Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith and the Art of Living

Once you hit a certain age, you get used to the talented youngsters coming up behind you who apparently skipped a beat where childhood was concerned, suddenly achieving everything you had reserved for adulthood, before they’ve even hit puberty. Child actors usually have a reassuring habit of fading away, and thankfully child pop stars often derail their careers by the age of twenty. So I can at least feel smug for playing my long game when it comes to success.

In 2015, we are seeing a whole new breed of early achievers. With the advent of social media, every fearless teenage dream can be worked out right in the public eye. With shorter attention spans, the appetite to create knows no limits – and holds no concept of how needful that creation might actually be. I wonder if anyone has thought to study the similarities between Kanye West and the teenage mind?

While most of our wild dreams are confined to the relatively small and transient audience of an average Instagram following (or earnestly chewing some poor victim’s ear off about our newfound and completely, brilliantly original understanding), child stars are thrown to the mercy of a global audience during those awkward years. Thankfully we can burn those embarrassing journals, and luckily you haven’t seen Steve since you were about 17 so no one is going to throw your cringeworthy chat in your face anytime soon. But with a twitter following of 5.72 million by age 17, and a press pack carefully noting down everything you care to say, Jaden Smith will probably not have that luxury.

So far, with a highly credible acting career, an equally promising start in music, his artistic Instagram and mystical or socially aware twitter posts… Jaden Smith was shaping up to be an interesting character. But after the interview where he and sister Willow expounded their disdain for traditional education, a ravenous intellect devouring ancient texts that pre-date science and cobbled together a whole host of spirituality, Smith skirted the line between brilliant and utterly ridiculous.

Jaden Tweet

Now, with that spirituality in full flow, Smith is apparently working on a series of philosophical essays. With the kind of profound meaninglessness that would make politicians grind their teeth with envy, he commented in a recent interview with GQ that “I don’t think I’m as revolutionary as Ga­li­leo, but I don’t think I’m not as revolutionary as Galileo.” Deep. And now it is reported that he is working on a series of essays that are “new takes on string theory and chaos theory, but more mystical.”

The source of the comments is credited as a close friend of Smith, who also suggested that Smith is receiving a bit of extra tuition on these essays; “Jaden thinks he has spiritual ties to people in other dimensions and galaxies, and they are helping him write.” The theory of everything is certainly a large topic, so it is unsurprising that Smith has reached through that black hole for a little extra help.

Now, expression should never be stifled, and Smith’s celebrity certainly does not preclude his intelligence or his ability in any way. However, his musings so often smack of the kind of self awareness that coined the teenage belief that “no one else gets it”, that Smith has a long way to go until the world is ready to hear his reworking of Einstein and Lorenz. I’ll withhold judgment until these essays appear, but until then I can’t help but feel that someday, Smith is going to wish that his own “Steve” hadn’t gone to the press and that this might be one time where the fact that “no one listens to me” might be a blessing.