.Learning Becomes Eclectic

An education is more than the sum of its parts

I’ll admit it: When I first read the profile on the Bentley School in this issue, as well as the piece on the breadth of mental health support programs in our private schools, I was envious. Is it too late to enroll? Personal regrets aside–or perhaps because of them—I’ve long ago replaced my scholastic ambitions with the joy of broader explorations. “Discovery” as an antidote to life’s grievances. 

In T. H. White’s 1958 Arthurian classic, The Once and Future King, the mystic-magician Merlin offers his advice on the matter:

“The best thing for being sad… is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”

That’s why putting together each issue of East Bay is so rewarding. This year’s inaugural issue, especially, features a diverse array of opportunities for discovery. The transformational abilities of newts amidst their great local migration are wondrous to behold. Learning about the world of handcrafted instruments—some made of goat skin!—and how entrepreneurs built growing businesses out of their chocolate obsessions fascinates and inspires me. 

Reading about how local nonprofits are bringing food to communities is equally inspiring. And where else but at Cal Performances can we experience a queer rock opera on one night, and a dance performed by over 30 dancers from 14 different African countries on another evening? I look forward to learning more about our “school” of the East Bay with you in the coming months.

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