PEARLS BEFORE BREAKFAST

This has nothing to do with technology – it’s just a fascinating, thought-provoking story.

The Washington Post arranged for violin virtuoso Joshua Bell to play in a DC subway station during the morning rush hour, like any other street musician, and filmed the reaction. Joshua Bell is considered one of the best classical musicians in the world; he played beautiful (and difficult) music that morning on one of the most valuable Stradivarius violins ever made.

He played for three-quarters of an hour. Seven people stopped to listen for longer than a minute. Twenty-seven people threw in a total of $32, most on the run. More than a thousand people hurried by with no visible reaction, oblivious.

Here’s a link to the article. It’s far more thoughtful than you might expect; there’s disappointment but no condescension toward the people who walked by, busy with their own lives. There’s interviews with Bell and with art curators and others about how the context shapes our reaction to art.

And there’s one priceless detail in a demographic that was absolutely consistent: “Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

There are film clips from the hidden camera in the article. Short portions are speeded up; as noted in the article, it’s reminiscent of the 1982 film “Koyaanisqatsi,” which has film clips of Americans going about their business but speeded up until they resemble machines or robots.

“Koyaanisqatsi” is the Hopi word for “life out of balance.” Don’t get so busy that you don’t hear the music. Stay in balance!