Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another lesson in perception, Part 2

If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, then I’m afraid I need to ask you to go back and read it now. Otherwise the rest of what I say won’t make any sense.

I’ll wait.

Done already?

Very good. Time for me to go on then:

There are a number of interesting features about the story of Joshua Bell busking—perhaps most of all that, unlike many other urban legends, it is true. See There is the obvious lesson that we all miss much of the beauty in life, but there is one more lesson as well.

In less than an hour, Joshua Bell made $32 dollars by busking in the subway. That’s almost six times the minimum wage and enough to (barely) get by if you played every rush hour, morning and afternoon. So even if commuters rushed by without stopping to hear the music, enough people did recognize something in what they were hearing to reward it. Our perception isn’t lost to us, it’s only dulled by the pressures of life. I’m sure many of you have noticed how much more you appreciate a city that you’re visiting on vacation then our own hometown. I think the release from time pressures is the biggest reason why.

I have to admit that I find classical music difficult. My ear isn’t that good and I don’t have the training or knowledge to understand classical music. But I don’t think that means that I can’t appreciate its beauty. Even if you rush by a rose plant at sixty miles an hour on the expressway, you can still notice the color and know that you passed something beautiful. In the same way, a fragment of music heard in the distance is also beautiful.

Here’s the link to Joshua Bell’s website: Unfortunately, it looks like your chance to hear a performance is Brazil—I don’t see Dallas Area Rapid Transit on his schedule.

No comments:

Post a Comment