One easily forgets that human education proceeds along highly theatrical lines. In a quite theatrical manner the child is taught how to behave; logical arguments only come later. When such-and-such occurs, it is told (or sees), one must laugh. It joins in when there is laughter, without knowing why; if asked why it is laughing it is wholly confused. In the same way it joins in shedding tears, not only weeping because the grown-ups do so but also feeling genuine sorrow. This can be seen at funerals, whose meaning escapes children entirely. These are theatrical events which form the character. The human being copies gestures, miming, tones of voice. And weeping arises from sorrow, but sorrow also arises from weeping.
Bertolt Brecht (found in Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic)
Terry Eagleton likes this quote and has used it at least twice in his work. (See, Against the Grain and How to Read a Poem.) Eagleton highlights the problem with Brecht’s culturalist perspective. For example, infants laugh before they have grasped the social institution of laughter. However, he realizes Brecht is on to something. Basically, the theater shows Brecht something about real life that real life tends to conceal. To share a language is to share a way of life. It’s not about sincerity or lack of sincerity at all, which a lot of people likely tend to believe about such statements.(via dagseoul)