The ideal consumer is someone who is anxious, depressed and constantly dissatisfied. Academic studies from the most respected institutions show that sad people are bigger spenders. Why do you think our lives are saturated with images of flawless, unattainable beauty?
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Beauty
The premise is that Joshua Bell, international virtuoso, one of the best violinists in the world — maybe the best violinist in the world — dresses in jeans, T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap, and for 45 minutes plays several renowned classical pieces (on a good fiddle — the Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius of 1713, purchased by Bell in 2003 for $4 million) in a Washington, D.C., metro station, during a Friday morning rush hour, with a violin case open in front of him for donations.
Do people recognize beauty in everyday life?
No. They don’t. Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department, is the only person out of 1,000 or so passers-by who recognizes Bell.
“It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington,” Furukawa says. “Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters!”
(Some people gave less than that, including pennies. Bell’s total take was $32.17.)
Furukawa enters the video around 1:35, stops 10 feet in front of Bell and listens smiling to the rest of the performance while everyone else in the place goes on about their business. It’s heartbreaking to watch . . . because of the one person who stopped or the thousand others who didn’t, I’m not sure which.
I don’t have a problem with someone using their talents to become successful, I just don’t think the highest calling is success. Things like freedom and the expansion of knowledge are beyond success, beyond the personal. Personal success is not wrong, but it is limited in importance, and once you have enough of it it is a shame to keep striving for that, instead of for truth, beauty, or justice.
My wife’s explaining to our boy how she managed to pass a driving test and get a license without ever taking a driving lesson:
“I drove in Thailand and when I came over here I just took the test. I’m pretty charming. People like happy, smiling people. And when I was young, I was cute. The examiner just said, ‘okayokayokay.’ I hate to say it, but when you’re good looking, you get the benefit.”
I just got an email from a co-worker with a wedding picture attached . . .
Thanks for the picture, I wrote back. I’ve never seen a happier-looking bride, except my wife of course.
She replied, That’s for sure…I really couldn’t of been happier for that moment…
What I didn’t say: You’ll never be that young again. You’ll never be that beautiful again. You’ll never be that happy again . . .
I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.