My interview with In-Sight

In August 2020, I reached out to Scott Douglas Jacobsen of the independent journalism organization In-Sight Publishing to be interviewed, as I had been informed that he had interviewed many members of high-IQ communities, including the 99.9th+%ile Glia Society, to which I belonged. He agreed and sent me some questions, to which I promptly responded, and perhaps too promptly, such that when our interview was initially published in late September, it contained several mistakes which Jacobsen kindly corrected in the webpage edition after reading this blog post. I chose to be credited as “Glia Society Member #479” in order to share the interview with people on the Internet without compromising my real-life identity, under the presumption that anyone with access to the Glia member list would be above the desire to bother me.

At the beginning of 2021, the interview was re-published on pages 95-99 of Issue 24.A, 24.D, & 24.E Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Twenty). This extensive compilation contains many excellent interviews with other prominent members of the high-IQ world, as well as not-so-prominent members and people outside that subculture altogether. I especially recommend reading the interviews with right-tail psychometric cynosure Paul Cooijmans, test-devouring beast Dr. Heinrich Siemens, and Mega Society member Richard “May-Tzu” May.

Although not included in the same compilation, I also draw attention to In-Sight’s two published interviews with my personal friend and ultra-high-IQ test crusher Luca Fiorani: (Interview 1) (Interview 2)

In case you missed the first hyperlink, you can read my interview here.

Highlights

If you feel less than eager to surmount the entire 3,148-word interview, here are what I consider the most important excerpts from my responses:

I have observed that people whose intelligence I judge as extremely high, both inside and outside of the high-I.Q. world, tend to be almost depressingly normal, and therefore lack the mixture of non-cognitive personality traits required for genius.

The only way to induce permanent, significant, positive change in society is by altering the invisible hand of psychology, which underpins human behavior. One might call it psychohistory or one might call it cliodynamics, but the point is the same: human societies are subject to long-term behavioral trends, which are opaque to everyone or almost everyone, and which may be impossible to observe at smaller scales.

Like propositions somehow engender an objective external reality, physical objects can somehow combine to create qualia. We must accept this without asking how.

Science is fundamentally an epistemologically untenable construct, but once you ignore Descartes’ evil demon, it’s given us Internet pornography and electric scooters, so clearly it plays an important role in the lives of most specimens of Homo sapiens, despite the widespread failure of that species’ members to live up to their taxonomy.

I would like to mention that a characteristic shortcoming observable in discussions in the high-I.Q. world is an apparently deficient number-sense with regards to score rarity. […] Results from psychometric tests, especially but not exclusively high-range tests, are bound by inexactitude, and whoever propounds otherwise has lost their perspective amongst the orders of magnitude. Perhaps only in astrophysics would such an imprecise measurement otherwise be taken seriously.

Therefore, I rather recommend a more intuitively applicable conception of ethics, combining deontology with morality and virtue ethics: Be wonderful to each other. If I have anything to say about it, which I probably don’t, that opus magnum may someday be realized.

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