I was talking to TTL about cultures and what they are good at, and I carelessly mentioned that the Indian film industry ("Bollywood") is one of the most commercially successful cultural industries in the world, and yet the films seem all the same to me, and I don't see the value.
I hate when others are more mature than me, but he corrected me:
I take a slightly different strategy when approaching art and entertainment originating from foreign (i.e. eastern) cultures. Namely, I try to constantly remind myself that it is quite possible that in order to "get it", I may have to shift my view and discover a completely new paradigm.
Example: When I was a teenage self-righteous guitar player, it baffled me how anyone could take Indian music seriously. The musical scale they use is such that to a westerner it sounds like everything is constantly out of tune.
It wasn't until nearly two decades later that I grokked it and discovered that their system is in fact much more sophisticated than ours, and that it is possible to appreciate it if you just listen to it "differently". Switch your brain into a different mode.
So, similarly, I now leave open the possibility that both in Manga and Bollywood there must be things I am simply not seeing at all, and therefore am unable to appreciate as intended.
And it is in particular in instances where something otherwise very successful appears "all the same" to me that I am almost certain that *I* am just not getting it. Whatever it is.
To the uninitiated, Opera sounds "all the same". Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
Blues musicians play exactly the same chord progressions all the time, every time. If you are a classical composer, it is almost impossible to appreciate blues music. Because the songs are not even compositions. To the initiated, however, it is a different world. The chord progression is irrelevant. It's the emotion, authenticity and miniscule rhytmic tensions that make all the difference.
I can't argue with that. It's like trying to prove that we are alone in the universe, can't be done.
I would think that it's even plausible that post-adulthood, it has become impossible to shift your mind to really appreciate radically different cultures. The energy grooves in the mind set very firmly.