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, November 14, 2011

Patrick Swayze's net worth at the time of his death.

No. This title is not my idea. It is a quote from the terms a web searcher used, from Littleton, Colorado today. They googled: “Patrick Swayze’s net worth at the time of death.” I must confess, I was flabbergasted at such a query. It spoke of a most distorted value system that invokes a belief that the measure of a life, is found in personal wealth. There are many ways to measure a life, but none of the meaningful methods involve a consideration of wealth. A billionaire is not more worthy than a penniless poet. One beautiful poem adds more to the world than all of Bill Gates’ fabled wealth. Such a poem also has the power to touch more lives, than any fortune ever could.

For me, it is particularly telling that the search originated in the USA. America is a country in which the dollar and its pursuit have been elevated to be the highest endeavour – that, and fame – creating a country of people who seem unable to place real value on life’s varied endeavours. There are many ways to contribute to the world which don’t necessarily result in great personal wealth – but that does not make them any less worthy than those that do. Being a banker, for instance, is not the highest life a human can live – though it is one of the more remunerative. However, being an artist, or a poet or a composer, contributes much more to humanity, ultimately, than any purely financial endeavour. Such pursuits enrich human culture, for all time and leave the world a greater place, by their lives, than the world was when they entered it. Yet, few can make a living, never mind become wealthy. Those who seek to measure the world in dollar terms will always miss what is of true value.

Love of the dollar is also why Singapore is such a soul-less place. Very few Singaporean parents are happy to hear that their child wants to enter a creative profession, prone to financial risk. They all want to hear that their children want to go into Medicine, Law or Finance – anything that makes good, secure money. The result, however, of all this love of money, is a country which fails to truly live. Life in Singapore, consequently, has the feel of living in a manicured wasteland, where no-one is truly allowed to breathe, and those with the most ability to “breathe” are shoved to one side, in favour of those who conform most to financial aspirations.

If you want to know the “worth” of Patrick Swayze’s life, you should look not at his bank balance, but the films on his IMDB page ( )– for that is what he loved to do. Measure the worth of his performances, in those films, if you would, and you will come to a better appreciation of the “measure” of his life. A man is measured not by what he owns, but by what he loves to do: in his passions is the true magnitude of a man to be found.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:43 PM 


Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...


When I was a girl I first found out about net worth through playing the game Monopoly.

And so true that we are measured through what we love to do.

And how much peace, justice, truth goes through our fingers!

3:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, indeed, Adelaide. So much that is good and true, in the world, is overlooked, in favour of superficialities. Why do we have "richest" lists? Why not "Deepest" (most profound) lists? That would, surely, be more interesting!

5:14 PM  

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