sociology, who famously theorized that capitalism could arise in northern Europe because of the spirit of thrift and discipline embodied in the Protestant work ethic. Devdutt in a sense is taking Weber head on by suggesting, to the contrary, that capitalism really is only a disguised version of Protestant Christianity and not a logical outgrowth of it.