Photo Credit: Angie Hill, http://www.angiehillphotography.com/Once there was a baby both brilliant and proud. He was brilliant because he grasped human language at just three weeks of age. Indeed, he could talk at six weeks. But he didn’t talk, because he was proud.
“Why should I use the same language everyone else uses?” he thought. “That’s just imitating what others do.”
So instead of speaking his mother-tongue he made up his own language. At first everyone thought the infant was simply babbling like all babies do. The baby boy spoke clearly and directly in a way that made perfect sense to him: “Mother, I’m hungry,” he would say, but she did not understand his words. Because she loved her child she was acutely aware of his needs and managed to understand his hunger without understanding his language. “The fools,” thought Baby Brilliant. “Anyone can speak their language, but I have invented my own. I refuse to imitate their common speech.” Indeed, he also rejected the facial expressions common his culture. He knew that smiles meant happiness, but when he was happy he would squeeze his eyes shut and puff out his cheeks. When he was angry he would not frown, but instead hold his ears and breath. He had invented new expressions, but no one knew what he was feeling.
At a time when other children were learning their first words and beginning to communicate with words like “Momma” and “Dadda,” he was ready to discourse on the meaning of life. Of course, he had no one to talk to but it did not matter--his great intellect was company enough. He despised other babies and the parents who insisted they imitate the ways of society. Imitation was for sheep, brilliance demanded a new language, new thoughts, new ways. So great was his pride that he refused to communicate with others or imitate their language.
Eventually, at a time when other babies grew into children and toddled off to school (to imitate their elders even more) the Brilliant Baby was packed off to an institution for children “non-responsive to their surroundings.”
There, at the institution, the night nurse fell asleep while reading at her desk, but not before underlining these words by the author: "A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon."
What meaning do you assign to this story? I’d love to know.