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Variety is the spice of life

I did not particularly enjoy Kismat (Malayalam), Pariyerum Perumal (Tamil) or C/o Kancherapalayam (Telugu), even though the reviews for these films were generally positive. My immediate response was, "how many films about inter-caste or inter-religious love (and the resulting conflicts) would they make?". My heart was craving for variety.

On the other hand, I like Hunter X Hunter because it is so similar to Naruto. I have seen so many other Naruto-like anime and I have enjoyed many of them. Hunter X Hunter just deserves a really special mention. If someone informs me about a new anime similar to Naruto, I will jump on it. My heart keeps craving for more and more of the same thing.

How does one address this cognitive dissonance? My own answer is as follows: I do not really care for variety. If I like something, I generally crave for more of the same. The lesser I like a particular theme, the easier I will get bored with it. It is then that I crave for "variety".

And most probably, I am not alone here. Most recommendation systems work this way - be it books or movies or songs. Suggestions match your previous purchases or likes. If statistically, people prefer variety, suggestions should be as distant as possible from the purchases/likes so far. However, most of us would not prefer such a recommendation system.

That leaves us with one question. Why did I attribute my dislike to lack of variety? I guess it is because I could not find any flaw with the film, but I still did not like the film. And there is a general expectation that you are supposed to explain why you dislike something. It is interesting to note that this expectation is lesser when you like something. Used to this expectation, you start explaining your dislike even to yourselves.

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