How perfect is this set?
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 and 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.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
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 all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..
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.
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 dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized 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 inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*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?
Ah. Alain. One of my favourite authors (having read “On Love”, “The Consolations of Philosophy”, “The Art of Travel” and “How Proust Can Change Your Life”). It’s nice to see that he is just as articulate and witty in person as he is in his writing.
As ever, at least for me anyway, the way in which he discusses elements of the human condition are often strikingly common sense, yet addressed in a manner that makes you feel as though somehow, you are being enlightened. Perhaps however that is a flawed feeling; is it not more likely having that which you feel to be true reinforced by someone far more suited to talk on such matters with authority? Whatever it is, I enjoy his work immensely. Infact, I can’t believe I missed the release of “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work”. Time for an Amazon order…
I am more motivated than ever. This year, will be a great year. To quote a friend:
seize the day but don’t live like there is no tomorrow. go out and enjoy the fun. drink your favorite drink. feel a little buzz in your head but not to be drunk. dance. sing. or even scream just to release what’s inside. cry. its alright to cry. rest your body and your brain. force yourself not to worry cos it wont do you any good. its like a rocking chair that will give you something to do but take you to nowhere. exercise. have sex. give and take the pleasure. stimulate your brain cells. seek a deep conversation. speak. read and listen. get yourself any kind of knowledge. who knows it may save you one day. watch a movie. search for all entertainment available. spend some alone time. contact with your inner self. you owe it to yourself. have a dream and try to live it. set a goal and make it happen. be confident. don’t push yourself too hard. anything thats too much is never good. keep balance. be in control of life. be care free not care less. create and consume. love.
I have printed this out and placed it on my wall :)