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 +

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A sense of achievement.

What does a sense of achievement mean, these days? When I was younger, it had a clear connotation: that of real accomplishment giving rise to solid feelings of having done something worthwhile. Nowadays, it seems to be seem somewhat different.

Recently, I got talking to a student from China. I asked him what his greatest achievement had been, so far. His answer took some time in coming.

"I don't think I have achieved anything in my life. My achievements are all the seeking of pleasure, because I am a hedonist. I used to dance and drink all night long - and abuse drugs. Those are my achievements. Now, I have changed, as I have come of age. Now, I am trying to study English."

His answer was one many young people, today, could have given. Real achievement is not the aim of many of them: pleasure and entertainment are. Many modern lives are shallow things, lived just for sensation. It has even gone so far that a member of this younger generation can regard the pleasure seeking itself as his life's most worthy achievements.

The only hope in his reply is that he perceived that he had changed and that he was now trying to learn English. Colouring that reply, however, is that he often seemed listless in class, as if the life had been drained from him. Perhaps that was the damage done by his earlier lifestyle.

I worry about the future, when the present is filled with people whose aims are shallow. A great future cannot be built on the efforts of shallow people. The civilization that such people would build would, at one time, have been called hell. Is that what the future shall bring?

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight 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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:44 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up. Saint Augustine himself could have told you a similar thing at a similar age. Then he grew out of it and became one of Western civilization's greatest Christian philospophers. That level of greatness after a hedonistic youth is rare indeed. But growing out of it at a later point isn't.

9:54 PM  

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