Sunday, February 19, 2012

Would you stop to listen to the music?

Back in 2007, Gene Weingarten, a journalist from the Washington Post thought of an interesting experiment to study human behaviour. He managed to convince a world class musician to exhibit his violin expertise dressed as a homeless person in busy Washington DC metro. The idea was to observe how differently people would accept the same product outside its society-assigned place of belonging - the concert hall.
Joshua Bell, the musician, had just played for a fancy audience - each of whom had paid around $100 for a ticket - a few days ago.

This is what happened.

Bell managed to earn about $32 (excluding the $20 bill he got from a fan who eventually recognised him) from more than a thousand commuters who passed by during that 45 minutes.

How screwed up is that? Imagine how differently we would look at the world if we had no set notions.

There's 2 ways to interpret this.
1. It's possible to wonder if the talent in question is overrated. Maybe Bell is just a mediocre violinist who got a series of lucky breaks. If the crowd didn't listen, does that mean the music wasn't really good?
This is a very valid point, especially in this age where a video of a dog twitching in it's sleep can go viral.
There are so many chance happenings that serendipity has lost its charm today. How do you know if Justin Bieber would be where he is today even if Scooter Braun hadn't 'discovered' him? What is Braun had not updated his flash player or chose this guy instead?
I could go on...
It's all arguable i suppose, but maybe I'm being naive in saying that talents like Joshua Bell, AR Rahman and others are the few for whom luck might not have played as much a role as their gift and their hardwork did.
For them not to have been noticed would have taken life full of lousy luck and bad decision-making.
Which brings us to the second point of view.

2. Let's say these famous guys are really talented (Okay, excepting Snooki, the Kardashians, anybody in Bigggg Boss and Zayed Khan), so there's nothing wrong with a little bit of luck helping them out right?
But imagine if the same amount of luck was given to everyone. How many potential superstars are lurking in the world with no chance of recognition? The supremely overdone example ofcourse is 'How many Sachin Tendulkars might exist among the millions of galli cricket players'.


this was not even a point with which I began this blog entry. I meant to write about how shackled we are by our responsibilities and by perceptions of the society as a whole. How without realizing it, most of us form most of our opinions based on already formed ones.

Sounded really deep in my head, but like wannabe trash on paper. Will publish this still because I'm self destructive that way.


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