Saturday, 11 December 2010

Perception

Swami Gulagulaananda wondered:
"How many other things are we missing as we rushthrough life?"

In Washington DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 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 the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 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.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

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 Stradivarius violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the DC Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*If so, 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 as we rushthrough life?

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This was a beautiful mail that I received and thought that it is worth sharing with everyone

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Comments from Facebook

Hemanth Pai: ok , lets deconstruct this :

1. Most people were on the way to work and may have had to travel. so they had 2 choices, either miss work and listen to him / get to work on time .
2. If 2000 ppl stop and listen to him , will it no screw up the order in the subway system .. i mean its a potential hazard :)
3. Assuming he made 50$ over 1 hr , its not so bad . In a 10 hr workday , he makes almost 500 $ and almost 200,000$ / year which is like awesome money .
4. Just a 3.5 M $ violin and bach does not force people to instantly recognise him as the next mozart / beethoven / tchaikovsky .. for that he has to come up through recognition from his peer group.

Hemanth Pai: ‎5. Children stopped coz they dont have the mundane task of gathering , hoarding and what not .. + they would have stopped even if u had a stuffed teddy in place of the violinist .

My final thought is .. he should repeat the same experiment in a Park / a more relaxed atmosphere and see the effect of the same . People will really enjoy the same.

The experiment u posted is like , u know , knowing a guy is driving a car without brakes and then , standing in front of the car ... and asking why he was so cruel and ran u over :P . Just my 2 cents

Nikhil Baliga: I fully agree with you Hemanth. :-)

Perception nevertheless does play a great role (May not be properly illustrated in this story). There was one where a well dressed guy came and asked the valet in a nice restaurant for keys to a car, and the valet gave it to him. Turns out, it was not his car and he stole. The valet had no reason not to trust him as he went by appearance (often deceptive :P)

I wonder why they say clothes maketh man and also say appearances are often deceptive

Lakshman Gs: This happens because our mindsets are programmed in such a way. At such a situation we would be in a state of tension to reach the platform on time or to catch a train so that we would not be late to office. At these instances a person will be at a state of confusion where he would be asking himself whether he would be reaching his office on time or not.

There is another possibility that incase somebody would have exclaimed that it was joshua bell then things would have been pretty different.....
Now this was an instance which i faced in mysore recently. I had to board a train with my friend to bangalore at 2.30PM . The platform was big time crowded. Since the journey is 3 hours we thought we would buy a magazine and hence we went near a stall which sold magazines . There i saw a tall man who was dressed in blue jeans and a white tee shirt.Since he was blocking the way i asked him to move and gently pushed him n asked the price of the book to the shopkeeper after that i saw the man who was standing beside me and he was none other than Javagal srinath. Immedietly i exclaimed " Macha Srinath kano" . The moment i said that it gathered everybodys attention...every body started rushing in to meet the cricketer ....Wat i would like to conclude is we do recognize talents at an inappropriate time provided somebody picturizes of advertises about the same.

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