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, July 30, 2007

Genius and long-term relationships

Do geniuses find long-term relationships difficult to maintain? Is the state of possessing rare powers of the mind, that allow the bearer to think thoughts no-one else has thought, and create works no-one else could have created, something which permanently separates the genius from others?

I ask, as usual, for a reason. Leonardo da Vinci was a striking man in many ways. It was said, that he was physically so impressive that, when he walked through the streets in the morning, on the way to work, that people would line the streets to watch him pass. Everywhere he went he made a vast impression on others. Yet, there is a caveat. You see in all his relatively long life (given the time), Leonardo da Vinci maintained NO long-term relationships, barring that with his adopted son (who was 10 years old at the beginning of their acquaintance).

Why was it that a man of Leonardo's legendary fame - which he achieved in his own lifetime - could not cultivate a range of long-term friendships? Everyone in his life was temporary - they passed on and through, leaving him alone.

Leonardo is known in name, by all alive, in the developed world - yet, in his lifetime, he had few who knew him well - and none who knew him long.

Was this some peculiarity of Leonardo da Vinci himself - or is it the common burden of all men and women of genius?

I have considered this question and believe that the answer is that, for many men and women of genius, the gulf that exists between them, and their more ordinary fellows, is too wide to cross readily and often. They are thus divorced from society. Many of them will, therefore, succumb to solitude, rather than revel in The Other. Yet, all is not lost. People of genius usually find greatest pleasure in their creative work - which, of course, for most disciplines, best proceeds in solitude.

Thus, though sad from a human standpoint, that Leonardo so lacked long-term human contact, from the point of view of his work, and the creative abundance he gave rise to, it is undoubtedly a great blessing on the rest of Mankind, that his mind was turned, so necessarily, towards his work, than towards social interaction. It is certain that Leonardo owed a significant proportion of his creative output, to the solitude that he would have so often found himself in.

So, from a wider perspective, it is for the greater good that geniuses are not so socially engaged, as others are - even if, from a more normal perspective, one would think that they are missing one of the greatest pleasures of human life: friends and love relationships.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and eight months, a scientific child prodigy, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and one month, Tiarnan, eighteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:41 PM 


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