Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Philistines in a tube

A philistine is "a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values".

Such people apparently congregate in Washington D.C., as this journalistic experiment by Gene Weingarten conveys. He places a world-class violinist (Joshua Bell) in a subway with a Stradivarius and has him play for 45 minutes to see if people will notice:

Pearls Before Breakfast

Eastern religious figures chide followers to live in the moment and I suppose this experiment illustrates why we should try to notice the beauty that sometimes surrounds us. Anyone that stopped and listened would have had a fine start to their day, but most of us walk right on by and fail to notice the pearls cast in our paths. We gripe, perhaps, about the pains in our feet that they cause.

This episode seems to illustrate a symptom of a broader problem. Could such people ever recognize a garden of Eden if they passed through the center of it? Without even the sense to notice Beauty, how will our lives become beautiful?

Here is a link to Chaconne, played by Viviane Hagner. That sets a nice mood as you read the article.

ADDENDUM: You can listen to the full Bell performance here , that is, if you've got the time.

No comments:

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin