01 August 2007

Myths about early development

copy of a letter

You once quoted to me the received view that very early indications of precocity are meaningless, because ‘there are all sorts of anomalies in early development’, and I replied, ‘That is what they like to say.’ I do not take any assertions by socially appointed experts on education, IQ, child development, etc. as anything but indications of what the agents of the modern oppressive ideology would like to believe is the case, and there is no reason why that should have anything to do with objective reality.

However, this particular opinion certainly does express what they would like to believe and it is what they already wanted to believe at the inception of the Welfare State and before it, so that all concerned in my education were primarily motivated to prevent any later indication of my real exceptionality arising. If that should happen to leave me with no usable qualification at all with which to earn a living they would be only too pleased; all that mattered was to prevent any evidence arising that my early precocity had not been a flash in the pan but simply a natural expression of my real IQ.

My parents, doing their best to play along with this, had suppressed information about my early life and kept me in a state of suspended animation from 6-11. The reason I nearly got a break and a chance in life at the convent was because one or two people there, unaware of my early history and the significance of my marks in the scholarship exam, were not fully in focus on the need to keep me suppressed. I was in a relatively downtrodden state, having been marking time for five years, and could not at first have appeared too pleased with my life or with myself, being constantly apprehensive of the hostility which I aroused among the girls.

I think the reason it is regarded as so important to reject very early precocity from consideration is that it is actually the most incontrovertible evidence of innate ability. If you are really exceptional at 1 or 2, then you are really exceptional and some explanation should be provided of what has gone wrong if you appear less exceptional at a later age when the environment has had more opportunity to interfere in your life. Of course, a person’s very early circumstances may be so bad that the most exceptional ability has little opportunity to show itself, although it is nonetheless there, but if it does show itself early there can be no doubt of its continuing presence.

I might not wish to have a Department of Education in my independent university if it were not that so much that is actively untrue and pernicious is being promoted, but as it is, it is deplorable that my Department is being suppressed and being prevented from criticising what is being produced by (all?) other Departments in this area.