My brother coyote TRXTR of Groundless Observations sent me a story that you may have come across. The Washington Post won a Pulitzer for, Pearls Before Breakfast by Gene Weingarten. Weingarten wrote of a social experiment conducted in the subway where superstar violinist Joshua Bell posed as a street musician. The point? To see how passers-by would react.
Fascinating! What a great thing to blog about (I’m sure bunches did when the story ran in 2007, but who cares?). What a perfect illustration of man’s inability to appreciate the beauty at the side of the road and all that. Except Weingarten pretty much covers it. Yeah, Pulitzer. Please give it a read if you have a few minutes.
OK, I will say one thing - or so. You could take this story as just another sad sign of our society’s inability to appreciate the fantastic world on the other side of our skin. Disillusionment galore. I do not think so. I think it’s beautiful. Yes, we fail to appreciate. Yes, we prioritize the wrong things, rushing by the extraordinary on the way to the must-be-endured. Yes, we forget – or refuse – to use our senses, to dream, to be, to rise. Yes, yes.
But, every once in a while some thing happens. We encounter something that pulls us up short. We slow down for a minute for no apparent reason. Every once in a while a story like this comes along, or we hear music in the underbelly of the city, and we see what we have become and what we have given up. And, if we are smart or lucky, we get an inkling of what’s our there for us and what we can be.
That one moment of jaw-dropping insight or Mack-truck lesson is worth all the empty bullshit we have allowed ourselves to be buried in this year. But only if we stop and listen next time. I wish I were one of those confronted with their own deafness that day.