Gifted people are sometimes called Zebras (a term proposed by French psychologist Jeanne Siaud Fachin). This is in part because zebras are non-domesticable by humans — they are too free-spirited and unpredictable to be tamed and controlled. It sounds like many gifted people we know!
Zebras also stand out from other species because of their loud black and white stripes, much as gifted people stand from the crowd out whether they want to or not. The interesting thing about zebras’ stripes is that they each have a unique stripe pattern – as fingerprints are unique to each human. This brings to mind the popular saying, “If you’ve met one gifted person, you’ve met *one* gifted person” — we are not a homogenous group!
Stripes serve zebras to protect themselves, by blending in with each other when predators are around, as predators cannot make out individuals when all they see is a group of stripes. Siaud Fachin said that gifted people tend to blend into the “herd” when they feel threatened too, which in one way is healthy; however, this can go wrong when a gifted person feels *constantly* threatened and is unable to feel safe enough to find their unique pattern, voice, and expression. Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon experience for many gifted people.
Zebras are highly sensitive and perceptive animals, with excellent eyesight and night vision, excellent hearing with ears that turn in almost every direction, and acute senses of smell and taste. They have very high stamina, are fast, powerful, and resourceful. Every gifted person knows what it’s like to have an exceptional perception, speed, stamina, and resourcefulness in one area or another (or in many all at once).
Today we’re featuring zebras, as it is Endangered Species Day. This is an important time for us to remember that our lives, and even our metaphors and self-concepts, are intertwined with other species. We can understand ourselves better in a context of rich biodiversity around us, and it is up to us to protect that biodiversity (and rich intellectual diversity across species). And just as human “zebras” deserve a dignified life, so do our animal counterparts – many of whom are threatened with extinction due to our high consumption lifestyles and political and economic choices and ideologies. Among zebras, the Cape Mountain Zebra and the Grévy Zebra are both at risk of extinction. It’s estimated that 50% of the earth’s species are currently at risk of extinction due to human action.
It’s equally important that we extend this dignity and responsibility to our fellow human populations which are endangered — namely many indigenous groups. Indigenous people and their cultures bring rich sources of knowledge and connectedness and contribute so much to the beautiful intellectual diversity of our interconnected whole.
Let’s do all we can to protect the animals, our fellow humans, and all other endangered beings on this planet.
(Source: InterGifted via Facebook)