Hyperbright Who Came to Mundane Ends
This discussion of
prodigies who came to unremarkable ends is detailed in Hans
Eysenck's book, "Genius, The Natural History of
Creativity", pg. 66, Cambridge University Press, 1995. (I
wonder what would have happened if these people had been given
highly attractive inducements to utilize their talents in more
"In 1967, Marcello Carlin made the headlines as a four-year-old who read fluently at three, enjoyed G. B. Shaw plays, and was obssessed witht the classical age, devouring Livy's Early History of Rome. Now, at 31, he is working as an office manager with a low salary; he was a dropout at university; spent two years on the dole. Nick Hawksworth had an IQ of 170 at 11; now he is a van driver with a base pay of £9,500 (1995) Like Carlin, he had little ambition and didn't know what he wanted to do. Jocelyn Lavin also had an IQ of 169; she passed six A-levels, all Grade A. Now, at 29, she is teaching maths and runs a band.She had won a place at Chetham's School of Music at the age of nine, and is a virtuoso on piano and oboe. She failed her degree at university. She feels she could have done more with her life , but lacked ambition. Lois Cody at 19 months could count up to 20, say the alphabet, recite poems and sing songs. She could spell her own name, tell you where she lived, and talk on the telephone. She failed her A-levels, and is now a full-time mother. As an adult student, she got a degree with second-class honours. She is very content with her life. These and many similar stories emphasize the importance of ambition, hard work, scholarly values, and significant aims as at least equally important with IQ for even moderate success."
Dr. Eysenck also discusses other characteristics of genius. "But even for them," [Mozart, Newton, or Einstein] "a long period of information acquisition is needed before creativity can emerge to restructure then chunks now available. Because not only do we have to transmute the material in question into chunks," [of knowledge] "these chunks themselves are tied together with pretty pink ribbons, and the most difficult task of the genius is to undo these ties, and fit the chunks together into different patterns."