Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Armchair Philosophy: The Right Context for Beauty

Have you heard of Joshua Bell? If not, I highly recommend that you listen to one of his albums. He's a virtuoso's virtuso on the violin. He's also a real hunk.

Famous, rich, amazingly talented, he's played to packed concert halls all over the world, literally. So ... can you imagine a thousand people, middle and upper class residents of Washington DC, totally ignoring him while he plays incredible music by Bach on a three and a half million dollar violin?

Yup, stopping long enough to smell the roses is a real problem in modern society, and, evidently, there also has to be the right context for beauty. Move the priceless painting to the wall of a modest coffee bar and nobody recognizes a masterpiece any more. Put a boring title or a glossy soft-core cover on a literary jewel and it ceases to shine enough for a second printing. Stage a musical performance that filled the concert hall down the block to the bursting (at a hundred bucks for the modest seats) in the middle of a subway station in the morning rush and ... what do you get?

Read this intriguing article from the Washington Post and consider the many implications for the way many people lead their modern lives: Pearls before Breakfast.

So tell me, dear readers, what are your thoughts on this? Have you seen, heard, or experienced similar examples?

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