Was it simply because GBS had a lousy time at school?
Like Shaw, I didn’t relish school much. But unlike him, ‘I can do and I can teach’. And I revel in it. Why? Because I learn from teaching. It makes me think.
If I’m among a sparky bunch of students, as was the case in Lincoln, there’s an almost palpable buzz around them. And when I go home, I take some of that buzz away with me.
Another plus, is that the craft issues I drone on about the most are generally the ones I’m in danger of neglecting. So by teaching others, I improve my own craft.
Of course, there is a downside to teaching, especially in the winter months when sneezing, coughing, gobbing, students spread their germs with gusto.
And let’s not forget the other huge minus to teaching; students who just don’t get it. All teachers will recognise them. They’re disruptive because they think they already know it all. Perhaps like GBS?
Now reading Man and Superman, I am not impressed by GBS’s characterisation nor the drama of the piece – and incidentally, the opening sequence is a dramatic cliché. But I note his emphasis on intellect. I suppose this is appropriate for a philosopher.
However, by contrast, any Shakespearian play makes me think about the humanity of the characters whether it’s poor ambitious Lady Macbeth, bitter, hurt Shylock or lovelorn fool Bottom. And when I think about the characters’ humanity, I reflect on my own.
As a writer, I seek not to prove how clever I am, which is frankly, not very clever at all. But to connect and share my humanity.
Following my visit to Lincoln, I heard that my talk had stimulated a discussion about the goal of happiness. For me, this is a result. I provoked them to think and they did the same for me. Thank you Lincoln!