Are We Taking Life Too Seriously As Americans?

In Washington, D.C. 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 the 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 again.

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. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater inBoston 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?

Enjoy life NOW… it has an expiration date!

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Harold3H
Harold3H
1 month ago

This seems an odd article. It reports that after 45 minutes, the man had already made $32 dollars. That is great. It came from people who did not even have the time to stop and listen, yet they still gave. People who pay $100 to hear a concert have set aside time for that purpose. This playing at the subway station was uninvited. Nobody had made a reservation or was obligated in any way. People have lives to live, so why should we expect them to stop at a time inconvenient to them? At a metro station people are in… Read more »