[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the Laurie Hansen of the CTL.]
“IF A GREAT MUSICIAN PLAYS GREAT MUSIC BUT NO ONE HEARS . . . WAS HE REALLY ANY GOOD?”~ Gene Weingarten, Washington Post
I vote “yes”. I live with a great musician. Sometimes he is unappreciated. Other times, people watch and listen in awe. It makes me wonder; how is it that talent can be appreciated by some and go unnoticed by others?
My cousin-in-law sent me one of those chain-email letters, sort of a “stop and smell the roses” message. It included an article that was featured in The Washington Post entitled Pearls Before Breakfast for which Gene Weingarten was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
The article features Joshua Bell, violin virtuoso. He’s won a Grammy, an Emmy and countless other distinguished awards. But yet, when he showed up to play his violin in a DC subway as part of a cultural experiment, he went almost completely unnoticed.
So why was Joshua ignored? The article says we are too busy, too distracted. According to an observation by a French sociologist named Alexis de Tocqueville when he visited the States he noticed Americans are “driven, to the exclusion of everything else, by hard work and the accumulation of wealth.” However, that observation was done in 1831. The Washington Post article also includes that the more recent 1982 work of Godfrey Reggio suggests we may be Koyaanisqatsi – Hopi for “life out of balance.” And, “In his 2003 book Timeless Beauty: In the Arts and Everyday Life, British author John Lane writes about the loss of the appreciation for beauty in the modern world.” According to Lane, perhaps we have the “wrong priorities.” Ouch!
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies