The Violinist in the Subway

By | April 13, 2007
Seth Godin comments on the world class violinist ignored by commuters in the subway. His conclusion (I think): we all ignore because in our world of natural suspicion we rely on marketing to flag what is and isn’t valuable.

True, I guess. What scares me too, is the possibility that we wouldn’t have even been able to distinguish between a world class violinist and a mediocre fiddler outside their appropriate setting.

It bothers us that we’re so overwhelmed by the din of our lives that we’ve created a worldview that requires us to ignore the outside world, most of the time, even when we suffer because of it. It made me feel a little smaller, knowing that something so beautiful was ignored because the marketers among us have created so much noise and so little trust.

2 thoughts on “The Violinist in the Subway

  1. Kahlil

    I don’t think I would make that mistake. I would recognize Bell + his 1713 Strad anywhere.

    On the other hand I can sympathize with those who do not. That’s the result of getting sensory bombarded all the time. We should all try to ration this precious resource: our attention.

  2. Robert Hruzek

    Before we start beating ourselves up over this one, maybe we should remember that a violinist in a subway – where people are not there to stay, but are there to leave (as soon as possible) – just isn’t the best venue.

    Sure, I’d listen if I had a few minutes, but if I wanted music, I’d carry it with me, or go where I could stop and enjoy.

    I don’t see the problem here. Seems like a story that has more of an emotional effect when written than when spoken.


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