Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Something to think about:

This was emailed to me the other week:


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45  minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried  on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:  A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:  A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed  hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 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.

After 1 hour:  He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. 

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 dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a  social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

 *In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

 *If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

 *Do we recognize 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 as we rush through life?


Tracey said...

A brilliant post. So true, we don't stop to notice anything, let alone think! xxx

Cyn ;-) said...

Great story. We should all take some time to "stop and smell the roses".

landcuckoo said...

How very very thought provoking, thank you x

Linda said...

So true...people are hurrying through life at what expense. Since I have stopped working I tend to ride my bike to run errands around town and believe me I notice so many more things on those bike rides than I ever did in a car. I also have gotten in the habit of saying hello to everyone I pass by. It's a good feeling when I arrive home and so many strangers have said hello back.

tina said...

Yes ma'm, so true...sadly so.
It is my goal as I approach my birthday next month to live each day to it's fullest, to enjoy every little bit, to make each day special ,even if in just a tiny way,to not take things personally and, that if I do, to speak gently to that person about it (It has always been my bit to let things go...once in awhile I would let it fly and I simply felt horrible about it, justified as it was!)

So for my birthday this year, I shall be riding the Merry-go-round at the local park, eating an ice cream sundae and onion rings for my birthday dinner, wearing my best frilly skirt and enjoying every minute of the day :)
Life is short...eat dessert first!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

one of the best posts I have read recently.... ma I copy it?


peppylady (Dora) said...

Plenty of truth in this maybe with our economy is one may give bigger thanks for the simple pleasure in life.
I hope you don't mind if I share this on facebook.

Coffee is on.

Karine said...

Great post Gill! I actually had heard this before and have watched the video that goes with it several times, just because I find it so incredibly true...and also just because I adore the violin so much. here is the link that goes with the video companion to your post http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw

Caroline said...

I had read about this before. Thank you for posting it and jogging my memory about it...as it is so true.Just like the video I posted today."True"
Sometimes we all need to slow down and smell the roses, I know I need to more.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Of course living in the DC area I know of this story. I find blogging kind of the same way. There are so many who will highlight the smallest things that they notice that are so interesting and are so easily missed.

Stephanie D. said...

Good point. What a sad thing that most adults didn't appreciate what they were hearing. Fantastic that the children did.

The Witch said...

This just blew me away.
I'm going to copy this and take it to work so everyone can read this and maybeeeeeeeeee really smell the roses.