We need to make more time for the beautiful things in life

I do not feel up to writing anything.  I get tired easily, and can’t write much.  However, I got a message that I am posting here now. It is an old one, I remember, but it is worth reading it again. I do wonder why it is being sent again at this time, but it is helping me connect with you all.

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If we’re too busy, we miss out on the best things

Posted: 17 Feb 2012 01:34 PM PST
The Washington Post Joshua Bell experiment…

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 1,100 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 musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and 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. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed 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.

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real 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 priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

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Good night and good luck!

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About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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4 Responses to We need to make more time for the beautiful things in life

  1. Some years ago I twisted my ankle, and as I took BART to work, everyone around me walking much faster than I could, I thought, They’re all crazy! Of course, once my ankle healed it was back to the same for me. Unfortunately, the way our modern lives are organized doesn’t allow much room for stopping to enjoy things. And that’s something worth changing.

  2. martisima says:

    We all agree and think that what is at fault is the system that pressures us. But aren’t we a bit to blame too? Good of you to acknowledge your plight…

  3. Elli Dumont says:

    It is definitely worth reading again! A very nice piece!

  4. Kat McLaughlin says:

    Taking today off to read. A simple thing in and of itself, but I love reading and haven’t had time to do it for pleasure only instead of research. I will read it today with love in my heart and with a slow gaze to absorb the beauty of simple words on a plain page. What a joy that will be!

    I love you, M.! Thank you for reminding me to stop and smell the roses!

    ~Kat~

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