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 +

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The impossibility of Truth.

It is a very strange thing, to be known, by those we do not know. However, we are. There are many people in the world, who think they know about us. I have seen them comment on blogs and in the odd forum, as if they truly know us. Their words are written with certainty and argued authoritatively. Funny enough, at times, they have even argued with me, against my own view of myself – as if I, of all people, would not be in a position to know my own life, well. The oddest thing about all of this, however, is how often those who write of us are wrong about us – and odder still, just how wrong they are.

There are many reasons why they are wrong. One of the primary reasons is that the Singaporean media has been lying about us. Thus, people living in Singapore, or who read Singapore’s newspapers online, have picked up misinformation calculated, by the state of Singapore, to diminish us, and elevate themselves. It is state propaganda designed to “build the nation” and disparage anyone perceived as a threat – apparently us. Thus, in some cases, it is not the fault of the forum commenters that they are wrong about us – because they have been lied to, and chosen to believe the lies.

There are other reasons, too, why people are misinformed about us. One big reason is that many bloggers and forum commenters simply make things up. They lie, from their own motives, about us. They add details which have no correspondence in reality. They make assumptions which are simply not true. They even create arguments to try to prove their erroneous viewpoints, drawing on “evidence” which more often than not, is itself not true, either. Some even lie about knowing us or our family personally – yet reveal themselves to be liars, in this respect, even if anonymous, because their “information” is so far wrong that it could not possibly have come from anyone who genuinely knows us. Once, someone even claimed, online, to have been Ainan’s personal tutor for his Chemistry O level – when, in fact, he has NEVER HAD A TUTOR. It is quite astonishing what some people say.

Basically, there are a lot of liars on the net – and a lot of lies, too. Some of the lies are faithfully retold, by innocent parties, who genuinely believe them to be true. Some lies, however, originate with the commenter and are mischievously invented. Whichever type of lie it is, they are damaging in the sense that they obscure the truth. We become forever less accurately known. Who we really are, becomes successively more obscured, by the fibs floating around. Ultimately, we become lost to view, who we are, forever unknowable by anyone who doesn’t actually know us.

Now, why does this concern me? Well, because I think it important that the public image, reflects an underlying truth. If the public image is commandeered by those with an agenda designed to confuse it, obscure it, or diminish it, then people come to believe that we are, who we are not. This, I think, is perilous. For what would happen, one day, should Ainan continue to be interested in science and should he continue to develop as he is? Well, the time may come when he is a successful, perhaps influential adult scientist. His work might become substantial and respected. He might even become someone of whom a biography might one day be written. That day, is a dangerous day, given the obscuration of the truth on the net. For what would inform that biography? Would the biographer dig back into the internet past and discover a lot of misinformation? It may come to be that lies become committed to paper as biographical history. It may one day be, that those lies become the official record. Ainan’s life might forever be known, by tales first imagined on some blogger’s page, or forum commenters mischievous comment. That would, I feel, be a pity. It would be a great shame if Ainan were one day to be “known” on the basis of officially believed and recognized misinformation. Yet, what can we do to prevent this? It seems that there is little to be done, except what I am doing: telling our tale, daily, on this blog, as it truly is, and not as some people might have you believe it to be. I hope that it is enough. I hope that biographers are wise enough to ignore the nonsense on the net and listen preferentially to those who actually know what they are talking about.

Indeed, the truth is so different at times, from the opinions and views and “facts” voiced on the internet that it seems to me that, at this time, there is only one possible source for a biography that would have any hope of being true – and that is ourselves. Any other source, would just be a compendium of misinformation, mischievous lies, mistaken gossip – and state propaganda. The truth of Ainan would be completely lost beneath the weight of utter nonsense.

Come to think of it, it will probably always be true that the only source of reliable information, will be ourselves. Any source removed from us is, more often than not, either misunderstanding the situation, guessing, or, quite simply, making it all up.

This experience has taught me to be wary of the public information on public figures. I am sure, given our experience, that much of what we think we “know” about public figures is total nonsense. Our understanding of these people, is informed by a lot of misinformation – some deliberate, some otherwise. In fact, I am of the view, now, that we don’t KNOW any of these public figures, at all. We only think we know. Our consumption of the media, has given us the delusion that we think we know these people, that we have some understanding of their lives. However, I am sure that this is not so. They will not be, in any case, as we imagine them to be. Sure, we will know some core events in their lives – but much of what we think we know, will be untrue. Thus, the overall picture of any public figure, will be essentially false.

That is, I think, an important insight. We would all do well, to bear it in mind, whenever we read of a public figure. What we think we know, may actually be nothing more than a myth, spread by the mischievous, or those who have innocently misunderstood. We should, therefore, sift carefully what we read and test it for likelihood, and consistency with all we think we know about that person. There will be some truths in there somewhere. The only problem is that there will be a lot of lies, too. The trick is to distinguish the two, and come to one’s own, genuine understanding of the public figure. Alternatively, we can safely assume that what we read of them, is nothing but amusing fiction and treat it all as a good story.

As for us: I will continue to write this blog and try to put our view across. I can only hope that people are wise enough to realize that our source is the only one that actually knows of what it speaks. Everyone else is largely guessing, making it up or spinning propaganda. At the very best, everyone else’s information is secondhand. At the worst, it is a carefully crafted lie. Personally, I know which source, in the circumstances I would go to. I hope you do, too.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:44 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep writing man..keep it up..i'm a frequent reader here :) send my salam to ainan..he will be somebody someday..

4:01 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your salam, I will pass it on.

Yes, Ainan is likely to be "somebody" some day. That would be good to see.

Kind regards

10:02 AM  

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