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Perception

MusicianSomething to think about….

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 approximately. 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.

6 minutes:

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

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 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 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?

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Comment by caseyjo on January 31, 2010 at 6:19pm
The subliminal message experiment url......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQjr1YL0zg
Comment by caseyjo on January 31, 2010 at 6:02pm
It's true...Our brains are like little computers and the advertisers know exactly what to do to attract people..esp. Children. I once watched a study in subliminal messaging put into a youtube video. It was pretty neat to be able to actually watch what really went down when people were subjected to it..I will see if I can find it and post it later or tomorrow.....Good points Phil....K
Comment by caseyjo on January 30, 2010 at 7:28am
Ha ha .....Check this out....of course we dont know if any of those people in the Bach video were late....but people will change their habits for something that is fun....like steps...uuugh
Comment by caseyjo on January 27, 2010 at 11:27am
I just got to thinking about how many people would have stopped if there had been a murder at the station at rush hour, or a couple standing naked side by side? Or maybe a great big pile of Horse manure..........I figure they need to do a new experiment.
Comment by Edward Terry on January 26, 2010 at 11:39pm
Try this one the next time you're late to work..."Honest, boss, I would have been here on time, but there was this guy was playing Partita No. 2 in D minor, and it was just hauntingly beautiful, ya know? Whaddya expect?"

Did the Washington Post writer count the commuters listening to everything from Bach to The Beatles on headphones that morning? How about those still smiling from the beauty of having kissed their child goodbye scant minutes ago?

This experiment is a great example of the quantification of the obvious: people who have promised to be at work on time will try to keep that promise. To conclude that this makes them a bunch of boorish wage slaves is plain old-fashioned snobbery.
Comment by caseyjo on January 26, 2010 at 2:28pm
Esp. for the poor who do the bidding of others and have to be at their jobs 8 hours a day 5 days a week..They are the ones who miss out the most. We can survive in a beautiful way without so much work.....We can change anything we want, we just don't try. People live in a world of fear of change, that is why we continue to stay in a rut which keeps growing larger...Oh Well...Fear runs our lives.
Comment by OCNaturalDoc on January 25, 2010 at 11:51pm
i saw that video play on one of those tv news magazine shows a while back. they fast-forwarded the tape, but it played out exactly as you mentioned. astonishing on one hand, but i would imagine rush hour commuters are pretty much focused on what they'll be facing during the day, or what they left behind at home. i dunno for sure cuz i've never been a rush-hour-commuter.

opportunities are all around us every minute of every day. it's our responsibility to see and embrace them.....or not.
Comment by caseyjo on January 25, 2010 at 6:05pm
It got me to thinking about the importance of physical things and how we use our time...Our day to day schedules come before almost everything else in our lives. In a different world, we could most definitely make more time for ourselves , our children, and the beauty of our world.

Something tells me we have a lot of stuff backwards.....I could easily have settled for a life where I had less physical objects, (meaning I would not have had to work so many hours in the first place) in exchange for more freedom, more time to enjoy my daughter, myself and my friends.

Speaking of perception...Whatever happened to Gary Freedman...He seems to have disappeared..Is he alright? Does anyone know..He was always here with one blog after the other..now nothing...
Comment by Dazzling Zoomer Gal Diana on January 25, 2010 at 6:02pm
So agree. As I age, less becomes the more. And the best more was like it was today, just being with girlfriends, just being, watching children play, sharing laughter, sharing woes. It is said that no one claims on their death bed that they should have worked more!
Comment by Dazzling Zoomer Gal Diana on January 25, 2010 at 4:25pm
P.S. Thanks for posting this by the way. The story in and of itself, gives one pause for thought and reflection!

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