Mar 3, 2010

Idiot Savants

Idiot savant is a French word meaning "learned idiot". Eugene Peterson talks about the first time he came across this word when he was a boy in his book "Jesus Way."

Peterson writes:
One of the chores to which my friend was routinely assigned by his parents was what they called "riding fence." It was mindless work: he simply rode his horse along the barbed wire fence that enclosed the cattle, who were always, it seems. Looking for breaks or weaknesses. When he found one he repaired it...

He told me that cattle are the dumbest members of the entire livestock family, animals of "little brain." But in one thing they are absolutely brilliant: they have a genius for finding a hole or weak place in a fence. And the moment they find it they are through it, leading their sister cows and brother bulls after them into dangerous terrain where they have no skills for protecting themselves or avoiding calamity. You then have to spend the next two or three days rounding them up and returning then to where they belong and be kept alive.

I never knew human beings and cattle had so much in common: idiot savants.

James <><
twitter @JamesKimLCOP
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