“We don’t know anything!” was the thought bouncing off the walls of my brain a short while back. I was chatting with a dear friend. He has a degree in physics and was discussing with me, the best he could with consideration of his audience, the principles to quantum mechanics. In short, he taught me that the human perception of the world is essentially based on our limited perceptions of mass and velocity. The terms are married and have a seemingly symbiotic relationship. A baseball, or a mass, cannot be thrown home and swipe the foot of the runner for an out without velocity. A Boeing 747 cannot soar through the air at a velocity of 550-600 mph with out its 735,000 lbs. of mass. We can measure this and have been measuring the two terms together for sometime. Yet, it was not too long ago that scientists were able to separate the particles known to mass and particles known to velocity from each other. My eyes widened. For people like myself, we had never been able to conceive of one of these wonderful words without the other and suddenly, they were separate. It ultimately taught me that our human perceptions and senses are severely limited. I remember asking, “What does that mean?” and he simply shrugged and said, “there is more we don’t know than do know.”
This confounded me, honestly. I was disheartened for a bit. I sat and thought if we are truly this limited in our existence, what is the point? What makes a difference? There was so much I did not know. I thought of all of my limitations. I have quite a few so it took some time. The weekend passed, and Monday I walked into to see twenty-five young college students look at me to lead them and give them the opportunity to discover something new, whether it was about themselves or the world around them. I told them the story of divorce between mass an velocity. I told them that there is more we don’t know than do. I looped the discussion into the plans for that day, believe it or not, and led them in activity and discussion and asked questions I didn't have the answers to. In the discussion the class continued to research and lament our limited perceptions. Yet one student silenced the crowd by saying: “Yeah, but what about what we do know? How amazing is that? We have something, right?” A Cheshire grin grew across my face. It was in that moment I learned one of the most important lessons I have be given: We have something. We certainly do. All we know is each other and all we have is each other. It was not too long after I set myself a trio of standards for my teaching. The rules to teaching are as follows: You have to want to be a teacher, you must teach what you know, and you must always, always, want to know more. Does this not simply sound like a wonderful set of rules not only for a teacher by trade but for all of us? That dear student taught me, there is so very much we don’t know, sure, but that doesn't take a way from what we do. What we do know comes from one another. We all are teachers any time we share what we know with another person. The act of sharing is found in the theater too. It is only right to explore those practices to help us become better teachers, or as the case may be, become better at sharing.
The act of sharing has existed for the human species entire existence and sometimes it is all that we have had: Just two people looking at one another and some stories. In the end, we all only have the desire to belong somewhere, to not feel a lone, and it is through connection, through sharing, that we find that sense of belonging. We become fulfilled. This is power of comfort, of connection, of teaching, and of theater. Admit it, you’re a teacher. So start practicing. Start sharing what you know. It will make a difference.