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 +

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kyle XY, savant and Ainan Cawley.

Kyle XY is a TV series, from ABC Family, concerning a mysterious teenager who displays a wide range of savant skills, but seems to have come from nowhere. Oddly, he doesn’t have a belly button. He is gentle, curious, brilliant and has powers of the mind beyond any human, you have ever heard of. He can also do things no-one else could possibly do.

Now, it is a long time since I watched Kyle XY. The series was one of the first things we watched when we moved to Malaysia. The reason I write of him, is to let you know how we encountered Kyle XY. In the first few weeks of Ainan’s presence at HELP University College, he made a particular impression on the other students. They viewed him in a certain way. They summarized their view by telling me that: “Ainan is like Kyle XY”.

To me, they spoke in code. I had no idea what “Kyle XY” was. It was only a few weeks later, when I was in a video store, that I came across, quite by chance, a TV show entitled “Kyle XY”, Season One. Then, I remembered the comparisons his fellow students had been making. I recalled their description of Ainan as Kyle XY. They had said Ainan was “Like” Kyle XY. I looked, carefully, therefore, at the picture of Kyle (played by Matt Dallas), on the cover of Kyle XY. Did they mean that Ainan looked like the actor Matt Dallas? I couldn’t see it. Matt Dallas, to my eyes, looks quite different from Ainan, but then I might not be the best person to ask, since I know Ainan’s face so well, that I might be overlooking the general picture, for the details. It was then that I read the word “savant”, on the back of the DVD cover, and realized that they might have been making another kind of comparison, rather than a purely physical one. So, I bought the DVD and took it home.

Watching Kyle XY was a revelation to me. You see, it conjured in me, the same feelings I had felt, all those years ago, when I first watched Ainan develop. I felt, again, the wonder I had first felt, watching him do completely unexpected, inexplicable, uncanny things. I understood, then, that the students were right. Ainan IS like Kyle XY. Obviously, the details of their gifts differ, but Ainan shares with Kyle XY, the same capacity to surprise, the same capacity to create a sense of the uncanny and the seemingly impossible. It is true that Ainan is not a savant, at least, I would not categorize him as such, since he has no disabilities in the way savants typically have – he is a child prodigy. However, he does have some savant like qualities of memory, recall and rapidity of learning. So, he has the same capacity to excite surprise that Kyle XY shows in the series.

Ainan’s fellow students were trying to tell me something, by saying that Ainan was like Kyle XY. They were expressing by the most appropriate cultural reference they knew, just what it was like to meet, watch, observe and interact with Ainan. He FELT like Kyle XY – and, more to the point, he made people FEEL like they were in the presence of Kyle XY.

So, if you want to know what it feels like to watch Ainan in action, why not buy Kyle XY, from your DVD store - and watch it. It won’t be long before you too begin to feel as Ainan’s fellow students felt, when he first joined them at HELP University College in Kuala Lumpur.

There are a few key differences between Ainan and Kyle XY. Ainan is much younger than Kyle – and Ainan definitely has a belly button, and a mummy to prove it!

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:23 PM 


Blogger virginiagunawan said...

THANK YOU for sharing this! I'm very interested in movies that involve intelligence minds :)

Well, I shall watch it now. Sadly they don't produce more episodes anymore (from what I read from Wikipedia).

But what do you think of the film as a whole? And what does Ainan think of the film? :)

2:37 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Hi Virginia,

I am not sure, as I write, whether I am signed in under the family account or not...however it is me, Valentine, who writes.

Yes. It is sad that Kyle XY has come to an end. It was an unsatisfactory finale that ended, as if the show were in mid-sentence. There was much more that could have been said and done. I feel that they only scratched the surface of the potential of this character.

The series is enjoyable. It gives some sense of what savants can be like...though Kyle is not really a savant...he is much more than that. He is like all the world's savants rolled into one.

Ainan liked it, though I don't think he saw it as an echo of himself. He just saw it as an enjoyable sci-fi, show.

Happy watching.

4:43 PM  

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