The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Chemistry of Charisma

Eight days ago, I saw something both sweet and surprising.

I had brought Ainan to the playground where we live and, instead of playing with the other kids he had set about doing an experiment with the materials to hand in the park area, next to the swings.

Studiously, he attended to the details of his work. I didn't approach closer to see what exactly he was doing, but I knew him well enough to understand that it was The Great Experimenter at work on some investigation or other.

He never looked up once to see what the other kids were up to in the playground, but focussed on his craft. Yet, I was touched to see that, after a few minutes alone with his project, a blond German girl, of the same age as him, left the playground and her friends, to join him. I could see him explain to her what he was doing - and then she began to assist him. The two worked together quite amiably, Ainan quietly directing her efforts. She was still there half an hour later.

It was sweet to see that though he had made no effort to do so, his intensity had drawn the girl to him. There is something charismatic in his manner, that even a young girl can see across a crowded playground.

I think sincerity of purpose is attractive to people of all ages: it has a charisma all of its own - and Ainan has it in plenty. I didn't approach them for fear of disturbing the sense of unity they had achieved, but watched from afar.

It was a beautiful sunset, with my son, at play.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:23 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man... I have noticed that I have some kind of freakish charisma, too... I have to be careful with it... I made a profile on an online dating service and my inbox was halfway full in two weeks. Not only does this pose the problem of how to answer so much email, but also if I talk to them for any length of time they tend to end up enamored. And its not due to my looks, either... Im not bad looking, but I dont even have a pic on my profile, and Im obese. I am reluctant to mention how many poor men are enamored with me right now... :(

I have started to wonder about the nature of this charisma, myself. I think a lot of it is that I have a very good philosophy worked out which lets all the fires inside me shine through. Im a very high energy person, very intense. Now that Ive got a good philosophy that more or less lets the intensity do what it was naturally designed to do... (I didnt always used to. The philosophy given to me by my parents, school and culture, if it can be called a philosophy, was TOTALLY mangled, and misdirected my fires in all kinds of bizarre, deranged, messed up directions... I was a very convoluted, corrupted and dysfunctional person until I finally, recently, managed to get that untangled an acceptable ammount within the last few years)...

Anyway. Im not sure if its about the purpose exactly... but maybe about the energy flow... being "on fire" is dazzling, its beautiful, its powerful, the optimism of it is contageous, and that beauty and power and contageous optomism is magnetic. Maybe it is so fantastic to them because they hope it will rub off on them, or to conceive of a higher level of human potential in those respects inspires them to higher levels and makes them better people.

I wonder if he also attracts their curiosity? I know I do... The poor men. Lol.

Oh yeah a lot of people have told me that to see me being myself so brightly emboldens them to be themselves. So I think the encouragement of seeing someone pull it off, and the curiosity about the philosophy that allows me to do that (although I dont think theyre aware that it IS a philosophy, otherwise theyd ask about it) is a major element. Then again, the people who usually tell me this are gifted and stifled, so Im not sure if that applies to most average people or not... probably at least to some extent?

Also, I think with some people who are very intelligent and creative... they have a sense of possibility that is unusual. Most atmospheres are sort of mundane... the places are full of people who have been told their whole lives that they cant do things, that theyre not special, and in fact they may have difficulty creating and figuring things out. So, I speculate that the air of possibility that is brought into a what is normally mundane space probably seems like magic to them, as if it were a holiday.

What do you think? Does that seem accurate? Any insight?

- Kathy

6:38 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

What you have stated is a definition of charisma from your point of view - and I think it is a valid one which could be summarized as "the magic of a sense of possibility". That is certainly something Ainan exudes, and from your description you do too.

I think what you also allude to is that simply seeing someone who appears to be alive, rather than half-dead, can be very attractive.

As for the men: why not see what they are like? He he. You never know one of them might be really worth spending some time with.

Best of luck with that...and thanks for all your comments.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"seeing someone who appears to be alive, rather than half-dead, can be very attractive."

YES! Why do so many seem half dead? Is it that were uber-alive and we have diffrent standards... or are they really as miserable as they look?

"As for the men: why not see what they are like? He he. You never know one of them might be really worth spending some time with."

Well... sigh *cringe* Like I said, if I talk to them at length, they tend to get enamored... They can become enamored in one conversation. So I try to keep my initial reply short and to the point, and I wont make my responses any more interesting than they have. I estimate that Ive been emailed by something like 150 guys since fall when I made the profile. I just ... I guess I am too merciful to cause 150 guys to get enamored with me just in order to make sure Im not missing someone interesting. I also dont have the time for that. So usually I will tell them something about my personality that I think they wont like, based on what Ive picked up on in their email to me. At least half of them stop responding at that point. To me, thats for the better. Ive been up front, and theyve made their choice.

The ones who respond after that, I will chat with a bit and see how conversation goes. Usually the emails lose steam and die out - this is my fault for not being interested. Lol. It may be that I should put in more effort to liven up conversations... but ... my philosophy is that if I am the one adding the life to the conversation then perhaps he doesnt have much to offer - also, that would cause them to get enamored... So long as they can accept the personality trait I think theyd like the least, Ill let them try to get me interested... If I get bored... *shrug* thats the point where I stop.

I cant say that I have the best strategy, but at least I found some way to deal with a ridiculously large volume of emails. And Ive found that most of the girls these guys are emailing dont respond at all. So by responding at all, Ive already been a bit more thorough...

Anyway. All that doesnt matter right now. I just met this really interesting guy who is cute, funny, smart, charismatic, psychoanalytical, has excellent people skills, and my gut tells me hes a really nice guy. Im releived that I finally found someone Im interested in. Were going out tomorrow :D As long as it goes well, I think Ill set my profiles to inactive. Then I wont have to deal with any more emails for a while, and that thought is a real releif.

- Kathy

1:28 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think modern life saps many people of their vivacity - if they had any to start with.

Good luck with your meeting!

5:18 PM  

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