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, October 06, 2011

A child sees the deeper truth.

“Mum,” began Fintan, eight, with an infinitely curious gaze, “Why are all the “United” countries, not United?”

The oddness of the question drew her immediate attention.

“The United States,” he continued, in explanation, “and the United Kingdom...they are not united, at all. Look at all the riots...that’s not united!”

She had to admit, he had a point. The countries of the world were just not living up to their names. Just as “Great” Britain, most certainly doesn’t live up to its.

Later on, I explained to him the political history of the United States and the United Kingdom, that gave them their names. He smiled a little to himself, on hearing this. What he was thinking, I do not know. However, I know this: Fintan sees the world more clearly than many a political figure, these days, seems to. It seems such a shame that we name our countries “United” and then fill them with such dissension. In the US, the Republicans and the Democrats are ever at each other’s throats: they can’t make a decision in Congress, without a mini-war about it first. Fintan sees this. He sees that there is no unity of mind, spirit or intention, in the USA. He looks at the UK and sees a nation simmering on the edge of chaos, made manifest in the recent riots. Our world is not a comforting one, for a child to stand witness to. It seems that adults, who should be wiser, are creating a world that seems, even to a child, to be one of fracture, and dissent. If a child sees this, so clearly, why do adults persist in ignoring it? Why is not more done about this? The USA needs a more agreeable way of governing itself – and the UK needs a more civilized way of being...or should I say, it needs to address the uncivilized element within.

I hope the world learns civility and unity, before Fintan becomes an adult and has to deal with it. However, that hope seems hopeless, in a way...for those characteristics have yet to be fully imbibed by any modern society. I wonder, shall they ever?

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:54 AM 


Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

Hello Fintan and Valentine.

My "countries are not what they seem" moment was to do with "Democratic Republics" like Germany, Yugoslavia [and constituent parts] and Poland. Or "Socialist Republic".

I preferred that they be called "satellite states", and really listened to what countries call themselves.

It's not what they are - it's what the people aspire to.

And it does pain that there's no unity of mind or of spirit.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It would be comforting, Adelaide, to think of the names of nations, as aspirational titles...but I think, in truth, nations no longer aspire to meet the meaning of their titles. Britain, does not aspire to be "great"...many of its decisions lead only to mediocrity; the "United" States, will never be politically coherent or without much dissension...the wrangling that occurs over every minor issue, appals the world to witness. As you rightly note, many "democratic republics" may not be so democratic...the question is, do they really want to be?

The modern world is dysfunctional in many ways - because, as Fintan noted, the PEOPLE ARE NOT UNITED. They have no wish to be. They seek only for their immediate gain and seem to forget the value of a purposeful nation of people working together to achieve greater goals. I don't see such a thing happening any time soon, for any modern nation.

Thanks for your comment Adelaide. It is always good to hear from you.

Best wishes.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...


Thank you.

It does seem that the concept of unity is going against the grain for many people and for many countries.

And you mentioned gratification of the instant kind (as if it were on tap, like coffee). Makes things like value and purpose seem very far away and not easy to project into.

By "modern nation" are you thinking places like Timor-Leste and South Sudan? What about Palestine? Or is it the "Global North"?

Perhaps there are post-modern nations and identities.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I was thinking about the Global North, as you might call it...the developed countries with which I am more familiar. I see, in them, a certain short-sightedness, in the wishes of the populace, and many of them have quite a lot of divisive forces within. The countries no longer work together to higher is all, me, me, me, now, now, now. This is very unhealthy - and unsustainable.

10:24 PM  

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