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, August 24, 2013

Ainan on the ethics of knowledge.

On July 19th 2013, Ainan posed one of his often mischievous questions.

“Daddy, why is it ethical to destroy the unknown?”, he posed, with a little smile peeking from the corners of his lips.

I knew, at once, what he was saying. To come to know something, is to destroy the mystery that existed before that knowledge was acquired. Ainan was playing with our ideas of ethics, and extending them in ways they were never intended to be.

Yet, there was also something else in what he was saying, I think. Man has a long history of not dealing very well with that which is Unknown in other societies. When “modern” man has come upon less developed societies, those “unknown” societies, usually end up being extinguished, not by knowledge but by the sword, or gun.

There is something of the philosopher, at times, in the questions asked by Ainan. He likes to play with meanings, expectations and paradox. In so doing, he points out interpretations which others have usually not noticed were implicit in the words themselves. Thus, it is, he examines words at a deeper level than their conventional meaning. This tack has promise, if applied in more serious circumstances, for noting matters which have been long overlooked, not just in philosophical thinking but in other areas too. Besides, it can often be simply funny – which is more than enough justification in my book.

I think Ainan is likely to destroy a lot which is unknown, in his life, by coming to know it. That, of course, is the aim of every scientific thinker. I look forward to that “destructive” enlightenment.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:50 PM 


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