Perception

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Huh?, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Huh?
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    Huh? leave this space blank

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    I got this in an e-mail....


    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 approx. 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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  2. Huh?
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    :popcorn:
     
  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Perhaps because so few of us realize how beautiful the environment we live in truly is, and how quickly we stand to lose major portions of it.

    Interesting point is how the children wanted to listen. Perhaps we all need to cultivate the wonder that we had as children for the unusual and beautiful.
     
  4. Huh?
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    Exactly.
     
  5. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    I think there is an element of group think involved as well; many people do not instinctually recognise something has intrinsic quality or worth unless a group of others have confirmed it. (Hence the art of advertising).

    Van Gough would be an obvious example, until a critical mass of people confirmed the value or beauty of his work most considered it the worthless splashing of a mad man.

    It would be interesting to see if the results would be different if a large crowd was planted in front of the musician clapping or showing enthusiasm for his performance.

    I bet it would draw many others who would then realise the value of what they were seeing and hearing.
     
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  6. Huh?
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    Reminds me of an old story...go into a crowded area, look up and point...see what happens.
     
  7. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    The average person don't like violin solos.
     
  8. goldcatt
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    goldcatt Catch me if you can! Supporting Member

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    There's no such thing as an average person.
     
  9. del
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    del BANNED

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    next time, he should play on the median on the beltway and see if people traveling by car behave differently than people traveling by train.

    it would be every bit as meaningful an *experiment*.
     
  10. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his article on the experiment. I remember this article being in the Washington post. One guy actually recognized him and gave him a $20.
     

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