We know what we are, but not what we may be

Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5

Beginning at the 15:45 mark in this video at RSA, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the generative dynamic of learning, comparing it one point to the exchange between actor and theater-goer.

I like that.

Jane McGonigal, who spoke at IdeaFestival 2008, has written extensively about play and alternate reality gaming as a performance of belief, and I think the festival is theatrical in a particular way.

It is to understand that when John Barker said "what is, is possible" last year, he was making not just a comment on the regenerative potential of human biology, his research interest, but saying something about the staggering ability of the human mind to hold out other worlds for examination.

It is to understand that when serial entrepreneur Peter Sims said that "success is a terrible mentor," he was making a comment on the choice to believe in only what we can see or feel at the moment. On this account, failure, likewise, has far less to do with what has happened. It has a much more to do with what we are thinking now.

Even though the festival has featured many incredible people talking about many amazing things, it is really about no-thing at all - that missing limbs are not disqualifying, that that last failure is not defining, and that when it comes to what is, the human mind deals in mere fractions. Battered as it may sometimes be, it is the belief that there is more than this.

"What we are" is worlds away from "what we may be." Harnessed to a worthy goal, make-believe has the generative potential to become belief-made.

Festival Passes for IdeaFestival 2013 are now on sale. But don't wait too long! We're expecting to sell out again.

Stay curious.


Image of the Globe Theater: Attribution Some rights reserved by Arbron