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, March 14, 2013

Does the world care about genius, anymore?

I ask this question for a very specific reason. It is the experience of my life, with regards to my child prodigy son, that is not easy to secure adequate and fair coverage of his creative and intellectual achievements. This abstemiousness in the coverage of genius, is not particular to Ainan. In fact, I have written many more articles  on giftedness and its issues, than have ever been published. So many of my best articles on giftedness are not allowed to be seen and read by the world, because of unfortunate media mindsets. It is very strange to watch the media’s priorities, in which, too often very, very trivial matters (David Beckham’s new haircut, anyone?) receive massive global coverage, whereas much more significant, indeed, historic achievements, such as Ainan making a scientific discovery and co-authoring a research paper at the age of 8, receive relatively modest coverage, considering their importance. It is very strange to watch. It seems that the modern world celebrates ordinariness and sidelines the truly exceptional. Once, it was not so. There was a time when, to become famous, one had to be truly an exceptional being. Now, it is the other way around – the very ordinary (such as reality TV stars), manage to achieve great fame, on the back of seemingly no achievements whatsoever, whereas the world’s greatest scientists, for instance, are essentially unheard of, outside of their own discipline. We have an inversion of the age old relationship between merit and fame.

It seems that in our time, too often, the unworthy become known and the worthy remain unknown. At least, it is not difficult to think of talentless, famous people and even easier to think of very talented, unknown ones (we all know one or two such people). Public regard now seems to be accorded on those most like the public – ie. unexceptional – and least like the giants of old – ie. geniuses. This is a tragedy,  not only for the geniuses concerned, but for Mankind and human society as a whole. I shall explain why.

A genius has the power to transform the human world – be it culturally, technologically, scientifically or societally. Yet, to effect such transformation, the genius needs to influence the world. The ability to influence that world and effect the positive changes they could make, depends directly on how well known they are. The better known they are, the more the world will listen to their ideas. Thus, it can be readily seen that, to reach their maximum potential for positive change in the world, a genius needs to be famous, in a very real sense. An unknown genius is an uninfluential genius. An unknown genius will not be able to change the world, to any significant degree. It is only when their work becomes well known, that it can have a chance of affecting the world. Thus, it can be seen that the media, by starving the general public of information on geniuses, by preferentially covering the Top 100 Celebrity Haircuts/nose clippings/shopping sprees, are directly impeding the progress of humanity.

Humanity cannot progress unless the work of its creators becomes widely known. That creative work cannot become widely known, unless the creators themselves are also widely known. Thus, it can be seen that creative work cannot change the world, in any real way, unless its creators are themselves well known. Fame can be used for trivial or profound purposes. In the hands of a genius, it can be used to truly transform the world, in a positive way.

It is time to silence the tumult of unremarkable “celebrities” and put in their place, the truly remarkable among us. By empowering such individuals of genius, with the influence that comes with fame, the world will progress with greater rapidity, to the benefit of all.

So, it is up to the media, to make a point of giving people of genius – and their creative works – an appropriate level of coverage, in proportion to the significance, rarity and potential of the achievements. A book, an artwork, a musical composition, a scientific paper, an architectural design, a poem, a film and any other creative achievement are all INFINITELY more worthy of global coverage, than a celebrity’s latest “hook up”.

Let us usher in a world of significance – and let the trivial be silenced. Banish celebrity haircuts, relationships, and trashy behaviour from the world’s newspapers and put in their place achievements and achievers of significance.  Were this done, we would soon all be living in a much better world than this one.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:44 AM 


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