Pearls Before Breakfast
For the Washington Post story on this topic that one a Pulitzer Prize, see http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2008-Feature-Writing


> 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 approximately two 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 commonplace 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?