And so it goes …

John Connell has done it again … found a post on a blog that has reduced me to tears of thought. Just when I was thinking about the excesses of BETT and the road ahead and was focused on where I was going. Just when I was stirred by the Obama speech and the ‘whole worldness’ of it all. Just when I was focused on ‘I’ … I read his blog post ‘Mankind is No Island’ and I watched the video.

So how do we measure reality? Is it enough to say that ‘today I made a difference’ without considering what that difference might have meant? John says ‘You cannot always go back and try again, since the moment often passes.’ and I know how often that has been right.

So in educating our young people we must be clear how we spend their time for them … we must not fritter away their childhood on something we are not sure of … for them today should/is not a rehearsal … it is an exciting entity … education must be sure that it is so.

And on this subject … from my friend Philippa …

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning.. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best 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 his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real 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 priorities of people.

If we don’t have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing every day?

Watch the video here.

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