BODIES OF KNOWLEDGE are the accumulated and distilled works of many contributors, both prodigies and others. A field cannot exist as a dynamic entity without human effort, participation, and purpose. A linear accelerator is not physics, a museum is not art, and a chessboard is not chess. We know that certain fields seem to provide relatively fertile ground for the appearance of prodigies and others do not. As we saw in the preceding chapter, Randy McDaniel's specific talent for writing is one that we rarely find during childhood. There are many possible reasons for this, and we considered some of them with Randy. In this chapter we look at the prodigy phenomenon not from the point of view of the child with talent but from the perspective of a body of knowledge that must be mastered. In particular, we consider the idea that bodies of knowledge themselves evolve and change with time as a result of transformations as small as the founding of a theater in a remote village and as major as the publication of the double helix model of DNA or Freud's account of unconscious motivation. Domains can be thought of as having their own developmental histories that must be understood before the phenomenon of the prodigy can be adequately explained, for the prodigy and the do
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Publication information: Book title: Nature's Gambit:Child Prodigies and the Development of Human Potential. Contributors: David Henry F E Ldman - Author, Lynn T. Goldsmith - Author. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1986. Page number: Not available.
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