Re: "Boy with Incredible Brain"

From: Kevin Osborne (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2006 - 18:09:52 MST

one of the themes that seems to stand out with all this is that these
kids are 'savants' - which implicitly labels them as 'idiot savants'
at worst, and at best people who happen to be good at one thing and
are just as average as the rest of us at everything else.

it's a comfortable notion; the same one that is used to make us feel
better when we're overawed by our inferiority to supermodels,
billionaires, newsanchors and 100m track stars. We happily think they
may have lucked out in one arena but are otherwise just as deeply
flawed as the general community.

there's an accepted idea of a genetic bargain that must be struck; a
mutual exclusivity of talents, with beauty=!brains, brawn=!beauty,

there's also the 'flawed genius' cliche; i.e. the wasted talent who
had so much potential. The nerd too coversationally inept to function,
the alcoholic jock, the manic-depressive extrovert, the obsessively
misguided prodigy. We reassure ourselves that superior talents
"weren't tough enough" and that their fall by the wayside proved that
while we were lesser mortals the fact that we "made it" means that we
were superior when it came to "the crunch".

I think these kids could well be better than us at everything, and not
just their savant-talent. Their moral centre, reasoning power, good
looks and athletic ability could well be superior to us all. Add into
that superhuman powers at certain useful feats and you have quite a
little transcendant-compared-to-human-of-yesteryear package.

While overall worldwide population growth rates are decreasing, the
real number of kids born every year is still significantly larger. 37M
a year population increase in 1950 versus 74M today

That means twice as many chances at the roll of the dice. So while
there are twice as many kids just as talented as you are, there are
half again even more talented. As the bell curve raises in volume and
lengthens at the taper, there are going to be more and more
super-talents, more and more unflawed geniuses.

So give the kids their due. It's hard to admit one's own obselescence,
but could well be necessary for these more-superhuman-than-us
descendants to achieve the singularity instead of having their chance
at the cup choked back by our refusal to let go of the reins and be
sidelined as well-meaning but ultimately inferior also-rans.

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