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 +

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ainan's historical perspective on cars.

A few days ago, Ainan, ten, made a remark that, upon reflection, seems to echo with significance, for what it says about the history of our world.

"The losers in World War II," he observed, intently, "are the winners in modern cars."

He went on to explain himself, "The Germans and the Japanese make great cars...but British and American cars are just lame."

I was struck by the oddness of this observation - and its truth. Germans are famous for the quality of their cars - and some Japanese firms, too...but, though Americans like to crow about their technological superiority, they are not known for their great cars. They are mainly known, in the car field, to my mind, for poor mileage and that is about it.

Ainan had noted something odd: how is it that the two nations who LOST World War II should end up so superior in the design, manufacture and engineering of such a basic modern technology as the car? It instinctively seems the wrong outcome. It seems that the shock of losing World War II has energized something in these two nations and brought out a greatness they weren't quite able to muster in the War. Perhaps, indeed, losing the War was their making, in an unexpected fashion.

How funny that Ainan - whose primary interests are purely scientific and technological - should have noted this historical oddity.

(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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:04 AM 


Blogger Demel said...

An equally shocking thing would be that Americans who don't go overseas much wouldn't realize this - Japanese cars are quite the rarity there due to quotas, I believe.

When Ainan puts it that way it does seem like a rather interesting point, as irrelevant as the two seemingly are

8:38 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, the key word is "seemingly"...I think Ainan has identified a fundamental historical force. Something very important is happening here.

re. Americans. Yes. The typical American has zippo understanding of the outside world...indeed, it is not entirely their fault, since their national media are very insular in some ways: all they rant on about is America, America, America...

I think the typical American would find a truly global perspective on the state of the modern world, rather sobering.

Thanks, as ever, for your comment Demel.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Slawek Rogulski said...

I think that great engineering prowess in he character of these two nations: Japan and Germany. I do not see the correlation from that to their loosing the war. I think it is an oversimplification that ignores a great many factors which decide the winners and losers in a conflict such as a war. Perhaps the inference is that having a world class automotive industry is not a prerequisite or a predictor of superiority in an armed conflict.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Slawek. Ainan is simply observing that those who lost the war, have better car making skills in the modern world. That much is true. He is not trying to express the totalit of the war experience in a few words. However, he does have a point.

Your turning of it on its head is interesting: seeing car making skill as NOT a predictor/indicator of war winning skill. Maybe so...

8:16 AM  
Blogger Louis said...

I finished watching HBO's series, "The Pacific" last week and saw that at the end of the war (and I verified from an additional source - there were more labor strikes than at any time before in the US.

Perhaps it was winning the war that allowed the unions to thrive and choke out the auto industry of the winners. It wasn't too long ago that the US gov't bought Chrysler because they were "too big to fail".

8:32 AM  

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