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 +

Friday, May 30, 2008

The relative value of cultures.

What is the value of the modern way of life? Is it any better than that of those ways which preceded it, in the depths of time? I think not.

The way we do things now is a temporary stage; what we value and what we are, is a passing phase; we shall, in time, be surpassed and others will look on us, as primitive. We are not the great "end" of all things that we think we are.

These thoughts are brought to mind by a strange story floating around the internet today. An uncontacted tribe, that has never met with modern men before, has been spotted, from the air, on the border between Brazil and Peru. This tribe live in a "Stone Age" manner. Their houses are huts built from trees. Their weapons are bows and arrows. Their clothes are scanty. Yet, their muscles are strong and lean and they seem physically adept. They have lived, for untold generations, without contact with modern civilization. Imagine, therefore, how they felt when they saw a plane pass over them? Their reaction was swift: out came the bows and arrows - and up they shot, into the air, fruitlessly. No doubt, to them, the plane is some strange beast, a fearful thing to be downed, if it can be - and, in a way, they are right.

What would modern civilization bring to this isolated tribe? Disease, despondency, disillusion, would be their gifts, from us. How would a Stone Age tribe feel to be confronted by a world of jet aircraft, personal computers, mobile phones - and machine guns? The culture shock would be catastrophic. Then there are all the diseases they have never known - diseases which are minor to us, could decimate them. They could be wiped out by the common cold.

I hope that the sighting of the plane is the only contact they will have with us. Let them live in peace as they have for thousands of years. Let them be as they are. No doubt they have their own language, culture and way of life: let them live in their accustomed manner without contact with modern men. Our curiosity about them, which may lead us to contact them, can only destroy everything that they are. I hope that they are left in peace.

Yet, peace may not be their future. Loggers are clearing vast tracks of Amazonian land. When such loggers encounter primitive tribes, the best such tribes can hope for is to move elsewhere. Not infrequently, however, one hears that they are killed, for inconveniently living on land that others want.

Their culture is no less important than ours; their lives no less precious. They should be left alone in their traditional lands. Let the loggers log elsewhere - or don't log at all.

I wish the nameless tribe well - and all uncontacted tribes around the world. Let us be mature enough to give them the space they need to live in peace.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and ten months, and Tiarnan, twenty-seven months, 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, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind, niño, gênio criança, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:10 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wonder if there are any organizations out there trying to save them?

If the land can be bought by a human rights organization, maybe they will be saved! The loggers wouldn't be allowed to cut it down. Random curious people who want to disrupt them would then be trespassing, as the land would be owned. It could be a sort of forest preserve meant as a habitat for an endangered sort of humans (primitive ones).

There must be a way to help. I would certainly contribute if something like that were to be set up.

It may be a vain hope to think they'll never be interfered with. Maybe it would be best to provide immunizations pre-emptively. :(

- Kathy

12:37 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, indeed, Kathy, it would be good to see protection of such ancient communities. Sadly, contact with modern people usually means the end of their way of life, ultimately and often the end of them, through disease. Their long isolation would best continue.

I agree it would be a worthy cause.

Kind regards

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There has to be some organization or person who is already doing something to help these people - even if it is just to host a public forum.

I don't know if I have enough information to find info on this group or to find an organization that is helping them by searching the internet but maybe you do? I mention this because you could link to them from your blog - this would help, a little bit, by bringing the organization more traffic, more donations, etc.

- Kathy

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was really bugging me so I went and looked it up and I was lucky to find information!

Brazil has something called "FUNAI" that protects the natives in the area.

Also, I read that there are dozens or maybe 100 tribes in Brazil! It is good to know that there are so many that have survived!

I still don't know how I could help but I would be interested in knowing if you think of anything.

- Kathy

1:33 PM  

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