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, January 28, 2008

Heath Ledger: "Natural Causes" or Karoshi?

There is speculation on the internet that Heath Ledger, the actor, may have died from "natural causes". This is said because rumour has it that the toxicity level of the drugs in his system would have been insufficient to kill a man.

I don't know if this is true. The official autopsy report is not yet out. However, granting that it is so, then we have to look elsewhere. Some are saying that he just had a heart attack. This sometimes happens, even with young, non-obese people. Sometimes, people have an undiagnosed heart defect or disorder and the first thing they know about it, they are dead. This may be so. However, there is another explanation: karoshi.

Karoshi is a Japanese concept - it means "Death from overwork". Let us look at Heath Ledger's life in the last few months: he was filming non-stop; he was sleeping very little; he spoke of being "stressed out"; interviewers described him as "twitchy" and "on-edge". He was a man who clearly was pushing the limits way too much. It could just be that he is a victim of overwork - a death by karoshi.

Again, we come back to the realization that his fame killed him. Whether it be suicide, accidental overdose or overwork/karoshi, Heath Ledger's work as a film star is what killed him.

His case is a reminder that, no matter how "well" our careers are going, no matter how many "opportunities" are coming our way, no-one should ever set aside a reasonable degree of rest and peace and quiet for it. To do so, is to risk an early demise. Perhaps employers in general could learn a lesson from this example: don't push your staff too hard - if you value your employees isn't it better to push a little less hard and let them get enough rest, so that that employee is able to continue to contribute to the company long-term rather than burn-out/breakdown/drop dead?

Everyone should be allowed to rest - and not just rest in peace.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and seven months, and Tiarnan, two years exactly, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, 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 @ 4:21 PM 


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