Devdutt Pattanaik tells TEDx that if you know the patterns that you are looking for, India’s apparent chaos is actually order.

  • The mythology of the West: kill the chaos-creating dragon, create order
  • The mythology of India: liberate yourself from boundaries

A beautiful western garden is ordered.  Weeds are weeds, trees are trees and flowers are in their rightful place.  But who says a weed is a weed?  It is the pattern of the gardener.  It is not the pattern of nature.  It is imposition of a western gardener’s view on the nature.  The imposition of boundaries.

A western meal has starter, main course, dessert.  They are clearly separated.  The chef and the restaurant impose their boundaries on the food.

In India, the aim is to liberate from forced boundaries.  An Indian road does not have fixed lanes – but there is an order arising in the apparent chaos.  An Indian meal does not have clear distinction between starter, main, dessert – but there is an order in the apparent chaos.

Here is Devdutt Pattanaik speaking at TEDx (video here on the blog):

When I teach with Maty Tchey, she teaches those who wish to communicate powerfully to “think complex, speak simple”. She challenges speakers to find metaphors that allow the audience to see new material as an extension of what they already know.

What existing and understood patterns can you show the audience to connect them to new material?