Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Surprising End

A Violinist in the Metro--- Wash, DC [] A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen but then looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the while. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, and no one noticed. No one applauded nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before he played in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston. The seats averaged $100. This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post, as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written; how many other things are we missing?
lbz commentary: oooooooooooooh! goodun! This is indeed a Wisdom Unlimited Course Weekend-5 conversation... my access to the Eternal and the Eternal's access to me. Does the Eternal knock... do I hear... and if so, do I open the door? A veeery worthy and worthwhile conversation!

1 comment:

  1. Stop and smell the flowers, right! I think that Europeans are less antagonistic toward the unfortunate than we are. Therefore they are more inclined to stop and listen to people like Bell. At least that has been my experience. Now we'll see if I can get this comment posted. I tried it awhile ago and it didn't work. We'll see.