Children are designed to forget most of their memories from their early childhood, such as when they’re one or two years old.
This is called infantile amnesia.
The youngest memories that can be recalled in detail are usually those from around the age of three.
However, it isn’t true that infants can’t remember anything at all.
Some of them can remember details of their early childhood.
The only proof that this was true is that the child in front of my eyes remembers it well.
For him, he was just looking back at his memories and putting them into words.
But that's something no ordinary human being could ever do.
An experiment with gummy bears at the age of two and the curriculum that followed.
Kiyotaka was selecting and storing the necessary memories.
I myself remember vividly dismissing it as a child's fantasy.
After listening to the past seven years of Kiyotaka's life, Tabuchi and the others in front of me were very excited.
“If you publish the results of this research, you will turn the conference upside down… Your child has achieved results that are on a different level from all the other children who have come before him.”
“Tabuchi, I don't care if it's my child or not. Just tell me in a few words how great he is.”
“Yes, sir. It has been proven that babies are capable of learning and remembering while they are still in their mother's womb. However, it was commonly believed that the ability to learn during infancy is very unripe and unstable and that memories cannot be fixed. Or, memories are stored, but as they develop, they are buried in the depths and cannot be retrieved. It was thought to be one or the other. However, your son… No, Kiyotaka can retrieve them without difficulty.”
“How does that make him superior?”
“For example... if we take only the three years between the ages of zero and three, we have a memory advantage of 1,095 days. Of course, it's not that simple, but the secret of his overwhelming learning ability is also related to this.”
So, even if he started side by side with the other children, there was a big gap in ability at age three.
“He's a genius, that's for sure!”
It was the nature of a researcher to talk with a look of unquenchable excitement.
However, we cannot simply rejoice in this.
The White Room is meaningless if it’s just referred to as a single word like “genius.”
“Unfortunately, neither I nor Kiyotaka's mother are very bright. In that sense, it isn’t directly related to heredity.
“But we can't rule out the possibility that it's a mutation, can we?”
“That's... I agree. We don't know everything about genes yet.”
“You know what? We're not here to find geniuses from the moment they're born. Remember, the goal is to make the best of even the poorest DNA.”
The fact that such an entity exists is a good thing in itself.
But I wished it wasn’t my child.
A third party would think that I had given my own child a special education.
It’s lamentable that most of my peer’s children, who went through the same curriculum, have turned out to be useless pieces of junk.
I gave the word and brought Kiyotaka back to the fourth generation.
I have plans to show Sakayanagi, who had been invited as a guest, the current state of the experiment.
“I have a suggestion on how to make use of his talent; how about making the non-fourth generations aware of his existence? Competition will help them to improve. It would be especially exciting for the kids who’re competing for first place in their respective terms.”
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having high ambitions. It's not surprising that having a limited mindset while being in the top environment makes one's room for growth doubtful.
Many researchers, including Ishida and his colleagues, agreed with this opinion.
However, Suzukake voiced a negative opinion.
“Not a bad idea. I agree that it’s important to have a goal. But it’s meaningless if the goal is unattainable. That's how big the gap is between Kiyotaka and the rest of the kids.”
“...You have a point.”
“It’s important to make them believe that they may be able to catch up with him even though they feel it’s a high goal. We should control the information we disclose and make him appear less capable than he really is. The top kids will still doubt his very existence, but you can show them evidence of his actual existence so that they can only understand through indirect scenes.”
So the rest of them will automatically continue to fight in a world of rivalry and non-communion.
“You can do whatever you want, but please don’t favor Kiyotaka and continue to educate the remaining fourth-generation students as you’ve always done.”
“Even if the number of dropouts continues to increase?”
“I don't care even if Kiyotaka drops out. If we can see the results of our efforts, we can determine a line of defense in the event that more talented students are born in the future.”
We must not be satisfied with immediate results; we must instead aim for even greater heights.
If my son goes down in the process, he may be able to gain some sympathy from outside.
We’ll make our enthusiasm for this project known.
“The fourth-generation students are being given the Beta curriculum, but there’s some cause for concern. The end result of this rigorous education is that they will mentally mature too quickly.”
When Suzukake responded, Tabuchi immediately began to offer additional explanations.
“Perhaps by the time they reach the age of junior high and high school students, they may reach the mental age of 20... No, I’m afraid that by the time they reach the age of junior high and high school students, they may have reached the mental age of almost 30 years old. The gap between that and their ignorance of the world can, on the other hand, make them appear terribly juvenile.”
Too many extremes are also a problem.
“A different approach is required somewhere so that they can learn and grow of their own volition. But that would be a big gamble that could be changed by strong outside influences and could significantly lower the value of the work as an art form.”
Suzukake's face, which has been at the forefront of the project up to this point, was hard and heavy.
That was how much he was worried about the possibilities that lie ahead.
“Excuse me, sir, but Sakayanagi-sama has been taken to the observation room as scheduled. What shall I do now?”
It's about time you came in...
“Let him stay for a while. And keep the curriculum you show him bland as planned. If you show him something too stimulating, he'll reject it.”
I got up from my seat and walked to the observation room instead of immediately going to Sakayanagi.
I turned on the surveillance camera audio capturing the observation room. Basically, Sakayanagi is in a neutral position, but he could turn to the opposing side at any moment.
Although it’s unlikely, we cannot rule out the possibility that he’s here to scout the White Room.
First of all, let’s see how probable the risk is.
Through the screen, I could see Sakayanagi and a girl who seemed to be his daughter in his arms.
Both of them seem to be watching the students in the White Room through the magic mirror.
“Look at them, Arisu… These are the children who may one day carry the future of Japan.”
It seems that it wasn’t her father's idea to offer to give her a tour.
They were staring at the glass with their hands as if they were devouring it.
They never got tired of it, not even for five or ten minutes.
“What's the matter, Arisu? It’s unusual for you to be so interested.”
“It’s an experiment to artificially create geniuses. I cannot help but be interested.”
“…An unchildlike remark, as per usual…”
I didn’t see any artificiality between the father and daughter.
“I just think there are a lot of problems with this experiment.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean, there are many humanitarian concerns to this experiment, and it’s likely to be criticized from all sides.”
I can't believe that she’s a young child. She’s so calm and has the same eyes and sensibility as an adult.
“I don't believe it’s possible to artificially create a genius. Even if someone emerges from this facility, can we really say that it is the result of experimentation?”
(TL Note: The large bunch of italics here represent Atsoumi listening in on Sakayanagi and Arisu’s Conversation)
I was going to go see him after I made some decisions, but I was interested in his daughter, Sakayanagi Arisu's point of view.
It wasn’t every day you get to hear a child's assessment of the White Room.
“What makes you think that?”
“Because I think that in the end, the kids who made it to the top were just the ones with the best DNA.”
“I see. It’s true that the curriculum that these children are undergoing is very rigorous. It's possible that the kids who survive it are the ones who were good at it in the first place. You really are bright, just like her. And your personality is similar too.”
“I'm glad. For me to be compared to my mother is the highest compliment.”
As she pointed out, it’s difficult to pinpoint where the line between genius and mediocrity lies.
It’s precisely the genes and environment that are essential in the human development process.
It’s true that not all children who were given the ‘White Room environment’ were necessarily superior at the prenatal stage.
“After all, some children survive the curriculum, but only because their parents are gifted.”
Sakayanagi seemed genuinely puzzled by a question that even an adult couldn’t immediately answer.
“Well, I don't know. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn't. But I can't dismiss the possibility that the children here are destined for the future.”
He explained, but his daughter didn’t seem to be interested.
The girl was looking at the student in the White Room more intensely than before.
“...That boy has been handling all the assignments calmly and effortlessly since a few minutes ago”
“Ah, he’s sensei’s son, isn't he? If I recall correctly, his name is… Ayanokouji… Kiyotaka-kun,”
It seems that she has already noticed Kiyotaka's uniqueness.
“If he’s the son of sensei, he’d have good DNA, right?”
“I wonder. He didn't graduate from a great university nor was he an outstanding athlete, his wife was an average person, and neither of his grandparents were gifted, but he was more ambitious than anyone else, and he had an indomitable fighting spirit. That's why he became so great. So much so that at one point, he even tried to run a country.”
“Then—isn’t he the most suitable subject for this experiment?”
“I guess… He would be the ideal child. But … I can't help but feel sorry for him.”
“He’s been in this institution since the moment he was born. The first thing he saw was not his mother or father, but this institution’s white ceiling. If he’d dropped out early, he could’ve lived with sensei. Or maybe it's the fact that he's still here that keeps him in the sensei's favor… If so, it’s very likely that the ultimate goal of this institution is to raise all the children they educate as geniuses. But right now, it’s still in the experimental stage. It’s a battle that will end up looking 50 to 100 years into the future. The children aren’t here to showcase their talents when they grow up, but to live for the children of the future. Survivors and dropouts are all just a sampling.”
“Father, do you dislike this facility?”
Arisu said what I would’ve liked to in order to get to the heart of the matter.
Depending on his response here, there were many things to consider…
“...I wonder… I may not be able to support them honestly. What if the children raised here grow up to be better than anyone else? If this facility becomes the norm, I think that would only bring the beginnings of misfortune.”
In particular, I couldn't see any connection with Kijima.
Only an answer typical of a good person like Sakayanagi keeps coming back.
“Don't worry, I'll break it down for you… I will prove that the creation of a genius isn’t determined by education but at the moment of birth.”
“I'm sure you're right. I'm counting on you Arisu.”
Sakayanagi patted his daughter's head happily, apparently without having any ulterior motives.
“By the way Father, I'm going to learn to play chess.”
I turned off the camera and left the room.
“I guess there was no need to worry.”
However, we must be cautious.
Now that the announcement time is approaching, you never know what might happen.