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 +

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Where all the living geniuses?

Many a time I have noted that lists of geniuses tend to be lists of dead men (with, I am afraid to say, few women...but that may be a cultural thing). It is not the sex of the geniuses that I am here to discuss, today...but the fact that they are, almost always, dead by the time they reach lists of "geniuses". The obvious question arises, therefore: do we not have living geniuses of our own...or does it just take too, too long to recognize genius?

I came across an interesting thought of Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860), the German philosopher, in his work: "On reputation", concerning people's response to genius. It seems to be an appropriate explanation for the situation, so I am quoting it, below:

"Compared with the short span of time they live, men of great intellect are like huge buildings, standing on a small plot of ground. The size of the building cannot be seen by anyone, just in front of it; nor, for an analogous reason, can the greatness of a genius be estimated while he lives. But when a century has passed, the world recognizes it and wishes him back again."

The evidence of those lists of geniuses does nothing to disconfirm Schopenhauer's view. It seems that, too often, society wakes up to the presence of a genius, only after they have gone. This is, of course, almost a cliche in some fields - such as Art - wherein the works of a genius not infrequently only find an audience long after the artist has died. (Think: Van Gogh, for instance.)

My thoughts turn to Singapore. It is a country that has never produced a world class adult genius (though it has the odd child prodigy or two, who may grow into one). No living or dead Singaporean adult, has won the agreement of the world that he or she, is or was, a genius. Now, in the case of those gone, this may be because they just weren't geniuses - but the question is: are there any geniuses now living in Singapore, who are merely suffering from the kind of disregard attendant on geniuses that Schopenhauer wrote of? Are there any Singaporeans who will one day be acknowledged by posterity to have been of true genius? If so, would it not be better to acknowledge them in life and perhaps assist them in their works?

Perhaps, my readers, you would like to propose people of genius that you have encountered - people who have not yet been recognized for their gifts, but who may one day be so recognized, if only people would wake up to their merits. Should you so nominate anyone, make sure you give reasons why you think that they might be a person of genius, in the traditional sense. (I don't mean a "genius" in the modern usage of anyone who can breathe, and entertain people.) Perhaps their nomination might begin the process of their abilities coming to recognition. Nominations may come from anywhere in the world - not just Singapore. Thanks.

(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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals.If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:13 AM 


Anonymous Kaku said...

I consider the world's greatest living genius to be Edward Witten.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

A fair choice. However, there is one problem with Witten's work: it is very narrow: superstring theory. Now, this theory has not yet gathered any experimental proof for it. Should the day come when it DOES, then Witten will go down in history as one of the greatest geniuses. However, should experiment disprove the theory, Witten will not be feted by history, at all...he will be seen as someone very smart who devoted his life to a blind alley. So, he is a fair choice...but a risky one.

Thanks for the nomination.

10:34 AM  

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