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, November 05, 2007

Society's obligation to the gifted

Does society have an obligation to the gifted? I think so. However, I also think that society has an obligation to all its citizens (and non-citizens) alike.

Each of us is born with a certain potential. Some will have more potential than others. A few will have great potential indeed. Yet, the sad truth is that few people reach the fullest of their potential - and this is largely the fault of the societies they are born into. Most societies are rather neglectful of the gifts of their people. Indeed, the more gifted the person, the more neglectful society tends to be. The common feeling is that the "gifted" have enough already and can do without the active support of society. Yet, this is not true, as anyone who has looked closely at the challenges facing the gifted knows. Indeed, the more gifted a child, the more unusual their needs become. So, in that sense, the need of the gifted is greater than that of their more average fellows.

Does any society truly recognize this situation? Well, it is hard to think of one that distinguishes itself in this sphere. There is a lot of room for improvement in every country of the world of which I am aware. The gifted are, by and large, neglected everywhere. Partly, this is the result of political forces: the gifted are the smallest of minorities and so, in terms of sheer numbers, they have little voting power and little democratic weight. It is easy, therefore, to shove their concerns to one side and ignore them, because doing so will never get a politician voted out of office. The ones the politician will pay heed to, therefore are the MAJORITY: the ordinary, ungifted, average voter types. Thus, the needs of the ordinary person will tend to be met, in democratic societies - but the needs of the extraordinary, the unusual, the prodigious and the profound will be ignored. These people, being rare, have no significant weight in society. They are, therefore, invisible to the democratic process.

This is very dangerous. For the very long-term health of each and every society is inextricably tied up with whether or not the most gifted people are able to flourish and make a contribution, in whatever area, to the best of their ability. If they are not, the whole society is weakened. The whole society will, ultimately, fail. So, even though the gifted are small in number, they must NEVER be ignored. To do so, is to ensure, with absolute certainty, the long-term decline of a society. Without the efforts of the gifted, there will be no progress, no advancement, just cultural and scientific stagnation.

So, society has an obligation to the gifted, precisely because it has an obligation to itself. A society must first ensure its own future health. This is actually synonymous with ensuring the future prospects of its gifted minority. Societies which ignore this, will not be societies for long.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and eleven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and four months, and Tiarnan, twenty-one months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:30 PM 


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