In my high school days, there was this legendary man we all used to talk about as if we knew him. He was renowned for his intelligence and word had it that he never scored less than a hundred percent on any exam. Some say he drank some kind of concoction that made him so intelligent. Some say even the teachers went to him for the most difficult of math problems. His name was Lamin Leigh. I have never met Lamin Leigh and I have no idea who he is beyond the wild tales we shared amongst ourselves. I knew of one guy who is said to be related to Lamin Leigh and while he wasn’t as intelligent as Lamin Leigh, we all “jealousied” him because he was related to Lamin Leigh. I am not sure whatever happened to Lamin Leigh but I heard that he went to the Whiteman’s land and became highly educated. I hope he forgives us for the tales we narrated of his intelligence. I guess even not-so-bright folks like myself just wanted to be as intelligent as Lamin Leigh!
Then there was this one man with a mental illness. He was said to have studied in England and word had it that he studied the sciences and crossed God’s path and lost his marbles. I prefer not to mention his name here. But he regaled us about life in England and how the whites marveled at his level of education. He was the first one I heard use the word “somnambulism” and I was smitten from then on! In those days, the more big words you know, the more educated you are thought of. I knew of a columnist in a paper whose articles required an encyclopedia and folks thought he was very educated and intelligent. The mentally ill guy was said to be highly educated and folks will use words they swore they heard from him.
And there is my boy Saul. I am not even sure what school he graduated from but let’s say he had all of us beaten hands down. Saul knew how to take a whole engine from one car and somehow transfer it to a different car that was never supposed to run again. Your TV is not working, contact Saul and he will hook you up. Electrical issues, no worries, contact Saul. Building a house, Saul knows about that too. Computers? Let Saul know if you have an issue. Despite his ability to do all these things, he never took any of them as a vocation. He did them as he needed to. We never considered Saul to be educated! What we could all agree with was that Saul is super-intelligent and well-rounded. Saul is the ultimate autodidactic guy!
Then you have someone like Dr Ben Carson. He wanted to be president of America. Somehow they ended up choosing a buffoon for a leader but they could have ended up with a very intelligent, educated and dumb person for president. Not sure if Trump fares any better but here is Carson, a renowned brain surgeon and one considered to be of the best: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that…” He was talking about having a Muslim president in America! Carson also remarked that “Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery…And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control…” You get my drift. The guy is very well educated but dumb as heck
One may need a lot of intelligence to be highly educated. But it does not necessarily have to be the conventional education route! I know of a highly educated young man who never went beyond primary school. I will take a Saul over many so-called educated ones with advanced degrees. Education also does not mean intelligence. Someone can be highly educated and still be generally very ignorant. The trick is in separating the two. Ben Carson is a prime example and I know a few like him!
Alagie Saidy Barrow
Culled from Facebook