Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perception...something to think about...

If this is true, then I wonder what sort of a world we live in!

Washington , DC Metro station on a cold January morning in 2007. the man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace, stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later....

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk...

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started walking again...

10 minutes:

A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. the kids stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. the man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.


No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. he played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organised by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

In a common place environment at an appropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognise talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made...

How many other things are we missing?

6 comments:

Little Diva said...

now that is really something to ponder....

bubbachenille said...

This is so true.. Now all we have to do is find the time to "stop and smell the roses "...

Raspberry Pink said...

Children see so much more clearly than the rest of us. As adults we get too used to the world to see it properly.

deborah leigh said...

Reading this article bought tears to my eyes, we are so caught up in what we have to do. Recent experience has opened my eyes wider and I am seeing outside the square we live in, and its amazing. I have slowed down and life really is a lovely place when we take the time to breathe and enjoy all around us. Thank you Kerry for this story. How do we get the world to slow down?

Sandrine said...

Thanks for this story...a really great reminder to stop looking with our eyes shut...

Nicole said...

beautiful story and what a great reminder to go slow and enjoy the things we stumble across during the day...

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