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, May 08, 2010

Gordon Brown and the meaning of megalomania.

Gordon Brown has written a new definition of megalomania, into the English language. What is it? Well it is: "Gordon Brown.". The man, quite simply, appears to be utterly insane.

I shall explain for those who haven't been following the British election. Gordon Brown was the Prime Minister for Great Britain (you've got to love that "Great"...), until the election on Thursday, 6th May 2010. For most people, Gordon Brown ceased to be Prime Minister upon the results. However, Gordon Brown doesn't see it that way: Gordon Brown thinks he should be Prime Minister DESPITE the results.

What, by the way, were those results? Well, they were the worst shift against labour seen in the last 80 years or so: Labour lost in the region of 100 seats to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. That the people of Britain do not want a Labour government, any longer, really could not have been clearer - especially since the flawed electoral system is biased AGAINST the Tories (Conservatives) and the Liberal Democrats and makes it much easier to elect a Labour MP than one of any other stripe.

So the people of Britain have made it clear that they want Labour and Gordon Brown out - and what does Gordon Brown do: he sits there, in No.10, refusing to resign, refusing to acknowledge the political reality and offers a deal to the Liberal Democrats to keep himself in power, despite the nation simply not wanting him. In doing so, he shares despotic characteristics with dictators throughout history - people who, customarily, ignored the will of their people to impose their power upon them. So, too, does Gordon Brown wish to. Though I live many thousands of miles away and haven't stepped foot in the UK for years, it is quite clear to me that the man is mad, mad, mad.

Let us look at other evidence of his mental unwellness. Apparently, he has such a violent temper that he quite regularly shocks subordinates (and protection officers) with the venom he is capable of spewing. Should a nation be ruled by a man who inspires fear at his wrath in those who work with him?

I don't think so.

That Gordon Brown would seek to continue to rule, despite an abundantly clear message from the electorate that he should go, indicates a few things very strongly: first, among them, is that he has no respect for democracy. Perhaps this should be no surprise, since Gordon Brown has never been elected anyway: he was chosen by his own party, to replace Tony Blair, but has never, actually, gone through an election in his current position - until now.

Should it be, that Gordon Brown succeeds in thrashing out a deal with the Liberal Democrats and remains in power, then the whole of Britain will be seen in a much lesser light. Britain will become a nation in which a man may rule, simply because he wants to, more than anyone else. It will become a place in which the most aggressive, violent, unhinged person, is "King"...because no-one dares to stand up to him.

Let Britain not become a dictatorship in all but name. Let it be a nation run by an ELECTED leader. Let Gordon Brown step down - or be thrown down. Let democracy prevail and let there be a government that the people have actually chosen.

There is one complication to all this, however. The constitution states that the party presently in power has the first bite at forming a coalition, if it can, to create a government. Might I suggest that the constitution be changed? For it seems to me an unjust document that would leave in power a party that the whole nation has voted out of power.

I worry for Britain. I really do. It seems darkly funny that a nation that once inspired the world to take up democracy, should now be in so undemocratic a situation in which Gordon Brown - a man never elected to Prime Minister, directly by the people - should be seeking to ignore the results of the election and remain in his undeserved position as leader of a (once Great) nation. Perhaps it is time to change Britain's name. Perhaps, henceforth, it should be known as "Once Great Britain". You see, it was Great once - but I don't think it is, anymore. I hope it gets the chance to be great again. That chance begins with allowing the will of the people to prevail. It is time for Gordon Brown to leave the world stage. After all, he should never have been on it in the first place (since the people never chose him).

(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 @ 4:26 PM  3 comments

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Is creativity encouraged in the classroom?

I ask this question because my own life supplies the answer.

Looking back over my schooling, my childhood and my education, I see something, in the young boy and man I was, that I have rarely seen in the students I have taught in the decades since. I used to approach every task given me, not from the point of view of what have other people thought about this problem, or question, but from what did I think of it? I always did my own thinking. It was not something I made myself do, it was something I did naturally, anyway. Indeed, I think I would have found it much harder to do it the other way, the way almost everyone else did it: with reference to the thoughts of others. I couldn't do that. I didn't think that way. I wasn't built to absorb the thoughts of others and make them my own, undigested and uninterpreted. Yet, that was the way of most people.

So, when given a question to answer, I would answer it in my own way. Typically, this would result in an original answer, because I was not influenced by other people's prior thoughts. Yet, how was this creativity received? Was it welcomed by my teachers?

Well, the short answer is sometimes, yes, but often no. Even the times when it wasn't spurned, it wasn't really respected.

Once, for instance, I gave the beginnings of a book I had written, to my favourite English teacher, Mr. Stephen Kerruish, so that he could read it and give me feedback. He smiled his customarily broad smile on receiving it, took it from me, and listened as I asked him to let me know what he thought of it. I would like you to guess what he did with it. Have a good think.

I expected Stephen Kerruish, being my favourite English teacher, and one whose opinion I valued, to read my science fantasy story and perhaps provide some helpful comment. I hadn't shown it to anyone else and I trusted his opinion. He was the only person in the world, I let read my work. Not even my family got to read it. Well, I asked him about it, a week or so later, but he hadn't read it yet. He just nodded, and smiled and didn't commit himself to anything. A few weeks later, I still hadn't heard from him, so I asked again. He nodded again, smiled and didn't commit. I decided to be patient. Weeks became months and soon the months stretched to the end of the year. He never got back to me about it - and he never returned it. In time, I forgot to ask him anymore and I never saw my work again. Now, it had been perhaps a sixth of a book, written very quickly, over a few days. So, its loss was, to me, at the age of 15 or so, quite a loss, indeed. I never got the chance to read it again and I never got the chance to finish it. Of course, it was not anywhere near as well written as my later works - but, you know what, I would give anything to have it back, again, so I could have the chance to read my teenage thoughts and once more, come to know the boy I had been.

I found Stephen Kerruish's response discouraging. Clearly, my creative efforts meant nothing to him. He didn't even value it enough to return it to me - even if he couldn't be bothered to read it. The saddest part of it was that I respected him as an English teacher and really would have liked his opinion. In asking for it, I lost my work, because I never saw it again. How disenchanting.

That was my best experience, with teachers, with regards to creativity. So, at best, I received a smiling indifference.

I had an art teacher called Jeremy Bournon, who used to do something very demoralizing whenever I discussed my art ideas to him. He would laugh at me. He would laugh in my face. Now, I understand what he thought was funny. He thought my enthusiasm for my ideas was funny, he thought my passion was funny. He found it hilarious that I should care so much about my ideas - so he laughed at me. What is more he would encourage anyone else who was present to laugh, too. So, I would end up being laughed at, for ideas which were, actually, very original and striking (so much so that they were typically plagiarized and used professionally by others, in later years). I remember those discussions well. Jeremy Bournon would begin with a smirk, and end in a mocking laughter - and any others watching, would join in the general amusement at my expense.

That was how creativity was encouraged at my school, King's College School, Wimbledon.

Jeremy Bournon had another habit, too. He was forever mocking me for my name. He would try a dozen different variations on it, in one conversation. He would never get my name right. He would pretend that he couldn't remember it and would pretend to struggle to recall it. He would refer to me with a long list of wrong names, finding my irritation at being misnamed, most amusing. Again, he would invite witnesses to laugh with him. So, everytime I met him, he would go through this routine. He never failed to find it funny - perhaps because I never failed to find it irritating. I would, of course, supply him with my correct name, and he would pretend it was news, to him, and stop the chain of misnomers.

Another interesting habit of Jeremy Bournon was that he never attended his own lessons. I took A level art, but this "teacher" never showed up to teach me. So, I had no art teacher for A level at all. I don't know why this was so. Perhaps the school, in all its administrative efficiency, had not informed him of when my lessons were supposed to be. Who knows...or maybe he just couldn't be bothered.

The only interest he ever took in my art was to present it at a public showing, without my permission, to make it look like he had been doing some teaching. The art works were cut and framed up (thus permanently altering their characteristics in a way I had not chosen). Furthermore, I was not allowed to take them home, despite repeated enquiries. After I had left the school, I asked for my art back and no-one seemed to know where it was. There were indications that, perhaps, it had been thrown out. So, there went all my painstakingly created adolescent work. It should be noted that I had a very detailed style in those days, and would sometimes spend months on a single work. What a waste.

Then there was Cambridge University, which I have written about before. I would just like to remind you though, of the incredible hostility I received, from the academic staff, whenever I handed in a creative essay. Staff guilty of this included, Dr. Barbara Politynska, a psychologist of little apparent intelligence, who crumpled up my essay, most intently, and handed it back, after ironing it flat again. In the margins she had written comments like: "Is this a moral thesis or an extract from the Sun?". She behaved as if she had been highly offended by what was, after all, nothing more than an analytical work offering a different, perhaps challenging, perspective on some established thinkers. When she handed it back, she HAD TEARS IN HER EYES and said I was "precocious". Now, why being precocious would make her angry and tearful I have no idea. It was a most disturbing experience for me.

I never saw her again. Nor did I have a supervisor for the rest of the year, in Psychology. It was most bizarre.

Another terrible supervisor was Dr. Robert Lee Kilpatrick, who refused to mark my essay, called its 22 pages, a "work of inappropriate length", made an OFFICIAL COMPLAINT ABOUT ME to my college, for writing it, blamed me for Barbara Politynska's disturbed personality problems - and I ended up being disciplined, in a special hearing, for my "misconduct". Oh, and he never returned the essay, so I could not benefit from all the work I had put into what amounted to a thesis.

What had I done wrong? I had written essays based entirely on my own thought - and not that of others. That is all. It was really perturbing.

From that moment forwards, I wanted nothing more to do with Cambridge "University". It had shown itself to be positively inimical towards anyone with any thoughts of their own.

This post has been deliberately brief. It is little more than a precis of the events in question, a suggestion of what happened. Much more detail would make it too long to read. However, the lesson of my own educational experience, at school and University is this: creativity is NOT welcome, in the present education systems, in the UK at least. Being creative won me indifference at best and a venomous, seemingly jealous hostility at worst. I was even punished for being creative, at Cambridge. Now, how is that for encouraging creativity in the young?

The best place for a creative person is out of the school and University system altogether. There is no place for the creative person in the education system I grew up with. "Education" might as well be spelt "ERADICATION", where creativity is concerned.

So, what advice can I give to a creative person? Firstly, don't expect a positive response from authority figures, of any kind, if you choose to reveal your creativity to them. Expect jealousy and consequent hate from the more insecure and competitive ones. Expect to be plagiarized. Expect to be marginalized, for it. Secondly, find a quiet place of your own, secure from the interference of others, where you can work on your ideas and creative products, yourself. Work in peace. Expect no help from others. When you are ready and feeling strong, you may show your work, to someone in a position to bring it to the wider world (a publisher, a gallery, a scientific journal etc.) but preferably not someone who would be in a position to feel competitive towards you.

It won't be easy, but this is, unfortunately, the only safe way to proceed, if you are creative and wish to build any kind of creative career. You have to be tough - and you have to be immune to the discouragement that you will, inevitably, receive along the way, from the insecure, the jealous, the spiteful, the incomprehending, or the simply indifferent.

Don't give up, however. If you have something to say, make sure you find a way to say it - but like I have said, don't expect the journey to that point to be a happy one or an easy one. It won't be.

Best of luck.

(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 @ 10:41 PM  19 comments

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The source of everything in the world.

Yesterday, Tiarnan was sitting on his mother's lap. He looked up at her, with evident thought in his eyes and put his arms around her neck.

"Mummy," he began, intently, "You give me everything.", he said with a strange, conclusive certainty as if he had, in that moment, understood the significance of that.

"Wow!", he continued, then he paused, apparently to contemplate the "everything" which she gave. "Everything!"

Syahidah savoured the sweetness of his words but, as is her style, immediately felt undeserving. In her heart, she felt that there was so much more she could give, so much she was not ABLE to give him, owing to circumstance and the restrictions of the life we have (as, of course, all lives have their differing restrictions). Yet, she did not see, what I see now: that, for Tiarnan, all his imagined needs, wants and desires were met by his mother. He cannot conceive of anything he might be missing, of anything his mother does not provide him. He is fulfilled, sated and happy. She has made his life full.

Syahidah told me this tale, at night, as we readied for sleep. She wore a soft, wondering smile on her lips as she spoke of it and I knew that he had touched her deeply, in the way, only one's children, truly can. Syahidah was the world, to Tiarnan and Tiarnan the world to Syahidah (or one of her four worlds, anyway!). That, of course, is the way it should be. The role of a family, is to make a world that has never been and never will be again, to sustain people who have never been and never will be again. A family is a pocket universe, and no less important than the universe itself, for being smaller.

I think, in some way, Tiarnan felt that, in his mother's arms, yesterday. He felt the limitless world his mother gave him. Of course, that world has a name. It is called "love".

(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 @ 3:21 PM  4 comments

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Is Tiger Woods the world's most stupid sportsman?

I had to ask. You see Tiger Woods may be (may have been?) great at golf, but that does not seem to correlate with intelligence or common sense, in any way at all. Tiger Woods is proof that it is possible to be greatly talented, in some very narrow field, but utterly stupid, in general. Judging by Tiger Woods' behaviour over the past few years, one can only conclude that he is a rather dim character, in every truly important sense.

Let me explain myself. We have all heard that Tiger Woods was unfaithful to his wife. There are no surprises there, since many influential and powerful (and not so influential and powerful) men are. So, that wasn't so surprising. However, what did surprise me, as the pictures of his "mistresses" came out, was that in each and every single case, they were INFERIOR to his wife. Elin Nordegren (I won't call her Woods, since she probably no longer wishes to be associated with him), is a far better looking woman than ANY of his mistresses, that we have had the chance to see. So, there is somewhat of a mystery why he would betray her, for others who were of a lesser breed than she is. Yet, perhaps he is a man who values sheer quantity over quality. There is much indication of that for, not only were these "mistresses" not as good looking as his wife, but many of them seem to be rather inferior in the lifestyle and personality department, too. Many of them, you see, were PORN STARS, and STRIPPERS. Now, I don't know about you, but when I read that, I began to be somewhat disturbed by Tiger's choices. You see, there is something about porn stars and strippers that usually has, even not very bright men, a little worried: AIDS.

Tiger Woods could turn out to be a most prolific serial killer. I say this because it now turns out that he has, supposedly, listed the names of 120 women that he says he had "affairs" with, in the last 5 years, during which time he was married to Elin. Consider that number. 120 women, WHOSE NAMES HE CAN RECALL, in a five year period. To me that means something else: there are probably many more women out there, in the same five year period, WHOSE NAMES HE CANNOT RECALL. How many women has he simply had a one off encounter with and been unable to recall their names...perhaps because he never knew them in the first place? It is very, very likely that this 120 tally is an UNDERESTIMATE of the actual number of women he has had in the past five years.

Even if, however, this tally is accurate, (it is not, though, since he left off his next door neighbour, student Raychel Coudriet), Tiger Woods is certain to have brought great harm to his wife, and potentially his children. I say "certain" because Tiger Woods did something which PROVES him to be a very stupid man, indeed. He NEVER used protection with these women. He exposed himself (and his wife and family) to STDs with each and every encounter.

Given his tendency to unprotected, high volume, random encounters, with highly promiscuous women (they are almost all of the type who sleep around, sometimes professionally), one can only conclude that Tiger Woods is certain to have acquired many STDs. Furthermore, given that there are over one million people in the US living with HIV, one even has to express concern that Tiger may have contracted HIV and passed it on to Elin and possibly his children. What must be remembered in assessing Tiger's likely risk is that not only did he have unprotected encounters with at least 120 women, in the last five years - but that most of these women were themselves highly promiscuous - so his indirect encounters with others will probably run into tens of thousands (factoring in those his encounters encountered).

I am not, however, concerned about Tiger Woods. His actions lead one to feel no sympathy for him, at all. My concern is for Elin, his family - and even some of the women he had, in that time. After all, not all of them would have been as promiscuous as the porn stars. Some may even have thought that they were his "only" mistress. In a worst case scenario, Tiger Woods may have contracted HIV and, in turn, infected many, many women - some as young as his 21 year old next door neighbour, Raychel Coudriet.

I feel sad for Elin. She is, after all, a very beautiful, fine featured woman. I know nothing more about her, than that - but it is enough to know that she could have chosen to be with a very wide range of men. Many men would have been delighted to have been chosen by her. Yet, she ended up choosing a man who clearly did not return her love, her care, her support. She ended up with a man, who made a mockery of her, on a daily basis, and put her at risk of fatal infection. I rather think she deserves better - everyone does.

If Tiger Woods wishes to live a highly promiscuous, high risk taking lifestyle (or is that deathstyle?) then, he should not be a married man. He should be single and he should make it clear to all he encounters that they are taking a hefty risk, in their encounter with him. Luckily, however, the press have done the work of informing the world, that Tiger is a risky bet. There cannot be a woman in America that does not know, now, that Tiger Woods goes in for "mistresses" by the 100.

Elin should go back to Sweden and rebuild her life there. Tiger deserves to be alone with his multitude of mistresses. I say "alone" because ultimately, such superficial dalliances make for a lonely life.

I only hope that Tiger has not permanently marred Elin's life and that of her children, by making her HIV positive. She certainly doesn't deserve that. Then again, should Tiger be HIV positive, I hope the world gets to hear about it, so that he doesn't continue to transmit it, to any foolish starstruck girl he encounters. That is one service the press can do the world: make the world's women safe from Tiger Woods.

So, what is the future for Tiger? I rather think that it will not be to his liking, as he gets older. No "good" woman will touch him now. Only whores will accept Tiger for what he is. No woman worth being with, is going to accept that her husband will have unprotected encounters with hundreds of women, placing her at mortal risk and making a joke of their relationship. Thus, the only people, now, who would choose to be with Tiger are the very whores he has been consorting with. Yet, would he want to be with one of them? You see, they will behave towards him, as he has towards them. They, too, will have hundreds of lovers. They too will be unprotected. It seems to me, therefore, that the most likely future for Tiger Woods, is a lifetime of superficial encounters, followed by HIV, AIDS and an unpleasant death. Not only that, but he will be alone, in his final days, since no-one worth having around, will form a permanent relationship with one who behaves like him.

In a way, this is very ironic. You see, Tiger Woods clearly has a compulsive need for others - but, ultimately, this need may have created a situation in which others will not WANT to be with him. Thus, the one with a compulsive need for company, may end up alone (apart from hookers, of course).

Tiger Woods cannot be very bright. There was another sportsman who behaved just like him: Magic Johnson - and we all know what happened to him. He caught HIV from his random encounters. So, too, will Tiger Woods, if he has not already done so. It is inevitable, if such a lifestyle is chosen. So, Tiger Woods would have heard of Magic Johnson's life outcome - yet STILL he behaved in the same way.

Maybe Tiger Woods is like a tiger in more ways than one. Tigers aren't that bright either.

An odd thought occurs to me. It is possible that Tiger Woods' exploits in the bedroom may come to overshadow his ENTIRE CAREER. It is possible that, in decades to come, Tiger Woods may be better known for his abundant and random appetites, than for his golf. Rather bizarrely, Tiger Woods may have done something to outshine his supposedly greatest talent.

So there you are: Tiger Woods, 21st Century Philanderer (and serial killer?)...who used to play a little golf.

(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

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:25 AM  12 comments

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