Thursday, February 17, 2011

Your perception is your reality

A couple of days ago my sister sent me this and I simply had to share.

The situation

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?

Enjoy life NOW ... it has an expiration date

I was sincerely touched by the story but felt very satisfied since I try to perceive beauty and walk through life with all my senses open.


Tristin @ Two Girls Being Crafty said...

Whoa, that was a powerful story! I'm so glad I came over here--what a good and thought-provoking way to start the morning.

by night said...

amazing story! And a proof we're all running around like crazy and certainly all need to stop every once in a while and just listen or smell or watch what or who's around us... thanks for sharing

Carol said...

Did I ever mention how much I enjoy visiting here!

This is what our world has come to. We have so many demands on our time that some cannot take even a moment to appreciate the joy that is all around us if we will only take a moment to notice.

I have found that as I grow older, everyday I find something new to appreciate and most certainly find joy in what nature has given us. I feel sad for the children in the story.
xx, Carol

Bethel of Bethania said...

Brilliant... a bit like stop & smell the roses...

Papgena Made It said...

I have to say, sadly, that I probably would be one of the people that would pass and probably wouldn't stop, or would stop just for a minute or two! I'm afraid I can related with the stress of rush hour even if I hate it! :P

Ira said...

Yes! I'm familiar with that story, too! There is so much truth in it, funny how we're both of the same mind, I actually created something this week with the same feeling as you're describing here Maya! You know, you should be thankful that you're one of the persons who know how to appreciate life and see little things around you, life's a precious gift, all the more reason to cherish it! Have a lovely weekend, hugs, Ira

Sus said...

I had never heard about this -- what an amazing experiment! And, sadly, society failed it. Thanks for sharing this. I'm definitely passing it on!

ejsimmons said...

What a wonderful story, and how true. We are always in a hurry, and we usually don't need to be.

lisbonlioness said...

you know... I stop to admire a flower, listen to the birds or pick up an interesting leaf, but I could have been one of those hurrying by the musician. Strange, coming to think about it.

cucicucicoo said...

love this story. it's so true, we all tend to just rush through life without appreciating the countless amazing things around us. thanks! :) lisa