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, October 01, 2010

Changing the English language.

Today, someone arrived on my site, with the search terms: "Is Ainan a name?"

I found that most revealing. You see, to use Ainan's name, they must have heard it. Yet, to ask the question, they must also not be conscious of who he is. Thus, Ainan has influenced their knowledge of the world, by placing the word "Ainan" in their mind - but he has not informed them of his existence. This is very interesting and it is overwhelmingly likely to be because of my son, Ainan, for he is the most well known bearer of that name, in the world.

It is a funny thought, but by naming Ainan, Ainan, we have made that word better known. Of course, we could not have known, in advance, what Ainan was going to be like. However, in choosing such a rare name, we have had the effect of making a rare name, widely known. This person in Brighton, East Sussex, in England, who was searching today, has clearly heard our son's name - even if all other details of his story have been stripped from his name, such that the name stands alone and unadorned with any identity, as it appears to be in his or her mind.

It is a strange thought, that. Somehow, Ainan's name has become known to this person, without any other details of his life story or actual existence being known to them. Had they known that a boy called Ainan existed, they wouldn't have to ask whether his name was a name: his use of it, makes it a name, by definition, for he is so named. Thus, they know Ainan's name, but do not know of his existence. To me, this means one thing: Ainan is actually changing the choice of words available to English language speakers - and most probably speakers of other languages, too, around the world. The word "Ainan" is becoming known to them, perhaps by word of mouth, indeed most probably so, since were it by direct media, this person would know Ainan's story well and would know that a boy of such a name existed.

So, even if Ainan has no other effect on the world, (which I doubt), he has already left an imprint of his name upon it. That imprint is growing and spreading and becoming a word in the minds of people all over the world. Some know that he is a boy and of what a boy he is - but others, like my searcher, know nothing but the word. Ainan has, therefore, become part of the languages of the world, a sound in people's minds - a word that ranges from no attached meaning, to much attached meaning, depending on what else they know about who is the most famous bearer of the word.

The thought gets stranger as I hold it in my mind. Is this the first effect of a person upon the world, who is to change it? Do they first change the language...alter the choice of words and terms available in people's minds? Ainan is now a word in hundreds of millions of minds, where once there was not such a word. Over time, the meaning of that word, will grow and change. Should he affect the world enough, the word Ainan, might be a noun of more general meaning, than just a name - or even an adjective. It would have become a word that, perhaps, embodies not only the sound of his name, but the essence of his person. Ainan might one day become a concept, in people's minds: a word that captures what Ainan is. This process has already begun, for he is already a word in people's minds, who know so little about the word, that they do not even know it is a name.

I wonder what the word "Ainan" will one day, mean? What associations will accrue to it? Will they be permanent connotations, that never fade from the languages of the world? Will the word, Ainan, become a ubiquitous one found in many of the world's languages, carrying much the same meaning in each? This is possible, for the unitary concept behind them, at present, is Ainan himself. That he is one being, with this name, presently known and becoming more known to the world, could so easily mean that, one day, his name might enter all the languages of the world, in countries that communicate with mass media. His name might become a single concept present on all tongues.

For, now, however, he is my young son. I know what "Ainan" means for me - and it is something richer, deeper, more rounded and resonant than it could possibly mean for anyone else, except my wife and his siblings. Yet, I know this: something of Ainan is seeping into the world, and staining it with his hue: he is becoming an influence on the wider world, part of it, a shaper of it, slowly, and who knows what, eventually. Though he is but 10 years old, he has already become an idea in some people's minds - and a word, divorced from all attendant meaning, in others. He has began a journey, whose ultimate end cannot be known, in which what Ainan is, reaches out to the world, to touch it. I cannot know the full extent or nature of that touch or its reverberant effects: but that search today (and many other signs) tells me that it has already begun.

Ainan is my young son - but to the world, perhaps, one day, he will seem to be much more than one man's son. I cannot know what that will be, but at its core, there will be a concept, one that grows over time, deepens, enriches, until it is something rather complex indeed. It will be something known to all, understood by some. That concept will be the sum total of the effects of my son, upon the minds of the world.

The way I have written of this, it might all seem rather exotic - but it is not. This process of which I speak, is common to all who influence the world in any way. So, it is not just Ainan who is becoming part of the wider world - but all who become known, in any way, that impinges upon it, in any tangible fashion. To me, however, it is strange that it is Ainan, my son, who is becoming part of the world in this way. I see him as no others can - but I also see how others see him. I see the bridge between the two, as how I know him to be, connects with how others see him. The former, informs and flows to the latter. To my mind, it looks like others awaken to him. It looks like that, at first, all slept, but now some stumble around in growing awareness. We, however, are already awake to what Ainan is. Thus, we watch as the world awakens from its sleep - some to surprise (at him), others to delight, a few, perhaps, to envy...but more and more, awaken each passing year. It feels strange to watch it unfold. First it begins with a word in people's minds, whose origin they do not know, and one day, it might end in changes profound in the way things are. For that is what thinkers do: they change the world, at the level of our perception of it. The world is made anew in the minds of true creators. Ainan has the cognitive foundations of such a creator - but I cannot say what world he will make, one day, or how he may change the one we have.

I know, for sure, however: it all begins with a word, in people's minds, that appears there, one day, and puzzles them. Today, in Brighton, a person wondered: "Is Ainan a name?"

I don't think it will be long before they and all the people like them, will know the answer.

(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: 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 @ 12:40 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting point, Valentine. I have to say, it does seem true. When I think of the name Ainan, I do think of a genius, even though, as you said in "The Magic of a Baby Name" (I think that's the post)the name doesn't form the personality. I think that observation is very true.

If you don't mind me asking, why did you choose the name Ainan? I'm just curious.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Alex,

Yes. Ainan is changing the language, by inserting the essence of himself into people's minds...perhaps as a noun, or adjective, one day. It is a strange thought, actually.

My wife and I went through some very hard times, in the early days. So, in fact, believe it or not, Ainan comes from a word meaning "tears". It may sound like a sad choice, but it has a poetic beauty for us, in that it resonates with certain aspects of our lives. Perhaps, one day, I will write of what we went through and why our son is so named. His full name is even more interesting. I will leave that tale for another day.

Thank you for asking.

9:31 AM  

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