Monday, March 07, 2011

An Open Ended Question

The entry you're about to read is the outcome of weeks of sleep deprivation. To overcome my stupor, I have been listening to all kinds of music, ranging from Baroque to Hindustani classical. I am struck by the stark differences that exist in the styles of art and music that have emerged from two different parts of the world. This is a little doodle I came up with, as I was reading a paper on natural language processing.

On Differences in Subjective Expression across Cultures

In the days of cultural isolation, before people of diverse cultures became aware of the existence of alternatives and, before the stage where they got defensive about their own culture; what prompted people of one region to develop certain styles in art, architecture and music? In the cases of the sciences and mathematics, conclusions were based on the outcomes of experiments and thought. In the past, there wasn't too much disparity in scientific thought across disconnected regions and, ironically, there weren't stark differences in the way people approached dogmatism and narrow mindedness (even though these issues can be classified as subjective thought). Why did cultures differ in artistic expression, religious and spiritual belief or for that matter, anything that was subjective? 

In our world today, there is a constant exchange of ideas, both subjective and objective. We are no longer isolated in the medieval sense. This intermingling is slowly moving us towards a culture of homogenized subjectivity. The positive side of such homogeneity is that there is less room for dogmatism and intolerance. On the other hand, will homogeneity be the death of cultural variety? Will we, as individuals, soon enter a cultural vacuum and be devoid of an identity? 

Or am I just paranoid?