Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Poor Life This


(Photo Credit: PAPYRARRI)

Here's a story that really made me think and one that psychologically speaking could be examined from a number of perspectives.

This fascinating story relates to a social 'experiment' organized by the Washington Post, the basic premise of which, was, Will one of the nation's greatest musicians be noticed in a D.C. Metro stop during rush hour? The musician in question was violinist Joshua Bell and as the Washington Post article notes:

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.

The Washington Post described what they did as "an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste". In addition they wanted to discover whether "In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

Pearls Before Breakfast

To get a proper sense of what happened you can read the original Washington Post article by Gene Weingarten by Clicking Here

Watch Joshua Bell's Metro Performance

Pace of Life

One issue this obviously raises relates to the pace of modern life and its costs, however, it would be wrong to assume that this is a contemporary phenomena.

Once of the most interesting characters in literary history William Henry Davies (The tramp poet and writer 1871-1940) wrote this famous verse.

What is this life if full of care

We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep, or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this, if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


Follow the advice of those other great poets Simon and Garfunkel.

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A Poor Life This

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