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, July 03, 2009

The most famous man in the world.

Who is the most famous man in the world? Indeed, who is the most famous man in history? There are many, many candidates, but, at this time, one comes to mind who really, really, really should not be there.

Whom do you think is the most famous man in history? Most would say Jesus Christ. Others, more topically, might say Barack Obama. The founders of various religions, come to mind: Prophet Muhammad, Buddha and so on. However, there is one man whose fame outshines them all - and whose fame really should not, at all. I would like you to think about who that man might be.

To decide this question, we first need a measure of fame. There is one that researchers into fame have come to agree on: the number of hits, on a search of the person's name, on Google. So, we will use that.

How many hits does the name: "Jesus Christ" get from Google? Well, on the 3rd July 2009, at 10.50 pm my time, in Singapore, it received 48,800,000 hits. That is a very respectable number indeed and does show that Jesus Christ is still uppermost in many people's minds. By comparison, the film star Ewan McGregor received 3,170,000 at the same time. Ewan, while famous, is no Jesus Christ. Even Tom Cruise received only 28,400,000. So, quite happily Jesus Christ is more famous than Tom Cruise (though, perhaps, the great Scientologist would dispute that).

So, is Jesus Christ the most famous man in history? Let us look at Buddha. He receives 29,100,000 hits. That is somewhat more than Tom Cruise - but rather less than Jesus Christ. Then there is the Prophet Muhammad. Here, though, we have a problem in that many people might be speaking of him, in Arabic and that won't appear in my search results. Thus, the results for Muhammad will be an understatement since most of the activity will not be in English. This, perhaps, explains the relatively few 2,760,000 hits for "Prophet Muhammad" in Google.

Can we find anyone more famous than Jesus Christ? He has, in English, beaten the leaders of other religions...he has beaten one of the world's most famous film stars: who could be more famous than him?

Well, one name comes to mind: Barack Obama. A search on Google reveals an astonishing 102,000,000 hits for that name, meaning that Barack Obama is more than twice as famous as Jesus Christ, by this measure. Perhaps that is a reflection of the almost messianic quality he has and the fervour many people show for him. It is, also, because he is always in the news, as "leader of the free world".

So, is Barack Obama the most famous man in the world? Well, I thought so, except that a little suspicion came over me. There was one more name that I wanted to try.

This name had, at the same time as the other searches, 120,000,000 hits. So, there is one person more famous than Barack Obama, making this person, in fact, at this time in history, the most famous person on Earth and in history (though this fame may not endure). Can you guess who that person is?

Michael Jackson is now the most famous person on Earth, according to Google.

Now, that is really something unpalatable, in my eyes. You see, the question has to be asked: is a man who wrote songs and danced to them, really deserving of being almost three times more famous than Jesus Christ? Or over forty times as famous as the Prophet Muhammad in English? What, exactly, makes Michael Jackson more deserving of our attention than the founders of the world's great religions? It is absurd. Michael Jackson's fame is completely absurd.

Michael Jackson's significance, in real terms, is dwarved by Jesus Christ, Buddha or the Prophet Muhammad - yet he is, at this time, more famous than any of them. All he did was create rather simple songs and dance to them. That is all. His songs are not particularly complex, not particularly indicative of great musicality (to my ears) - as music, in fact, they are outclassed by the works of many dead European composers. Yet, Michael Jackson is feted, in death, as if he were God himself. Frankly, it is both silly and disturbing. Yes, it is sad that a man who had so many plans, should die before achieving them. However, it does not merit, in any way, the 24/7 attention by the news media, he has received since his unexpected death. The only kind of death that WOULD merit that kind of response is that of a great genius, the founder of a world religion, or a humanitarian who had improved the lot of millions of his/her fellow humans. A song and dance man does not merit this kind of response.

There are those who call Michael Jackson a "genius"...well, to do so, is to kind of forget the nature of the contributions of true geniuses in music and other areas, in the past. The work of true geniuses is, always, of greater richness, complexity, depth and value than the entire body of Michael Jackson's works.

However, nothing I say will make any difference to the avalanche of eulogies and praise that has followed his death. I have no doubt that the attention will roll on for many more years to come. The whole global population will be steadily brainwashed into believing that the death of Michael Jackson is one of the most significant events in the 21st Century - and that the world will never be the same without him. Yet, none of the media manipulation will alter the bare facts of the situation: a song and dance man, of some skill, but not one of the world's "great geniuses" has died, somewhat before his time. That is all.

Of course, Michael Jackson deserves a fair measure of fame, simply for being one of the world's best selling "artists"...but he does not deserve to be the most famous person in history. That is ridiculous and, in a way, reflects how shallow modern society has become, that it should elevate to the position of "most famous" a man of such relative insignificance, in the great scheme of things. Were we living in deeper times, with people who had higher standards for what they regard as important, Michael Jackson would have received, for one day only, a brief mention, in the middle of most newspapers - and then they would pass on, having said all that needed to be said. However, in these shallow times, the death of a creative minnow, has resulted in a whale of a response. Indeed, the response, in some ways, seems more of an entire ocean, than a single whale.

Watching the endless publicity attendant on Michael Jackson's death, I was left to wonder how did the world treat the death of someone who had truly made a significant contribution: Albert Einstein? If you, my reader, were alive at that time and have memories of Albert Einstein's death, could you comment below about what the posthumous publicity was like? Was it as great as now Michael Jackson is receiving? If not, something is wrong with the world...for if a person of truly significant achievement receives less attention than a song and dance man, it says, most clearly, that the modern world doesn't know what is truly important (or that they didn't know in the 1950s).

Memories of Einstein's passing, below, please...if you have them.

(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 @ 10:47 PM 


Blogger Christine said...

I own a copy of Einstein's biography by Walter Isaacson. It is a good read. Einstein contributed so much to science because of his ideas on space being related to time. I find it intriguing how time is different in different places in space.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. He is an interesting man. My particular interest in him, now, is in whether he was feted in death, to the same degree that Michael Jackson presently is being: if not, why not?

Thanks for your comment.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike science and politics, music is generally more accessible to people. MJ's music in particular broke down language and culture barriers.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I understand the accessibility issue, and the crossing of barriers...but this still doesn't change the fact that his fame seems way out of proportion to his real significance. Far more significant historical figures have only a fraction of MJ's fame. It is rather bizarre, in a way.

Thanks for your comment.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only kind of death that WOULD merit that kind of response is that of a great genius, the founder of a world religion, or a humanitarian who had improved the lot of millions of his/her fellow humans."

There's your own answer. Michael Jackson has supported more charities than any other popular artist--giving over 300 million dollars throughout his life. Not to mention that the majority of his music was that of a humanitarian and usually consisted of lyrics about helping people, helping the earth, love, and togetherness.

He dedicated his life to being a humanitarian. And, unlike most people that are as generous to do that, Jackson had the fame, power, and money to actually make a difference. And although that's not why he's as famous as he is (thanks to the shameful ways of he media)... it does make him deserving. Both by my logic and yours.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I'm the same guy who posted anonymously before)

Also... if there actually is something about Michael Jacksons fame that reflects the shallowness of the modern world, it's in how misunderstood he was.

And the reason he was so misunderstood was by the media. Who instead of conscentraiting on Jackson's humanitarian work, focused on the way he looked instead. With all he had accomplished in his art and charity work, Jackson's fame could have been turned into quite the inspirational tale for many people (especiall considering he was also battleing vitilgo and lupus sense the 80's).

He was one of those rare human beings that actually tried to make a difference and lived life as a good person. And we tore him down for it, believing that it was to srange to be true. "How could anyone be that kind?" we'd think, and come to the conclusion that they couldn't be, and that he must have evil motives behind it all.

He had a fame built on misunderstanding. But if he hadn't been so misunderstood... I don't think the fame would've stuck. Because honestly, who thinks being a giving person and singing about helping people is cool? Unfortunately, no one in this world. But as long as he sounded cool and looked like he floated while dancing, who really cared what he sang about?

... you're right about the world being shallow. But the real problem is the worlds ignorance.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for your comment on Michael Jackson's fame, nature and goals.

I will let your comments speak for themselves except to remark that, unfortunately, the situation with Michael Jackson is not clearcut: there are so many contradictory accounts of what kind of person he was floating around, that it makes it impossible, without further information to decide whether he was, as you say a great humanitarian, or something darker. It is sad that there should be this doubt. However, I think it likely that there will be clarification eventually, as people who spoke against him, confess to their wrong doing (if they spoke untruly) as they age, and grow wiser about the world and their place in it - or alternatively, confirmation of what they said, comes to light.

As for myself: I will refrain from expressing a view, because I simply do not know this man at all.

Thank for your comment. It would be great to think that he was as you say.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From MOL:

Michael Jackson was, IN FACT, a great humanitarian.

The guy donated 350 millions to charity, visited hospitals and orphanages every week (remember the reason as to why Romania loves Michael?), helped 65 millions of people in Africa and also helped 30.500 (number still being updated)kids.

The owner of MJJ community (member of Make a Wish foundation) would call Michael everytime a kid was dying. Michael would ALWAYS visit the kid, pay for his/her treatments and treat him/her like a king/queen.

Jackson would deliver speechs in Universities about children and would start crying during those speeches.

In 2002, it was found that Michael had given 120 millions, anonymously, to numerous hospitals.

Remember that Michael's second accuser (who had also accused many people, including his father of paedophilia and admitted that he was lying) was dying from cancer when Michael "discovered" him. Michael gave him everything and was, just like the kid and his family said before seeing dollar signs, the greatest person they had ever met.

Ratner, who knew Michael, says: "He was the most inspirational person in my life. His one dream was to cure all the sick children in the world. And when I'd say, 'Isn't that impossible?' Michael would just start to cry. He was very emotional about things that moved him. I guess you'd have to say he was a pure innocent in a world that wasn't so innocent anymore. Michael was God-like."

Watch this video and pay attention to the part where Michael helped the kid who needed a liver transplant:

Watch Dave Dave's, a kid who Michael helped, interview:

Watch this:

But the media wants BAD news. Telling everybody that Michael Jackson was a humanitarian doesn't increase ratings. However, twisting information and showing prosecution information does.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well, MOL, I have given you space to put your view.

It would be good to think things were as you say. However, there are lots of things we don't know and can't know. We can't know, for instance, if there was any truth to the multiple accusations that were made against him in his life. Maybe they were true, maybe they were not: they could just be seeking payoffs...or there might have been truth to them. We can't know.

Yes. One of the accusers has been shown to be quite doubtful. So, we must suspend judgement.

Best wishes to you...and may he rest in peace.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my life, I have never seen a Great Humanbeing other than Michael. I KNOW 1st hand how he helped people. I'm from Ethiopia and some relatives of mine were one of the people that were affected by Famine in Ethiopia in 1984/85. Michael WROTE A SONG THAT SOLD FOR OVER $60MIL, and guess where it went to? Yes, ETHIOPIA AND to OTHER neighboring countries.

Isnt he the one who raised charity$$ for 2001's Terrorist Attack in the US?(911)? Wrote "What more can i give" and sang it with all the famous artist of then. Now why doesnt the media tell you anything about that. And why doesnt the media tell you that the Santa Barbara District Attorney ASKED the FBI If they could try Michael in "THE MANN Act"(Which was done to Jack Jonson and Chuck Berry!) Because they didnt find anything on him. And the BOY NEVER Testified in court. The boys father "EVAN Chandler KILLED HIM SELF"! hmmm i wonder why?
Charlie Chaplin was also accused of things but was found INNOCENT Like Michael. I think that is one of the reasons why Michael Loved Chaplin.

INFO: On the Mann Act

If you want to talk about the accusations...well it speaks for itself. Michael DID NOT pay off the first accuser (HIS INSURANCE Company did) You can read the FBI Report if you want. And the second one, These ppl. had history of extortion. THE JC PENNY story, if you've hread, that the mother of the accuser (JANET) said that she was sexually assaulted and got over a $100,000 in settlement. EVEN NOW, She's in court for WELFARE FRAUD! So here are ALL THe facts on the table...

WATCH This vid. It's about a boy who accused of MIKE after the '93 case. IN CANADA, Later to be found out it was...FOR $$$

THE WORLD WAS NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF A PERSON. PURE! When people are this nice, do they have to have an EVIL Motive behind it? Well Not Michael. He gave his all and only wanted to be loved. But what did the world do? Distroyed him until GOD Finally had it with humans and took him to his side. He's in a better place now.

No offence but instead of saying I dont know if he was guilty or not or if he wasnt a good person or not, Do some research hun, really. It would help you out a lot. ESPECIALLY, read the FBI documents on Michael, It would shed a light over this topic...

Tnx for writing this...I hope you understand everything that was going on, and what the media tried to cover!!!

8:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Romi, for your background information on Michael's accusers. I had no idea about this material.

Of all that you say, I find it particularly stunning that Evan Chandler should have killed himself. Why would he do that? What does that mean? There is clearly more to that case than we are aware...for it is not clear, from what we know, for sure, why he would kill himself.

Should it turn out that Michael was a man hounded by opportunists, it would be sad indeed, for him. Yet, I am sure that, over time, the truth will come out. These things tend to, when there is no more money to be had, and the man himself has gone. People may acquire a conscience as they grow older, and let people know what actually happened.

It is particularly unsettling that some of his accusers should turn out to be fraudsters. That is a big warning sign and should cast doubt on the mass media view of him.

Thank you for helping people come to understand MJ.

Kind regards

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To call Michael Jackson simply someone who sang and danced truly undermines all of the great work that he did and genius that he was. While Michael may not have gotten to finish the classical and jazz pieces that he was working on and his music may have been 'simple,' but it reached many people on a level that few musicians ever had the pleasure to.

Also, Michael Jackson changed the entire music industry and introduced 'American music' to the rest of the world. He's also the first black mega-superstar. He always raised the bar for his peers forcing them to try even harder to compete with him.

As well being an innovator of technology and music he was a humanitarian as others have said. He's the only celebrity to have donated millions of his OWN money to hundreds of charities. He didn't need to jump in front of a tv screen to it. He didn't need the recognition. He did because he, geniunely, wanted to.

I think that it's important that you should go on youtube and watch him and his performances. Read up more on him so you can see it for yourself.

2:03 AM  
Blogger mmatiatou said...

Respectfully agree to disagree.
Mr Jackson WAS a genius.He crossed barriers,transcended generations,unified nations and races with his unique prodigy. And he was an unparalleled humanitarian who relieved thousands of suffering souls,financed therapies of sick children and supported hundreds of charities.
We had the priviledge of being CONTEMPORARIES to him.It is only natural that he is the most seeked name in search engines.We live in the internet era.We have spent our lives with Michael Jackson.The same thing would have happened if Einstein or Mozart were our contemporaries as well.
Each genius has his special place in the history of humanity.And they are all God's gifts to people.
Thank you for your consideration.

3:19 AM  
Blogger mmatiatou said...

Respectfully agree to disagree.
Mr Jackson WAS a genius.He crossed barriers,transcended generations,unified nations and races with his unique prodigy. And he was an unparalleled humanitarian who relieved thousands of suffering souls,financed therapies of sick children and supported hundreds of charities.
We had the priviledge of being CONTEMPORARIES to him.It is only natural that he is the most seeked name in search engines.We live in the internet era.We have spent our lives with Michael Jackson.The same thing would have happened if Einstein or Mozart were our contemporaries as well.
Each genius has his special place in the history of humanity.And they are all God's gifts to people.
Thank you for your consideration.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said... have a point, re. being contemporaries. It is difficult to judge how much internet attention Einstein would have received, were he still around...though it would probably be more than he has now, having died half a century ago.

Thank you for the politeness of your comment: it speaks for itself.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Youtube.

I shall try to find the time to have a look.

Thanks for your perspective.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you forgot to mention that Michael Jackson WAS a humanitarian. you said that that had to be a prerequisite. during his life, and continuing with his estate, he has given an astonishingly big amount to charity. and it continues. this is not astonishing that he gave's astonishing that there are people who give that greatly. it's no surprise that Michael gave that big. and that his estate still does.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Wayne said...

In two thousand years , no one will remember who Micheal Jackson and Obama where , Jesus Christ name will be remember till the end of time.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Maktub29 said...

Well I live in Latin America and if you go to the mountains and talk to those living over there they will know Jesus Christ but I dont think they will know who Michael Jackson was the same if you go to Africa ...I believe thats a reality for a specific group of people ...yes the world is shallow and unfair they mocked at Michael Jackson ...The man was so talented and yes he was a genius in his music and in this part of the world he will be remembered as a humanitarian but we will never understand all the media attention over his death ,we thought they hated him...maybe they like him lol who knows ...The world is shallow indeed and unfair there are a lot of heroes helping people good hearts men and women who deserve respect but sadly nobody knows them and todays examples ....lady gaga?/ the world is crazy ...all the singers talked and cried about Mr.Jackson just wish they could be humans and help as he did.....but no I dont think he is the most famous man in History ....He was important yes but that title doesnt belong to him

3:12 PM  
Blogger Muhammad Salman said...

michael jackson is not the most famous because all the Muslims and more than half christians and all other religions know about Prophet Muhammad (saw).and like Prophet Muhammad (saw) people also know about Jesus Christ. so i think that Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Jesus Christ are the most famous people in the world

12:47 PM  
Blogger samboi said...

Yo im from africa and tell you what show a picture of jesus the kids know, show a picture of michael jackson in that billie jean attire the kids know.hey people the man was black and we africans remember that and also respect him because he opened way for black people during the time when racism was at its dont tell mj is unknown as long as we talk of moonwalk kids will always know michael jackson. God bless you all and rip michael jackson our king of pop

9:42 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your comment Samboi.

10:35 PM  

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