'While Christianity claims a divine mandate to superimpose its own history-centrism on the entire world, thinkers of the European Enlightenment have also developed various conceptual absolutes and endowed these with 'universal' status. The profound assumption is that the shape and direction of world history are leading to a single Western goal – be it salvation or scientific secular progress.
tobes wrote: I see linear historicity as grounded far more in Enlightenment philosophies which were really running against the Abrahamic religions. i.e. Darwin, Hegel, Marx et al and conceptions of historical progress.
Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 5079-5082). . Kindle Edition.
But it was Hegel, among all German thinkers, who had the deepest and most enduring impact on Western thought and identity. It is often forgotten that his work was a reaction against the Romantics' passion for India's past. He borrowed Indian ideas (such as monism) while debating Indologists to argue against the value of Indian civilization. He posited that the West, and only the West, was the agent of history and teleology. India was the 'frozen other', which he used as a foil to define the West.
Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 5174-5178). . Kindle Edition.
Sure, Hegel is profoundly guilty
of a teleological historicism which univeralises western consciousness/culture and overtly disparages non-western religions and ideas.
But how many contemporary western Buddhist academics are Hegelians? Even closet Hegelians? The last one I can think of was Murti, who did much to completely misunderstand Madhyamaka by reading it through Kant and Hegel. He was an Indian
Actually, there is one more I can think of - Peter Fenner, who reads Nagarjunian logic as dialectical.
For everyone else, Hegel and his historicism has long been dead and buried.
If we are to speak of a western univeralism, surely it is a/ the ideology of liberal-democracy and b/ the political economy of neo-liberalism. The vast majority of Indian students head to western institutions to learn about demand, supply, finance and management. This has nothing to do with German idealism, history or monotheism - and everything to do with the logic of utility.
And in India, this logic has become extremely powerful - if there is a national undercurrent at the moment, it is: economic growth, I.T., infrastructure, wealth creation. Little of that is Vedic.
So I just think Malhotra has the wrong end of the stick here.