Are You Missing True Beauty?
The Washington Post recently posted this true story:
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 second, then hurried on to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip. A woman threw the bill into the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year-old boy. His mother tugged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pulled hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. 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, no one noticed it. 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 on a violin worth $3.5 million.
Two days before playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston, and the seats cost an average of $100.
Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and the priorities of people.
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?