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The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 29.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (24)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 22, 2022

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,675

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Sandy Bell’s personal biography states: “Windhorse Retreat was born in early 2014 when I transitioned from the urban to the rural lifestyle to pursue my dream of living with horses and offering equine facilitated personal development.  My goal was to establish Windhorse as a place where ‘horses help us reach our full potential,’ and that included my own life-long learning.  At my day retreat in central Alberta, horses and humans come together in deeply meaningful ways for unique learning experiences.  As well as providing equine assisted learning opportunities with horses as your guides, I host related workshops and clinics, so you can learn to help your equine friends or deepen your relationships with them. Community development and volunteerism is core to my lifestyle, so you’ll find me volunteering on committees or boards as the opportunities arise.  Currently, I serve the Alberta equestrian community as the President of the Board of Directors of the Alberta Equestrian Federation. I hold a B.Sc. (Psychology), a M.A. (Communications & Technology) and am an alumnus of EAL-Canada.  I’m a member of the Alberta Association of Complementary Equine Therapy as a Craniosacral Practitioner and Energy Based Practitioner.” She discusses: becoming involved with horses; being a later horse bloomer; equestrianism in Alberta; the Alberta Equestrian Federation; organizations that are provincial or territorial for equestrians; the national organization; the bylaws and structures; differences amongst the bylaws and structures; common personalities or backgrounds of people coming into equestrianism; one common theme in responses; demographics; facilities; Canada’s reputation internationally.

Keywords: Alberta Association of Complementary Equine Therapy, Alberta Equestrian Federation, Calgary Stampede, EAL-Canada, equestrianism, equine, facilitated personal development, mature, Sandy Bell, Spruce Meadows, Windhorse Retreat.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Today, we are interviewing Sandy Bell, who is the President of the Alberta Equestrian Federation. She also runs Windhorse Retreat. I want to take a narrative approach, as with most interviews in this series. What age did you start with horses?

Sandy Bell[1],[2]: I was 47, Scott. I came to it as a mature rider.

Jacobsen: How did you come to it, late? Or I should rephrase that, “How did you come to it later than most of the people whom I am aware of?”

Bell: As a girl, I had fantasies of having a horse in my life. It wasn’t possible. Then I got caught up in getting a job, then having a family, then things happen. Time passed. During that time, I, perhaps, went on two or three trail rides. The nose to tail thing, they offer. That’s great. Then a girlfriend said to me, “I do a trail ride. It is an overnight 4-day pack ride. Would you like to come?” I, knowing nothing, really, thought, “How hard could it be?” [Laughing]

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Bell: At the end of the four days, I had never been so sore, so dirty, but so happy. There was something about spending time all day with horses outside that really resonated with my soul. Within the week, coming back home, I booked my first riding lessons. It just grew from there. I learn to ride, bought my first horse within the year, and off we go.

Jacobsen: You have a quote, “The horse has the strength of 20 men, the speed to outrun the wind, and the grace to heal us, yet remains humble enough to let us ride upon his back. – source.” (Unknown Source) What does that quote mean to you?

Bell: That quote summarizes my philosophy of being with horses. I evolved my understanding of them and how I want to be with them. At first, it was more directly related to horses being co-facilitator in horse-powered personal development. Now, for me, it has become more than that. Because I truly believe horses are sentient beings with complex social structures and individual lives as well.

So, it is an extraordinary relationship. If I tease it apart, it amazes me every time I think about it in depth because this being, the horse, can offer us so much if we’re ready to see it and accept it. All the way from riding on their back and gaining that freedom that that grants us to interacting with them in ways that they are, actually, healers.

Jacobsen: What form of equestrianism is most prevalent in Alberta?

Bell: If we base it on the membership of the Alberta Equestrian Federation[3], it is recreational riders. Those are people who do Western pleasure, English pleasure, and trail riding. There is, of course, a significant industry component in Alberta with rodeo sport, e.g., Spruce Meadows, reining horses. That whole other competitions area, overall, I think, it is the pleasure horse or the trail horse.

Jacobsen: How many members are part of the Alberta Equestrian Federation?

Bell: Currently, we have 18,000 members. If I broke that down, I think recreational riders are about 80%.

Jacobsen: That’s a lot.

Bell: It could be an artifact of people who get memberships in something. Because we haven’t really examined that. But there are members who come to us, initially, through sport, because to go to a competition in Alberta, for example, you need an Alberta Equestrian Federation membership. That’s because of the insurance component. Things like that.

Jacobsen: For organizations that are provincial or territorial for equestrians, are they, more or less, run in a democratic manner?

Bell: Yes, they are all not-for-profit. The major equestrian organizations are; I can’t speak to the other horse organizations, e.g., Horse Racing Alberta, but, definitely, the major ones recognized by government as the major sport organizations, e.g., Alberta Equestrian Federation, Horse Council BC. We’re all not-for-profit.

Jacobsen: How do they link to the national organization(s)?

Bell: Through membership, so, each of the provinces and territories can become a member of Equestrian Canada. That’s the linkage there. Canada, that’s how we connect. It’s a fairly similar model, I believe, to other sports. Now, we are not a branch of the national organization. Each of the provinces and territories are independent entities unto themselves with their own separate structures and bylaws.

Jacobsen: Are most of the bylaws and structures similar and seemingly standardized to one another, though independent or autonomous?

Bell: I think, you could say they are similar. It is how boards are to be run, the structure of the board of directors. Things like that. I think there might be some significant differences. Perhaps, not in terms of bylaws, but in terms of operating policies, I think the bylaws at the provincial and territorial level are fairly similar or complementary.

Jacobsen: Which parts stand out as differences amongst them, between them?

Bell: I think it may be in terms of their membership. For example, in Alberta, the bulk of our membership identify as recreational riders. It may be different in other provinces. For example, Ontario may have a higher percentage or proportion of us. People interested in sport. I can’t really say for sure, though, Scott.

It has been interesting, as an aside. I have been President for almost a year now. The whole time has been through Zoom. So, building relationships with my counterparts in other organizations has been hampered a bit, so, my knowledge, about who they really are, is probably limited.

Jacobsen: Are there common personalities or backgrounds of people coming into equestrianism? Or is it basically every personality type and background?

Bell: I think it’s every background and personality type. That’s the beautiful thing about it. [Laughing] Some people might say, “That’s the frustrating thing about it.” [Laughing]

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Bell: If you ask a group of horse people a question, perhaps, about horses, for the 12 people there, you’ll get 20 different answers. That’s a joke that is tossed around, very varied. I think what unites everyone is a passion for the equine.

Jacobsen: One common theme in responses, if not the word, then the concept behind what they’re saying, is the idea of equestrianism as a “lifestyle.” People who start in it. A foot in the door phenomenon, sooner or later, it becomes their whole life; or, they’ve been in it their whole life. Is that a common thing?

Bell: Yes, Scott, I think it’s a common thing. Perhaps, the people who it doesn’t become more a part of their day-to-day life. There might be some barriers to being involved with horses. Personally, I am lucky. My costs per horse are lower than someone who is boarding because I am fortunate to have my own pasture, my own barn. Things like that.

It is, definitely, not cheap to have a horse. Here in Alberta, we have been looking at numbers. We aren’t quite ready to release a study of the economic impact of the equestrian industry on Alberta. But when we look at what people spend on a horse, its quite a lot. $1,200 per horse is a reasonable amount of money. That’s not counting people with horses in competitive programs who need lessons and travel with their horse or who have special needs for boarding.

Jacobsen: Another aspect of some of the conversations has been somewhere between 11 and 18 years old. You find a lot more young women. Then as you move into the older ages and the international level of any area of equestrianism – dressage, eventing, hunting, jumping, etc., you find for men. But it’s more balanced than the younger ages, particularly North America. Is this your observation as well?

Bell: Yes, I think, this is reflected in membership, Scott. I don’t have the number off the top of mind. But it is women of a certain age. Women who can have a horse. They are a primary or large percentage of our numbers. Now, we have identified that, as a board, as something that we would like to change.

Both to change at the entry level and at the age that kids can start to get involved, or would like to see kids involved in the sport – all the way up to retirement age, when people are leaving their full-time jobs. The other aspect of that, Scott, and, maybe, you have observed it. We lack diversity. Why is that? We’re not sure.

We are exploring that as well, trying to tease that apart, because it would be great to have other cultural communities involved with horses. Then we have the Indigenous people who have a very strong history and affiliation with the horse. We’re not sure what we can offer them, what kind of partnerships. They should be more visible. So, it is not just women. It is, also, white women.

Jacobsen: What facilities have garnered the most prominent reputation for all of Alberta for equestrianism?

Bell: Spruce Meadows for sure. The Calgary Stampede, [Laughing] both are very different from each other. At one time, we would have included the racetracks. But they’re kind of folding. The Canadian Finals Rodeo, it was, in Alberta, a source of pride. Then we had some pretty significant horse fairs, which have been discontinued because of Covid: Horse Expo kind of thing. Right now, worldwide, people know about Spruce Meadows and the Calgary Stampede.

Jacobsen: How is Canada’s reputation internationally within the equine world?

Bell: That’s an interesting one to think about. If we didn’t have Team Canada, like Ian Millar, Eric Lamaze, people of that standing. I’m not sure we would even be known on the world stage, really [Laughing]. There have been a few key or extraordinary riders in Canada, who are household names, internationally.

Now, if you’re within that community, so if you’re riding at the FEI levels in Dressage, for example, you would know of the people in Canada, but, for me, that’s not the circle I’m in. I represent more of the grassroots person.

References

Alberta Equestrian Federation. (2022). Board of Directors. Retrieved from https://www.albertaequestrian.com.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] President, Board of Directors, Alberta Equestrian Federation; Principal, Windhorse Retreat.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 22, 2022: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Alberta Equestrian Federation. (2022). Board of Directors. Retrieved from https://www.albertaequestrian.com.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)[Online]. January 2022; 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, January 22). The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E, January. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E (January 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 29.E (2022): January. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 2: Sandy Bell, B.Sc., M.A. on Mature Equine Life and the Alberta Equestrian Federation (1)[Internet]. (2022, January 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bell-1.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links January be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and can disseminate for their independent purposes.

Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 29.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (24)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2022

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,200

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: the series; future directions as the perspective; who would have been great guests, who are dead; the ordinariness of a secular humanist philosophy; and a statement or enticement for others to join us.

Keywords: blue collar, Christopher Hitchens, ethics, Fred Rogers, Herb Silverman, Humanism, morality, no collar, Secular Humanism, Thomas Paine, white collar.

Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: “Would You Be My Neighbour?” is named in honour of an advocate of kindness, fairness, and compassion in the United States: Fred Rogers. I posed this as a collaborative series while kept with core conversations between you and me. In short, we have discussions, invite guests, and publish the results. The focus would be less about theory and philosophy of Secular Humanism, and more about the daily life of Secular Humanism. There’s a lot of science fiction discussions about Transhumanism, post-Humanism, neo-Humanism, or tired talk about church and state separation, and the like, though intriguing on the former and important politically and socially on the latter. I work at a stable. I work with horses 7 days per week sunrise to sunset. I consider this one of the biggest blind spots in the enactment of the ethic. People can go online, debate, argue, tweet, TikTok, chat on Facebook, take part in WhatsApp encrypted secular groups all over the world, and take part in academic philosophical discussions, or make declarations (or renewals thereof), so on and so forth. But that’s not really the main deal and never has been with Secular Humanism, for me. The ‘blue collar’ is ignored for the ‘white collar’ academicism of secular humanist thought; the human rights activism can triumph in attention due to its grand intents over daily acts of magnanimity.  The more visceral world: You lose your hair and grow hair in weird(er) places, get pimples (again) and ingrown hairs, acquire stretch marks and deep seated wrinkles and fine lines, start wearing glasses, lose sharpness of mind and physique, add a few pounds here and there, decline in height and muscle mass and bone density, lose teeth and get more stained teeth, care less about fashion trends, get a decline in virility… you know, aging. The world of the everyday, the ordinary, where, in fact, the reality of our greatest sphere of humanist influence could possibly exist. So, blah blah blah, what is the hope or expectation in this collaborative endeavour for the ongoing work together in this series for you?

Dr. Herb Silverman[1],[2]: I guess I’m considered a “white collar” rather than a “blue collar” person because I am an academician who enjoys philosophical discussions about secular humanism. In truth, I’m a “no collar” person, since I mostly wear T-shirts that I got from running in races, or T-shirts that I wear to promote secular humanism. I agree with you that we need to expand our base and find ways to reach the “common man” and “common woman,” many of whom are humanists who have never heard about humanism. A limited way I engage with such people is through common interests in other areas, including concerns about the environment, civil rights, education, health, and charity work. I often try to bring humanism into the conversation, showing why it is consistent with the issues they care about. My expectation in this collaborative effort is to hear how others are reaching out to potential humanists and then try to follow their lead.

Jacobsen: If we take the perspective of future directions, we can explore some of the more high-falutin’ material within secular humanist philosophy, while grounding this in the item of most import to me: The banalizing of it, making it everyday, humdrum, ordinary, normative. What are some topics of interest to you? Those with which every secular humanist must become acquainted to protect the way of life, the lifestance. 

Silverman: What every secular humanist needs to know is that our U.S. Constitution grants us freedom of religion, which must include freedom from religion. When religion is discussed in public, it’s okay to say we have no god beliefs. We should not belittle the religious beliefs of others. That is not the way to make friends and influence people. Better to be a role model based on what we do, rather than what we say.

Jacobsen: Who is dead, but would have made a great guest? Why them?

Silverman: Christopher Hitchens, whom I had the pleasure of knowing, would have made a great guest. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Secular Coalition for America. He  could discuss and give good arguments on just about any subject. His book, god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, deservedly became a best seller. A lesser known but terrific book of his is The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. Hitchens was a true contrarian, with a sharp wit, who could easily get to the heart of the matter. One of his best known quotes, referred to as “Hitchens’s razor” is, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” I hope Hitchens wasn’t thinking of my autobiography, published in 2007, when he said in 1997: “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” In 1992, long before Donald Trump decided to run for president, Hitchens commented about Trump, “Nobody is more covetous and greedy than those who have far too much.” Richard Dawkins said of Hitchens, “He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants, including imaginary supernatural ones.”

Thomas Paine, from a much earlier era, would have been a very good guest. Paine has a claim to the title “The Father of the American Revolution,” due to his inspiring pamphlets, especially Common Sense. In 1776 it was the all-time best-selling American title and aroused the demand for American independence from Great Britain. Many phrase in Common Sense became part of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In The Age of Reason and other writings, Paine argued against institutionalized religions in general and the Christian doctrine in particular. He thought that Deism should replace all revelation-based religion. At the time, as well as now, such words were rather unpopular among Christians and politicians. I visited the Tom Paine Printing Press in England, and purchased a framed quote of his that now hangs on my condo wall: “My country is the world. My religion is to do good.” If I could talk to Paine today, I would ask if he would have switched from Deism to atheism in light of what we now know about evolution and the Big Bang, showing that no creator was necessary.

Jacobsen: Who might embody the ordinariness of a secular humanist philosophy to you?

Silverman: The many “nones,” people who are religiously unaffiliated. They are the fastest growing “religious” demographic in the U.S. They are not all secular humanists, but a significant percentage are and many others are secular humanists without knowing it. A lot of “nones” have examined the available evidence and stopped believing in any gods.

Jacobsen: For those who might be interested in this new educational collaborative discussion series, what would be your statement or enticement for them to join us?

Silverman: I think it is a good idea for us to collaborate and pick up new ideas and ways of explaining things about secular humanism. It is always beneficial to communicate with other secular humanists. We inspire one another in our work to improve society.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman. 

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2022: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open [Online]. January 2022; 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, January 15). Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E, January. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E (January 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 29.E (2022): January. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Would You Be My Neighbour? 1: Door’s Open [Internet]. (2022, January 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/neighbour-1.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links January be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and can disseminate for their independent purposes.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 29.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (24)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 8, 2022

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,020

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Joelle Froese has been riding since 7 years old. In 1999, her family moved to Bradner Hill Farms. She has been riding and caring for horses for a long time. She has competed in show jumping at HITS Desert Classic, Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Sonoma Show Park, Spruce Meadows, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and Thunderbird. She won Bronze at the North American Young Riders (senior division) on Condor, her first grand prix horse. Condor and Froese, in the same year, won, as champions, at amateur jumpers and third in the National Talent Squad Finals at the Royal. In 2013, she founded In Stride Equestrian Training. She won her first grand prix in 2016. It was on her mare, Romeos Child,  for the $15,000 Kubota Grand Prix at Thunderbird. Also, she and Romeos Child won the BCHJA Luigi Grand Prix Horse of the Year award in 2017 & 2018. Froese trained with Olympians Jill Henselwood (Canadian), Buddy Brown (United States), as well as Susie Hutchinson (US Nations Cup rider) and Kate Perrin (British team rider). Froese has competed in Third Level dressage and is an Equine Canada certified Competition Coach Specialist. She discusses: riding at 7; The Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada; the family move to Bradner Hills Farm; the process of working and training; competitive show jumping; medals, ribbons, and positions; In Stride Equestrian; the different types of competitions or show types for show jumping; show jumpers or hunters who have made the most positive impact on the career in equestrianism; main lessons or takeaways from Henselwood, Brown, Hutchinson, and Perrin; the state of the industry in the Lower Mainland; the international scene; haves and have-nots in Canada; the sense and feel of working with a horse; Bradner Hill Farms; camaraderie; an apparent gender split in the industry in Canada; and advice for younger people getting into the industry.

Keywords: Abbotsford, Bradner Hill Farm, Canada, dressage, equestrianism, Equine Canada, equitation, Joelle Froese, Langley, North America, show jumping, Thunderbird, Thunderbird Show Park.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Naturally, let’s begin at the beginning, as I intend this as an educational series beginning with Canada and then moving into the international scene of equestrianism, I figure the narrative entering into the equine will be helpful. What were the first inklings of an interest in horses for you? Most of the equestrians with some facility or competing seem to have begun in the single digit ages. You started riding at 7. 

Joelle Froese[1],[2]: Love of animals goes at least as far back as my grandfather. My mother is an animal lover and I have carried on the tradition. You typically think of little girls as playing with dolls. I didn’t. I played with stuffed animals. And toy horses. Lots of toy horses. I owned one Barbie doll – it was the one that came with a horse, a truck, and trailer. When I was 7 years old, my piano teacher’s daughter invited us to see her horses and gave me my first unofficial riding lessons. I was immediately hooked. My parents bought my first pony from her. My sister and I were supposed to share her. That didn’t last long. As a kid, I played T-ball, figure skated, took painting and pottery lessons, but there was no comparison. While I liked skating, I hated waking up at 5am for Saturday morning sessions. But I never begrudged early mornings for horse shows. Spending time with horses was the most natural thing in the world for me.

Jacobsen: The Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada is an immense opportunity for any young, aspiring equestrian. How did Abbotsford provide the training grounds or the opportunities for growth as an equestrian for you?

Froese: I think I had two huge advantages living where I do. First is that I live half an hour from Thunderbird Showpark. T-bird is beautiful and has been moving steadily onto the international scene. It gives local riders something to aspire to. It allows you to watch international and Olympic riders and competition up close. I live a stone’s throw from Langley – horse country of BC. It offers access to horses, horse trails, show barns, trainers, and shows of various levels and disciplines, so there is something for every equestrian.

Jacobsen: Why did the family move to Bradner Hills Farm?

Froese: My parents came from the prairies. My mother grew up on a farm, where they raised nearly everything they ate. My father is a visionary. Neither of them is afraid of hard work. Their support is why I got to ride, train, travel, compete, and live on a farm. They are the backbone of everything I have done with horses.

Jacobsen: What is the process of working and training with – and loving – a horse from birth to full maturity for show jumping competitions?

Froese: Well, first of all, it is a long one. Horses don’t reach their prime until around 10 years old. A decade of going to the barn every day in hopes of fulfilling a dream. Horses have to be taught everything: to halter, to lead, let them groom you, let you put on a saddle, bear weight, understand a rider’s aids (cues). Some are spooky and have to learn to be brave. Some are hot (high energy) and have to learn to be calm. They need years of conditioning and strength training to be fit enough to compete in upper level jumpers. They are prey animals that have to focus on its rider and its job at a busy horse show. To gallop, not knowing where they are going on course and in a moment, without hesitation, to sight in on a jump, judge it and make the effort for you. It’s amazing what they can learn to do. And, of course, part of that process is making mistakes. Training a young horse requires patience, knowledge, co-ordination, and a good attitude. I think you appreciate them so much more for the process, for realizing everything they do for us. It can be tough; a thousand pound animal is incredibly powerful. Yet sensitive. They are masters of body language and we have to be too. We have to learn to communicate in ways they understand. Each horse has its own personality. This makes each horse a unique challenge and opportunity to build a unique partnership.

Jacobsen: What facilities tend to garner the most positive reputation for competitive show jumping?

Froese: What I like about show jumping is that it is an objective sport. It is about time and not knocking down rails. People will always remember barns that consistently produce winners. But there is more. People also notice progress. Everyone has bad rounds. But you see the same people year after year, show after show, and you can see who can train. You spend a lot of time with the same people at horse shows. You are stabled beside them. You set jumps side by side in the warmup ring. You try their horses for sale. You see how people treat people and how they treat horses. People remember who was a good teacher, a good person, and a good horseman.

Jacobsen: Of the medals, ribbons, and positions earned at show jumping competitions, what ones make you feel most proud, as they were earned?

Froese: I will always remember my first Grand Prix win – the Kubota Cup at Tbird. There were good riders in that class. It felt fabulous to be among them. But I may be even more proud of what I accomplished with Onyx. He had incredible scope (ability to jump high and wide), but he was high strung and needed someone really good to train him. I had to become that person. It wasn’t enough to be a good rider (get on a well schooled horse and pilot well); I had to become a trainer. I had to learn how to reach him, to communicate with him; something I discovered no manual can teach you. He required feel: the ability to read and react with just the right pressure and right timing and right exercise to help him learn. He required me to find incredible horsemen and women who had feel and could teach it. I call him my best teacher. It took years of work, but he turned into a fantastic horse. I won classes, championships, a saddle with him. Not everyone believed in him when I first got him. But he had heart; he was always willing to try. And he always made me try hard. That partnership will always be special.

Jacobsen: What motivated opening In Stride Equestrian in 2013?

Froese: By the time I was 13, I knew I wanted to be a trainer. I don’t know when I decided; it just seemed automatic to me. In 2009, I went to Young Riders of North America with Condor. He was my once-in-a-lifetime horse. The magic unicorn that makes the impossible happen. Horses with that ability are expensive and hard to find. I was thrilled to just be there. Winning bronze was more than I could have dreamed of.  In 2012 Condor died. He was only 12 years old. He had sudden neurological symptoms that caused him to fall and break his neck. No one ever figured out why it happened. I was devastated. I knew I couldn’t replace him; couldn’t compete at that level any time soon. Maybe never. My options were give up or move on. I had spent the previous winter as Jill’s barn manager and done a little bit of teaching under Jill’s mentorship. I got certified in 2013. Opening a business seemed like the next logical step.

Jacobsen: What are the different types of competitions or show types for show jumping?

Froese: First of all, you can divide jumping into hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Hunters is subjectively judged on the horse, its way of going, the quality of its jump. It derives from fox hunting and uses naturally colored obstacles or mimics logs and brush you might jump on a fox hunt. Equitation is subjectively judged on the rider and how well they pilot the horse around the hunter or jumper ring. Jumpers, or show jumping is judged on time and faults, which you get for knocking down rails, going too slow, or refusing to jump a fence. Jumps are colorful and built very light, so they can be knocked down easily. The most common type of jumper class is a jump off. It has a first round, typically of 10-12 jumps, where the goal is to jump clean (occur no faults). There is a time allowed. If you go slower than time allowed, you incur time faults. If you knock down a rail or stop at a jump, you incur jumping faults. If multiple riders finish with the same number of faults, they jump off. In this case, you jump a shorter course judged on faults and time, so fastest round with fewest faults wins. Speed classes are also common, which is one round based on fastest time with fewest faults.

Jacobsen: Which show jumpers or hunters have made the most positive impact on the career in equestrianism for you – either as signifiers of the virtues to aim for or as individuals who have, simply put, impressive professional resumes?

Froese: The people who have had the biggest impact on me have been my family and my coaches. Those are discussed more in other questions. One rider that gave me something to aspire to was Kyle King. He rode Onyx for me for 2 years early on. To this day, I love watching him because of his brilliant use of track. He makes it easy for horses to jump clean. I wanted to ride Onyx as well as he did. Years later, when I felt like my progress with Onyx was stalled, I happened to be at the ring and watch Patrick Snijders on this one horse. I knew that horse wasn’t easy. I was amazed how different that horse looked by the end of the week. Patrick turned out to be the person who could explain to me what Kyle did on Onyx that made him so successful. He put the final pieces into our partnership that enabled me to finally turn Onyx into a success. Patrick is an upbeat guy with a great sense of humor. He proves better than anyone that you can be winner and have a lot of fun at the same time. Lastly is Sandra Verde Zanatta, she is my dressage coach. I dropped in for occasional lessons for years and she was extremely patient and adaptable with whatever horse, whether it was for competitive dressage or just making a jumper a little more rideable. She is like a walking textbook of knowledge, easy to understand. I began training for a dressage show during Covid; it really helped motivate me when there was little else to do. I am really grateful that I now love dressage.

Jacobsen: You have trained with “Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood, US Olympian Buddy Brown, US Nations Cup rider Susie Hutchinson, and British team rider Kate Perrin.”[3] What were the main lessons or takeaways from Henselwood, Brown, Hutchinson, and Perrin, individually?

Froese: I credit Jill for getting me through Young Riders. I had never jumped 1.50m before and neither had Condor. Talk about a longshot. The thing she said to me more than anything else over the 3 years I spent with her was, “Hey, missy, jump the jump in stride or slightly collected” (I was notorious for picking the long distance – leaving the ground too far away from the jump). That’s where the name In Stride Training came from. Buddy is particularly special to me. He taught me riding theory  – which I desperately needed at the time. He would sit down in front of a computer (this was before we all had phones that videoed rounds) and would watch my rounds; he would pause and point out where my horse’s leg was at an exact moment in the canter stride and where it needed to be. That amount of time was well above and beyond what trainers typically do. Add to that, this was after Condor died and I was at my absolute toughest time with Onyx; training sessions were long, and, frankly, a mess. And he sat there pleasantly through it all. He helped me believe in myself again. Susie Hutch made winning easy. I always tell my students to do their detailed work at home and not overcomplicate it at shows; trust your training. The first thing I remember about Kate that made me sit up and take notice of her was that she set smart. She set courses at home that would do most of the work of schooling your horse for you. I still trot jumps to this day! For simplicit,y I listed on my website a few of my coaches whose resumes have an international success that is easy to convey to people who may not know show jumping well. There have been many more who are just as good, and each deserves their own paragraph about how they have contributed to my riding.

Jacobsen: What seems like the state of the industry in the Lower Mainland now? I’m told ALR and other definitional and bylaw restrictions make running a full facility difficult, as one example. Is there anything the municipal or provincial governments could do to help ease financial pressures on farms and stables?

Froese: Unfortunately, horses are expensive. Boarding facilities rarely make money. Boarding is not considered agriculture and does not qualify you for farm status. People try to buy or breed horses to flip (train for a short time and sell) to achieve farm status. Here’s the problem: horses almost always cost more than you can sell them for. By the time you have paid the purchase price, upkeep, training, show fees, membership fees, you usually lose money in order to gain farm status. Allowing boarding to qualify for farm status would certainly ease some of that pressure.

Jacobsen: How is Canadian equestrianism viewed on the international scene?

Froese: I may not be the best person to answer this question. After Young Riders I was invited to compete in Europe but it was too expensive to go. My entire experience has been in North America. Spruce Meadows has long been a destination for the best riders and Thunderbird has continually been growing and hosting bigger international events. EC (Equestrian Canada) has been working on developing team competitions for junior riders to help prepare them for a future in international sport. I think identifying talent, training and funding are areas that still certainly could be improved.

Jacobsen: Another socio-economic issue impacting the sport mentioned to me: The division, growing, between haves and have-nots in Canada. Apparently, it differs by sport, too. Dressage may be more out of reach for some than the world of jumper and hunter, as an example. Is this the experience and observation for you, too, or is it otherwise?

Froese: Yes, again, horses are expensive. And sadly, prices are going up. Horses are like houses; they cost what people will pay for them. Which does create a tremendous divide between the quality of horse that one can ride. If you have modest funding, you take a chance on a young horse, usually based on its bloodlines, and spend years developing it. Meanwhile, those with more funding find one that is already at, near, or even stepping down to the level they want to compete at. If that horse doesn’t work out, doesn’t get along with the rider, isn’t quite competitive enough, or goes lame, they can replace it. The rich can constantly compete, which the modest spend most of their time training. And of course, there are those that can’t afford to show at all. It’s heart breaking to see young talent squeezed out of the industry. My understanding is that dressage is slightly less expensive, but I may be wrong. The word dressage means training. I went to my first dressage schooling show last year, and the judge wrote on my test paper that I showed correct training. It was really nice to be noticed and rewarded for working correctly. In that way, I feel it is slightly more obtainable than show jumping; although, I have never competed in upper level dressage, so I can’t really compare them.

Jacobsen: How important is the sense and feel of working with a horse? I recall reading Ian Millar speaking to this as something anyone can develop, but I suspect this may be the hardest thing to make a refined sensibility after its basic development happens.

Froese: Absolutely, anyone can develop feel. I think it is a matter of how much feel they will develop, how far they will go. There are riders that you can see immediately have good feel; they’re naturals and possess skills you never had to teach them. Those riders will develop quickly and be extremely competitive – if they are funded. Legends like Ian Millar. But work ethic can overtake talent, especially if the talented don’t work hard. There is another aspect to feel, and that’s character. It’s a willingness to learn, first from your coaches, then from your horses. I have said this many times. Your horse has never read the riding manual. It’s a good starting place, but trainers have to learn to listen to what your horse is communicating to you, even if it seems counterintuitive at times. To learn, you have to be ok with being wrong sometimes. And to be persistent when you’re right. And experience to know the difference. And we have to offer that same consideration to our human athletes. People have different body types; what works for one may not for another. Being humble and adaptable is hard. Talent is nice, but I suspect most coaches will tell you what they really want in a student is one that listens and works hard.  

Jacobsen: For the facilities[4], the training is done by Bradner Hill Farms in Abbotsford with 14 stalls, paddock turnout, and “a heated indoor and a large outdoor arena,” while the “indoor ring was built in 2018.” Interestingly, the same company that built barns for Thunderbird built the ones for In Stride Equestrian Training, Spanmaster. Why select them for the construction? What was the design style kept in mind for the family at Bradner Hill Farms for the indoor ring?

Froese: Well, you guessed the answer. When we wanted to build, the first thing I did was talk to tournament manager, Chris Pack, at Tbird. We figured if it was good for Tbird, it was good for us. The idea behind fabric buildings is that they go up quickly and are supposed to cost less. They allow a lot of light in and create a bright, open environment.

Jacobsen: Another notable fact, “Footing was installed by Thunderbird Show Park”; this arose in some early conversations so far. The sharing of information, expertise, and capabilities, between equestrians in the industry. Is this sharing and camaraderie a common element of the Lower Mainland equestrian industry, in personal experience?

Froese: Networking is a crucial part of the industry. One of my students recently commented to me that there seemed to be a large oral tradition in the industry. So much of what trainers, riders, and owners learn is from talking to, watching, and working with people. For people who love horses, a lot of their friends were met, and friendships maintained at the barn and at horse shows. It connects people. Trainers typically get into the sport because they love horses, but really, it’s a people job. Every horse comes with an owner, owner’s family, vet, farrier, physiotherapist, etc. The ability to communicate well and get along with people is an advantage in the industry. Right now, I have a couple of clients that are taught by a different coach; the coach called me to ride the ponies regularly to train it separately from the rider. One because she was too tall the ride the pony (I am 5’1”); the other is an “old horsewomen” who no longer rides. I think these clients have a great advantage because their coaches were willing to work alongside someone else.

Jacobsen: There is an apparent gender split in the industry in Canada. Any hypotheses as to the gender disparities at different levels of the industry, e.g., clients, jumpers, dressage, barn managers, stable owners, etc.

Froese: There are certainly a lot more women in lower level sport than men. Years ago, a trainer (my senior) told me when he was a kid, the other boys made fun of him at school because he rode; I guess it wasn’t macho enough. A couple of years ago a student (my junior) told me none of the other boys at school would come ride with him because they were afraid of horses. I don’t know if these experiences accurately reflect the views of their generation or not, and anything beyond that would be complete guesswork on my part. I will say this. Horses are extremely powerful and extremely sensitive; as a result good riders and trainers also need to be both very tough and very sensitive. Decades ago, the value seemed to be put a more strongly on being brave or tough, likely stemming from jumping’s military roots; the risk of that is that people can become overbearing or cruel (both to horses and humans). There has been a big shift towards respecting sensitivity, keeping people safe, and helping them feel good about themselves. Which is good but also poses a risk: people become wimps. They don’t work as hard; they allow anxiety to control them and trainers can’t push them to due to liability. But people are safer around horses if they are fit and skilled. And horses are safer working for humans if their humans know what they should do and be physically capable of doing it. It’s a fine balance. Tending to one side or the other will affect what types of horses you will be most successful training. Regardless of gender, I think both qualities need to be valued highly.

Jacobsen: Any advice for younger people getting into the industry?

Froese: I can’t stress enough that you need a good coach. A little time with a quality coach will make you much safer and more successful than many hours under poor coaching just because they are cheap, close, or you just can’t imagine anything else. The hard part is you don’t know what you don’t know. How does a beginner judge what is a good coach? Being a talented, successful rider doesn’t automatically mean you are also good at teaching. Running a large barn might mean you’re good or might mean you don’t have much time to invest in each student. There are 3 things I think anyone can look for in a coach to help them get started: 1. Match the student’s learning style with the coach’s teaching style. Some students are visual and like demonstrations; some are auditory and need explanations and dialogue; others are kinesthetic and need exercises that allow them to feel and do. A rider will learn much more quickly if information is presented the way they most easily understand it. 2. Match personality type. A coach could be loud, quiet, high energy, calm, intense, laid back, competitive, etc. A loud, intense coach might be just the thing to motivate a laid back student. They also might give a timid, sensitive student PTSD. An ambitious student will want to be challenged; a weekend warrior will want to have fun, stay safe and be less concerned about results. 3. Watch for progress. There will certainly be ups and downs but overall there should be a trajectory towards the goal. If it stalls out, maybe that coach did its job, taught you what he or she knows, and it’s time to move on.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Joelle.

References

In Stride Equestrian Training. (2022a). About Joelle Froese and In Stride Training. Retrieved from https://www.joellefroese.com/about-joelle-froese-training.

In Stride Equestrian Training. (2022b). Facility Highlights. Retrieved from https://www.joellefroese.com/facility.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In Stride Equestrian Training.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 8, 2022: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] In Stride Equestrian Training. (2022a). About Joelle Froese and In Stride Training. Retrieved from https://www.joellefroese.com/about-joelle-froese-training.

[4] In Stride Equestrian Training. (2022b). Facility Highlights. Retrieved from https://www.joellefroese.com/facility.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training [Online]. January 2022; 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, January 8). The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E, January. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.E (January 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 29.E (2022): January. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 1: Joelle Froese on Abbotsford, Bradner Hills Farm, and In Stride Equestrian Training [Internet]. (2022, January 29(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/froese.

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Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 29.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (24)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,295

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

His Lordship of Roscelines, Graham Powell, earned the “best mark ever given for acting during his” B.A. (Hons.) degree in “Drama and Theatre Studies at Middlesex University in 1990” and the “Best Dissertation Prize” for an M.A. in Human Resource Management from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1994. Powell is an Honorary Member of STHIQ Society, Former President of sPIqr Society, Vice President of Atlantiq Society, and a member of British MensaIHIQSIngeniumMysteriumHigh Potentials SocietyElateneosMilenijaLogiq, and Epida. He is the Full-Time Co-Editor of WIN ONE (WIN-ON-line Edition) since 2010 or nearly a decade. He represents World Intelligence Network Italia. He is the Public Relations Co-Supervisor, Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and a Member of the European Council for High Ability. He discusses: the pattern for the publication; Elizabeth Anne Scott; Mandela; “The Universe as Automaton”; “A Critique of Modal Ontological Arguments”; “Quantum Computing in 2013”; “The Nine Dots Puzzle Extended to nxnx…xn Points”; “The City Sleeps”; “ATEM (Breath)”; “Photos of the moon”; “Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”; “Part Two: Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”; and “The Rectangular Spiral Solution for the n1Xn2X…Xnk Points Problem.”

Keywords: Graham Powell, WIN ONE, World Intelligence Network.

Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With Issue XI, we have the pattern for the publication with 11/12/13 (11 December 2013). Why?

Graham Powell[1],[2]*: As noted previously, the publication date of the magazine traditionally has a numerical sequence, hence 11, 12, 13… a simple sequence this time.

Jacobsen: For the cover page, who is Elizabeth Anne Scott? What was the inspiration for it? Readers can see page 34 for the cover artwork.

Powell: Elizabeth is a member of the WIN. She is from Scotland and likes to paint. I was busy at the time and she volunteered to do something for the magazine, so I gave her the task of designing the front cover. Her pictures arrived near the publication time and were both of a similar theme: Christmas. I didn’t have much time and expanded one picture to cover the whole page, the originals being quite small – as you can see on page 34. Elizabeth had not added any text to indicate the magazine title, as requested, so I had to do it myself. I upset her (and, in retrospect, she was right to be so) because the picture was distorted. I would do things differently now. Sorry again, Elizabeth.

Jacobsen: This issue was one with a particular charm with the ease of submissions. It shows a changing culture and network of professional trust in the conduct of the journal and the submissions to the journal. Paul Edgeworth, Elizabeth Anne Scott, Beatrice Rescazzi, Phil Elauria, Claus Dieter Volko, Therese Waneck, Anja Jaenicke, Marco Ripà, Alan Wing-Lun, and Krystal Volney contributed to Issue XI. Was there change in the sensibility of the development of literary, artistic, and problem-solving community? Why quote Mandela for this issue of WIN ONE?

Powell: Firstly, Mandela. He is a personal favourite and he had just died – as noted in the editorial. I thought he warranted a quotation. Most of the contributors to this edition had become friends by this point, so the ‘feeling’ was, and is, more congenial, you are right. I think my cosmopolitan lifestyle and breadth of interest by 2013 meant that diverse talents were being expressed within the pages. That was satisfying, I must admit. It was also what I had envisaged for the magazine at the outset of my editorship.

Jacobsen: The issue opens with a piece by Claus Dieter Volko entitled “The Universe as Automaton” (2013). Volko deals with the conceptualization of a three dimensionality of space with a fourth dimension of time (Minkowskian space without explicit statement) while in reference to the Einsteinian formulation of a unified space-time as a computer scientist. He further extends into a hypothetical of a five-dimensional object, which he terms, in the formalities of computer science applied here, a “deterministic, finite automaton.” He writes, “If the hypothesis is right that there was initially just one point and the universe expanded with time, this means that the number of states per unit of time is growing with time, as well as the number of transitions.” In short, the hinges between states grow in proportion to the growth of time as the multidimensional “deterministic, finite automaton” progresses through time. He compares this idea to Stephen Wolfram’s (now-more-prominent) “A New Kind of Science” and cellular automata. Any thoughts on this idea? It links disparate fields and concepts in some principled ways and some others not in its loose extrapolations.

Powell: If you will indulge me a moment, Scott, I think firstly of the Ted Talk “The Invisible Woman”  by Nicole Johnson. In it, she notes how she is not listened to, and humorously concludes that she must be invisible. That continued until, according to Johnson, her friend gave her a book on cathedrals, fundamentally, because the immense work that goes into building any cathedral includes the creation of things that nobody will ever see. The details and finery continue to be worked on, as Johnson points out, even when the huge task that has been set the workforce is going to take longer than any of the craftsmen’s lifespan, and to reiterate, will not be seen by other people. But why do they dedicate themselves so assuredly? Well, Johnson says it’s because “He sees”.

In the case of the search for answers to the origins, existence and the extent of the universe, this seems to have a similar status, only the concept of ‘proof’ is the ‘God’, or the ergon of scientific investigation, as we may call it. Humankind will pursue the explanation of the universe and seek the TOE, even if it takes longer than each individual’s lifetime, which, for each scientist must seem to be so, or was so – and in this, think of Einstein, since you mention him. As we seek explanations, Claus gives a basic prognostication of a five state universe, an extension of Minkowskian space, and which was extrapolated upon by Minkowski’s PhD student, the aforementioned Albert Einstein. The concept of the ‘multiverse’ underpins string theory and this,, for many appears to be the closest we have got to a TOE in modern physics. We’ll see where it goes… perhaps, so will ‘He’.

As for my own opinion, I felt in my twenties until recently that the universe we inhabit is expanding, yet will eventually cease that expansion, then contract, reforming a singularity which will repeat the cycle. Now, as Penrose and others suppose as Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, they influence my thoughts as we have evidence of Hawking Points (as they are known) whereby, large Black Holes also shrink and cause singularities pertaining to the formation of universes. Hence, regarding Claus Volko’s article, I think you summarise it well at the end of your question.

Jacobsen: Phil Elauria wrote “A Critique of Modal Ontological Arguments.” He delves into the formalisms of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Mr. Onto. A sort of “my God is bigger than your God” argument with the pivot solely on “P4” or Premise 4 with the evaluative judgement of existence in the world and in the mind as “greater” than in the mind alone. Elauria states, “Personally, I find it difficult that such an argument could be taken seriously. I leave the task of explicitly criticizing or supporting points in Anselm’s argument to those who feel compelled to do so. I’m certainly not one of them.” I leave this task of interpretation to readers here. However, he references Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, and Kurt Gödel and spins on adaptations of the foundational structure of the argument. We should note. Craig views Plantinga as the single greatest living theologian or Christian philosopher. Dana Scott, Christoph Benzmüller, and Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo extend the formalization notions from Volko more into Anselm’s modernizations for a proposed ‘proof of the theorem’ as recently as 2013. Looking at the purported or asserted proof, what about an evil or bad god? A god with negative qualities rather than positive qualities. People worship those. Invert the valence of the premises, you ‘prove’ an argument for the existence of an evil god, too – hardly satisfying, let alone reassuring. One could use the logical formulation as a logical and moral refutation of Abrahamic formulations of theology with a ‘proof’ for an evil or bad god and, in a sense, Satan/the Devil/Beelzebub as the good guy, the real god, based on having the real qualities of a god as negative qualities inhered in its being (but then opposite becomes logically consistent and true, too, i.e., one comes to A and not A, where only paraconsistent bandits sneaking in the night can save us from the explosion of a deeper – non-structural – logical contradiction). Elauria admits to the equivocatory nature of the formulation of the MOA god with ‘proof’ of property “possibility” because one can fill in the blanks for a god here, not much substance. This differs from asserted properties of god in pop theology, e.g., omnibenevolence, omnipotence, aseity, etc. One would need connective tissue to make possibility co-extensive with other properties or to derive others. Whence mind-independence for the Mr. Onto disciples? Any thoughts on this argument for the existence of a god or the derivation of a god from abstract notions of proof of property possibility?

Powell: Another deep question, Scott – well done! You’re on a roll!

I suppose this harks back to our previous discussion because: this is the God that Johnson wanted her audience to recognise during her Ted Talk, that is, the best of us do good because the benevolent and appreciative God sees all that we do. We should display ‘good’ Christian values and behaviour at all times, particularly because God is omnipresent.

Whether there is a god (or not) for me is not as important as the moral behaviour that we should follow and display. In my experience, especially since about the time Phil wrote this article, when my life was thrown into disarray for a few years (mainly because I transgressed some Christian social doctrines) I seemed to be punished, and, in this sense, I now follow my wife’s belief that some ‘higher powers’ are mapping out a better future for us, which has definitely reinforced the determination to succeed, though we also share the doctrine of maintaining kindness and civility at all times, which has proven to be helpful and inspirational, not only for us, but for those who interact with us as well. If that can actually be taken as the influence of a god, then fine. If not, that is also fine.

As such, I think that it is in our behaviour (and the mode of interaction that we pursue) which is the major force that binds humanity together. The relationship we have with our bodies and minds (and with other people) plus our notions of our own existence (as purported by Heidegger, for example) have all been shown to influence our emotions and our cognitive responses to them.

So, this is my own philosophy, if you will, and by living this way, affirming the positive as much as possible and maintaining, as best I can, an agreeable relationship with self and others, I think (so, let’ say, ‘believe’) that this is the best way to maintain a happy life. I am certainly happy, and I feel that this will continue, despite the ups and downs that will inevitably come along.

Jacobsen: Krystal Volney talks about “Quantum Computing in 2013.” Her talents of comprehension and clarity of expression shine here. She talked about interviewing an expert named Dr. Vinton “Vint” Cerf. I found the statement of the four primary forms of practical quantum computation – one-way quantum computer, Quantum gate array, adiabatic quantum computer or computer based on Quantum annealing, topological quantum computer – interesting because, almost immediately after listing them, she stated the four competing models do not compete. They equal one another in functional power. The ability to process information through the manipulation of the potentials of states of electrons in a Quantum computer makes them unusual compared to classical computers in ways laid out by Krystal. Any thoughts of the technical presentation of the materials here? What was the original inspiration for Krystal’s submission here?

Powell: I remember that Krystal was studying computing at the time and at quite a high level, so I guess that was the inspiration for presenting this for publication.

Krystal was also interested in journalism and was networking to increase her potential for disseminating her work, hence, to a certain extent, her interview with the expert Dr. Vinton Cerf took place.

Krystal lays out the historical background to computing, much of which I recall because in the early days of my career I was a geophysicist, one who used computers, and hence, computing power, pretty much as she states, though in the late seventies, developments included hexadecimal programming and the utilization of multiple functioning chips, ones which did not cease operating when the first operation being dealt with was paused, a second function being taken on to fulfil ‘the job’ (as we referred to it). An early example was the Vax 11/780 computer, which greatly increased the processing time available, and hence increased our work rate considerably as we searched for potential oil fields.

I know the recent advances in quantum computing are akin to the points outlined by Krystal and the way forward is definitely via the fantastic work that is being done within the relevant university departments around the world. Soon, the knowledge and communication age will be underpinned by almost infinite computing power and our lives will have to adjust ever more quickly and appropriately to address it, preferably via creativity, innovation and the increased interactive means made available to humankind.

Jacobsen: Marco Ripà and Pablo Remirez published “The Nine Dots Puzzle Extended to nxnx…xn Points.” You helped with part of the solution or the presentation of the materials. To shorten this one, what was solved, in plain English?

Powell: The Nine Dots Problem is a famous one in which nine dots, arranged in three rows of three dots, must be joined by a minimal number of lines, the drawing implement used also drawing continuously, so without leaving the page, and it must only touch each dot once. It is the origin of the phrase: ‘To think outside the box.’ The human mind perceives the three rows of dots as ‘a box’ (actually, ‘a square’, so 3 squared), a quirk of the gestalt mindset, which organises to create patterns. Another example would be gazing at the stars at night and seeing patterns, ones we categorize as Astrological Signs. Marco didn’t stop at having nine dots, he increased the number as 4 x 4, 5 x 5, etc. and even produced, at a later stage, a beautiful video whereby the multiples of dots went three-dimensional, so truly expressed ‘Thinking Outside the Box’. I talked to Marco about this problem during the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference in Dubai and we talked again when we met at Rome airport near the time this magazine came out. I still have the original paper on my computer.

Marco worked with Pablo Ramirez on the presentation on YouTube and it is self explanatory there. I recommend people view it. Basically, the team worked on making a formula for the lowest number of connecting lines that would connect any number of dots that formed a square from any number, so, for example, ‘5 squared’ as 25 dots). This became extended to resolve the ‘connection problem’, as stated earlier, in three dimensions.

Jacobsen: Therese Waneck in “The City Sleeps” juxtaposes some of the cynicism and superficiality of the city life and then the expectation of a new generation. On the latter image, the new generations amount to a new spring in some fashion. It is, in its own way, a hopefully cynical presentation of life anew and the world that awaits the new. What do you get from this poem?

Powell: I view her poem as I view my own country of origin, England, even now. There is an innocence in the voice of the poem, the father figure seeking to protect and get his family though hard times, this being expressed a little sardonically on the part of the father, and with a fundamental lie to get them through. Lying about the fundamentals seems to be politically expedient these days, part of the strategy for getting what is wanted, so conscionable to those partaking in it. So, in this, Waneck’s poem expresses some of the zeitgeist of 21st century existence.

Jacobsen: Anja Jaenicke wrote “ATEM (Breath).” Something like an ode to lovers as “stars” while a son, rather than a daughter, brought to life and having its first breath with silent meditation of the story to unfold. I suspect the reference to celestial objects references the cosmic significance in such events. What do you get out of this poem?

Powell: Technically, what strikes me initially is the fact that the first and second lines don’t rhyme, nor half-rhyme. All the others are in rhyming couplets. At that time, I wondered if the first line could end in ‘bridge’, for example, but I don’t like to change poetry and there was no time to liaise with Anja about this point. The line ending in ‘begun’ is also written in a way that should use ‘began’ (past simple) so it would be better to change it to ‘On the day life had begun’, – which would also maintain the rhythm. As for the meaning, it seems to be a case of body parts kept preserved, fallen from the heavens, but for which purpose? Well, that seems to be the point being made: it’s not clear. Perhaps that is why the early structure is unclear too.

Jacobsen: Beatrice Rescazzi published some “Photos of the moon” with some commentary about the context for the visibility of the “tortured” surface of the moon. I really like the upper left quadrant photo with the heavy pock marks on the moon. Was there any commentary behind the submission other than that provided below the four photos?

Powell: The photos were published with Beatrice’s only comments for each photo, so no, there was no other text to be added, and that was what she wanted.

Jacobsen: Paul Edgeworth published “Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” with a focus on Hegel and Hegel’s emphasis on ethical virtue and ethical conduct bound to individuality and a rational society. That’s a tall order. One may be bound to have a coffee from Starbucks labelled “Karl” in half-legible scrawl for a Mrs. Carla Jakkobsdottir returned with such complicated requirements for the Hegelian caffeinated brew. Edgeworth makes the argument for Hegel and the interplay between individualism and statism for a communal ethic, where the communal ethic is rational. To Hegel’s credit, he accrues a series of concrete examples, freedom and the communal ethic, as the interplay for individuals and states. His individualism as the basis for the communalism rests on an axiom of individual volition bound to an assertion of the “world of spirit” as in a “second nature.” Maybe, something like an active, volitional nature deriving from a second world. Although, even more confusing, Hegel blurs the distinction between the will and thought. To think is to have a rationality, to have a rationality amounts to an ethical conduct in potentia as thought and action (and so ethical acts for ethical conduct based on duties) with possible realization in the world, one assumes in potentia from a “world of spirit.” In Hegel’s system, the individual becomes a singular infinite, as the real “I” is pure thinking or thought. Edgeworth proposes this unlimited thought leads to the “Reign of Terror.” The proper thinking delimits itself into an object for study, so as, presumably, to reduce the possibility of a “Reign of Terror.” A self-determining “I” as a proper will (balanced will). There is an admittance of the fundamental reflective and recursive nature of consciousness in the text, which may belie a particular flaw in the pure thought idea as some pure and otherworldly abstract – and rather a derivation and a special type of derivation that – well – derivates indefinitely due to its recursive nature. (In this sense, it may not be “pure” and could function as a basic undermine of the entire philosophical system.) On objectivity, Hegel works to make objective individual proper will unified with the unity between the proper will of the individual second world comprised of the “whole realm of objective freedom and the whole of objective organization” or the Right. The proper I meets the Right when the subjectivity of proper will and the objectivity of the objective realm and organization come together, where a real world exists external to the mind and the mind can abstract it inside of itself. Hegel assumes a freedom of the will in this formulation. A means to will and own oneself, and a foundation for an “ethical consciousness.” An ethical consciousness as grounds for a common will and social contract, and the objective will as “what ought to be” setting the standard for the proper will (individual will) “as it is.” With a disunity between the objective will and the proper individual will, a wrong exists there. What do you think of this first-half presentation of the philosophy of Hegel with the objective will and the subjective will, ethical consciousness, and pure thought, as the basis for communal or individual-statist ethics?

Powell: In short, I agree with the caveats that you have highlighted in your introduction. Furthermore, I think the disjuncture between individual and statist ethics, as outlined by Hegel, in a great part explains why the British approach to the pandemic has gone so disastrously awry, the ‘common sense’ approach and reliance on retaining a sense of ‘individual freedom’, not being respected by the forces of nature in play. The approaches that have worked are either the common imposition of restrictions, that is, one presented as ‘being for the common good’ (like New Zealand’s government stipulated) or has been a governmental approach from leaders who are not questioned as authority figures (as in the United Arab Emirates). As such, the COVID 19 pandemic has been a great leveller in this argument.

Jacobsen: In “Part Two: Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” Edgeworth continues in some of the similar vein. For some reason, he dropped the intellectual scaffolding terms from earlier. There’s a double sense of morality. A moral subject, a subjective proper will with ethical consciousness, must conform itself to the universal will and, in so doing, an act and thought conforms to the Right of the “what ought to be” based on the moral subjects “as it is”-ing. Hegel remains clear: social animals must morally act socially to act morally rightly; pure subjectivism is an evil. Through a process of externalization of the individual will, and in a collective of individual wills in conformity with the universal will, and the construction of institutions in a society in the externalization process, the Right as abstract becomes actual through an intersect of the Right, collections of individuals acting with the rightness of and in conformity with the universal will, and the institutions of the society. The institutions of the society represent this internal-made-external and the construction of a rational state. The in potentia of the universal will represented in the actualization of rightly ordered individual wills in the society via its laws and institutions. Citizens acting in a rational society would act ethically substantively as representatives of the ideals of the society where the ideals and actualities of the society represent the universal will: subjective and objective as substance and, in morality, ethically substantive. Not authoritarianism with a lack of choice, a set of choices constrained in such a manner consistent with a rational society (and so rational life), e.g., choice in career. A choice permitted by a framework creating an individual ethical consciousnesses in accordance with the universal will while within the realm of correct moral choices within the Right. Individual, family, state (institutions and laws), become the three points of tension with a rational society permitting each freedom for construction and constraint for consistency/solidity. The state is “the highest expression of objective spirit,” where the “highest duty of an individual [is] to be a member of the state.” With rationality bound to notions of freedom and freedom of the will, Hegel posits an organicism of the state responsive to some of the changes of its constituents. Edgeworth sums this long formulation as a justification for one form of government: constitutional monarchy. The definitive representative of the individuals, the family, and the state in this constitutional monarchy as the monarch of the state, i.e., a representative of the universal will and collective wills of the people in alignment. An intersect of the subjective and objective discourses as a proposal for a society. Something like the monarch as the “Synthesis” to the subjective and objective “Thesis + Antithesis.” Do you think the constitutional monarchy is tenable? Does this form of thinking about ethics hold water to you?

Powell: To continue the idea of a constitutional monarchy, and with reference (again) to my own country of origin, I believe that the monarchy in place is the best way of representing what is best in society there, with its long sense of tradition and its stability of position, though much of its potential (to vary your phrase a little) has been attenuated, and it is largely a token position at the top, with theoretical powers that are not used, nor desired to be used. The modern era has, I am sorry to say, been identified as being full of falsities and misrepresentations, just to give the appearance of validity, and be falsely representative of the true will of those in power, and many of their followers. In that sense, the state has ceased to be ‘the highest expression of objective spirit’ and the majority of people seem to be accepting it. As such, the arguments presented don’t hold water for the long-term good of the majority because the dichotomy between objective truth and falsity has been blurred.

Jacobsen: Marco Ripà produced a conundrum as a short puzzle and then “The Rectangular Spiral Solution for the n1Xn2X…Xnk Points Problem.” Any thoughts on this one? He has been submitting mathematical pieces to In-Sight Publishing, more recently.

Powell: Yes, Marco presented the spiral solution to the points problem within the workings that we discussed earlier, and this works for all the n values. It is a neat little conundrum.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Graham.

Powell: You’re welcome, Scott, and thank you for the inspiration to review and reflect upon the deep issues presented in the magazine.

References

Edgeworth, P. (2013, December 11). Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Edgeworth, P. (2013, December 11). Part Two: Individuality and the Ethical Life in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Elauria, P. (2013, December 11). A Critique of Modal Ontological Arguments. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Scott, E.A. (2013, December 11). Artwork for this WIN ONE. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Jaenicke, A. (2013, November 20). ATEM (BREATH). Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Rescazzi, B. (2013, December 11). Photos of the moon. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Ripà, M. (2013, December 11). Conundrum designed by Marco Ripà. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Ripà, M. & Remirez, P. (2013, December 11). The Nine Dots Puzzle Extended to nxnx…xn Points. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Ripà, M. (2013, December 11). The Rectangular Spiral Solution for the n1Xn2X…Xnk Points Problem. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Waneck, T. (2013, December 11). The City Sleeps. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Volko, C.D. (2013, December 11). The Universe as Automaton. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Volney, K. (2013, December 11). Quantum Computing. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_11.pdf.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Editor, “Phenomenon.”

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 1, 2022: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10) [Online]. January 2022; 29(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, January 1). Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.A, January. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 29.A (January 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 29.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 29.A (2022): January. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Graham Powell on Issue XI of WIN ONE: Co-Editor, “Phenomenon” (10) [Internet]. (2022, January 29(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-10.

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Free of Charge 12 – Foundation

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,461

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: Kurtz’s intention behind such a comprehensive statement of Secular Humanism; Kurtz; free inquiry; the separation of religion and state; critical intelligence; a moral education without supernaturalism; religion and supernaturalism; reason; evolutionary theory; an education broader than simply critical intelligence, moral education, and defining what is and what is not Secular Humanism; and to get right and appear to miss.

Keywords: ethics, Herb Silverman, Humanism, morality, Paul Kurtz, supernaturalism.

Free of Charge 12 – Foundation

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With the large number of manifestos on offer including the Humanist Manifesto I (1933), Amsterdam Declaration (1952), Humanist Manifesto II (1973), A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), A Declaration of Interdependence (1988), Humanism: Why, What, and What For, In 882 Words (1996), IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism (1996), Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call For A New Planetary Humanism, The Promise of Manifesto 2000, Amsterdam Declaration (2002), Humanist Manifesto III/Humanism and Its Aspirations (2003), Manifeste pour un humanisme contemporain/Manifesto for a contemporary humanism (2012), I find the analysis of each by a distinguished and elder member of the community welcome, and enlightening, especially with the third Amsterdam Declaration coming from Humanists International with input from the global Humanist community. A document representative, insofar as possible within C-19 conditions, of the democratic aspirations of the practices of Secular Humanism. One of the larger documents is A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980). What was Kurtz’s intention behind such a comprehensive statement of Secular Humanism? 

Dr. Herb Silverman[1],[2]: Paul Kurtz’s Secular Humanist Declaration (1980) described why democratic secular humanism has been a powerful force in world culture, and what we can do to fight anti-secularist trends posed by religion. Kurtz explained why the separation of religion and government is essential and why we needed to oppose the shackling of any type of free thought. He supported trust in human reason and compassion, rather than in divine guidance or untested superstitious beliefs. Kurtz promoted following the best science available.

Paul Kurtz’s greatest strengths were his abilities to found and grow organizations, including the current Center for Inquiry (formerly named the Council for Secular Humanism). He will be remembered as perhaps the most significant force in the second half of the 20th century supporting secular humanism and the ability to live a good life without religion.

Jacobsen: Also, as a short aside, what was Kurtz like as a person – behind the curtain so to speak?

Silverman: I first met Paul in the early 1990s at a meeting of the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH), and I became a regional director of CSH. It was the only nontheistic organization I had known about, and its fine magazine Free Inquiry was the only publication I knew that supported living a good and reasoned life without religion. Prometheus Books, another creation of Paul Kurtz, was the only publisher I knew that was devoted to books about Freethought.

I think Paul’s greatest weakness was his less than enthusiastic willingness to play well with others he saw as competitors. Kurtz became upset with me when I joined the board of the American Humanist Association (AHA). Both CSH and AHA seemed to be fine organizations worthy of my support, but I soon learned about their divisive history. Kurtz had been on the board of AHA and was the editor of The Humanist magazine, published by AHA. After Kurtz and the AHA parted ways in 1978, on less than friendly terms, Kurtz founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Center for Inquiry. When I helped found the Secular Coalition for America in 2002, Kurtz wanted no part of it. He tended to view with suspicion any organization he didn’t lead or create. Shortly after Kurtz left CSH, they joined the Secular Coalition for America.

I was pleased when, in 2007, the AHA, at its annual conference, presented Kurtz with its Humanist Lifetime Achievement Award, which I think he richly deserved.

Jacobsen: One of the main emphases of American Secular Humanism has been freedom of speech. In other countries and at the United Nations, this gets labelled as freedom of expression in legal documents and human rights stipulations. The fundamental idea here seems as if the free inquiry, which is the first idea presented in A Secular Humanist Declaration – a document founded well before I was born. Why is free inquiry the first point made in such a document by a pillar of the intellectual history of Secular Humanism?

Silverman: First, Free Inquiry was the magazine that Paul Kurtz started, so you would expect his document to emphasize free inquiry. Commitment to free inquiry means we tolerate diversity of opinion and respect the right of individuals to express unpopular beliefs. Of course, all views should be open to critical scrutiny. The premise is that free inquiry is more likely to lead to truths with a free exchange of ideas. This applies to science, as well as to politics, economics, morality, and religion. Free inquiry also necessitates recognition of civil liberties, which include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of and from religion. Neither states nor religions may impose a religious doctrine on people.

Jacobsen: With the Trump Administration over, another poignant point made by Kurtz was the separation of religion and state, what have been some more aggressive moves in various states in the United States of concern and hammering home the points made by Kurtz once more?

Silverman: Currently, one of the most aggressive moves against separation of religion and government is in the state of Texas, which wants to allow a woman who has an abortion or someone who performs an abortion to be charged with assault or homicide, a crime punishable by death in the state of Texas. Other states have passed bills that greatly restrict a woman’s right to an abortion. The Supreme Court is also imposing a set of religious views on the rest of the country, like insisting a fetus is a person from conception. Our courts and our democracy face a crisis of credibility.

The good news is that many Americans are abandoning organized religious institutions. The “nones,” people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular,” has risen to 29 percent in America. The Make America Great Again crowd appeals to the nostalgia of a 1950s-era White Christian America. Before he ran for president, Donald Trump favored abortion rights. He changed to get the support of White Evangelical Christians, who rely on the politics of grievance and resentment. Rather than trying to expand its base, the Republican Party is passing restrictive voting and voter suppression laws in different states, and looking for ways to allow Republican-controlled state legislatures to throw out the results of fair elections. This attempt to turn the United States into a Christian authoritarian regime is a grave threat to the secular democracy that Kurtz wrote about.

Other similar concerns include adoption and foster care service where taxpayer funding is going to some faith-based institutions that discriminate against same-sex couples. School voucher programs are funneling taxpayer money to private religious schools that can be exempt from civil rights laws protecting minority faiths, atheists, and LGBTQ students. Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, including churches, are not allowed to endorse candidates. With Donald Trump’s “blessing,” during his administration many churches endorsed candidates with no negative consequences to the churches. Using public funds to support religiously based discrimination violates the Establishment clause of the US Constitution and the civil rights of those who are denied access to government services. To promote separation of religion and government, we need to ensure that government money is made available only to programs and institutions that provide religiously neutral services without discrimination.

Jacobsen: What is critical intelligence? How is this an important part of living an ethically good life via Secular Humanism?

Silverman: Secular humanists are much more than just atheists, those without a belief in any gods. A secular humanist generally has a positive outlook on life, the view that we can do good and make a difference in our one and only life. Secular humanists recognize that ethics was developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists created moral systems based on divine authority. Some early developers of ethics include Socrates, Democritus, Epicurus, Erasmus, Hume, Voltaire, and Kant. They felt that ethical judgments are independent of revealed religion, and that we can apply our intelligence, reason, and wisdom to achieve the good life. For secular humanists, ethical conduct should be judged by critical reason, and the goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals capable of making their own choices in life based on an understanding of human behavior.

As Bertrand Russell said, “A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” I’ll close with two quotes from Robert Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic: “The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray.” And, “Reason, observation and experience, the Holy Trinity of science, have taught us that happiness is the only good, the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so.”

Jacobsen: What should be the contents of a moral education without supernaturalism?

Silverman: The real question is: What should be the contents of a moral education with supernaturalism? I see no realistic answer. We live in a natural, not a supernatural, world. We can make up the supernatural, and somehow bring morality into it. But that is just a fantasy, and people have a wide variety of supernatural beliefs.

Moral development should be promoted in children and young adults by public schools dealing with these values independent of religion. Children should learn about the history of religious moral practices, but they should not be indoctrinated in a faith before they are mature enough to evaluate the merits for themselves. A moral education makes use of the scientific method, which is the most reliable way of understanding the world. Science and technology have improved the human condition. They have had a positive effect on reducing poverty, suffering, and disease in various parts of the world, in extending longevity, and in making the good life possible for more and more people. And while technology can be good, we should not accept what we see on the Internet without evaluating it critically.

In comparing religious and secular morality, we should ask whether it is right to stone homosexuals and disobedient children to death or whether it’s okay to beat people you own as property. If you don’t think it’s moral to do these things, then your moral principles do not come from holy books.

Jacobsen: Kurtz synonymizes religion and supernaturalism in the point about religious skepticism. How are they the same? Are they different? If so, how so? 

Silverman: Religion and supernaturalism have much in common. Most religious people believe in a supernatural deity. However, not all religions believe in the supernatural. I belong to three different religions: American Ethical Union, with Ethical Culture Societies; Society for Humanistic Judaism, with atheist rabbis; and the UU Humanists. All three religions are nontheistic and active participants in the Secular Coalition for America. I’ve also met people who claim not to be religious, but believe in supernatural things like astrology, psychics, and crystals.

Jacobsen: What is reason, properly defined, in a secular humanist philosophy?

Silverman: Reason, for secular humanists, is the use of the rational methods of inquiry, logic, and evidence to develop knowledge and test truth claims. Since humans are prone to err, future corrections sometime need to be made. There are no dogmas in secular humanism. Though our reasoning isn’t infallible, we think reason and science make major contributions to human knowledge and intelligence. Reason has led to the emancipation of hundreds of millions of people from a blind faith in religion and has contributed to their education and the enrichment of their lives.

Jacobsen: How does evolutionary theory present a robust support for a secular humanist philosophy and ethic compared to religious ethics based on interpretations of holy scriptures or holy books?

Silverman: The theory of evolution is under attack by religious fundamentalists, who would like to see creationism taught in schools. A scientific theory like evolution or gravity is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through observation and experimentation. From Darwin on, countless peer-reviewed scientific papers have supported evolution. We wouldn’t have expected scientifically ignorant writers of so-called holy books who lived thousands of years ago to have described the theory of evolution, DNA, or any discovery of modern science, and they didn’t. Evolution is controversial, but the controversy is religious and political, not scientific. Some religions feel threatened by evolution because it contradicts the creation story in Genesis. Even though there is a Flat Earth Society, we don’t teach the flat/round controversary in science class. Creationism should no more be taught as an alternative to the theory of natural selection than “stork theory” should be taught as an alternative to sexual reproduction. Creationism is an alternative to Zeus or Krishna, not Darwin.

As secular humanists, we recognize that we are a highly social and cooperative species. We have evolved to have an innate sense of empathy as a survival mechanism, coupled with thousands of years of experience creating and maintaining complex societies. We have learned what behaviors are best at keeping our species functioning smoothly.

Jacobsen: What might an education broader than simply critical intelligence, moral education, and defining what is and what is not Secular Humanism, to encapsulate Kurtz’s ideas of a “melioristic” form of educational mindset?

Silverman: Meliorism is the belief that the human condition can be improved through concerted effort, and that we have an inherent tendency toward progress. This fits in well with Kurtz’s view on democratic secular humanism, where we look forward with hope rather than backward with despair. We are committed to extending the ideals of reason, freedom, individual and collective opportunity, and democracy throughout the world. The problems we will face in the future, as in the past, will be complex and difficult. Secular humanism places trust in human intelligence rather than in divine guidance. Secular humanists approach the human situation in realistic terms, holding human beings responsible for their own destinies. We believe it is possible to bring about a more humane world based on reason, tolerance, compromise, and negotiations of difference.

Jacobsen: What does this 1980 document seem to get right and appear to miss?

Silverman: I agree with just about everything in the document, possibly with one minor exception: “This declaration defends only that form of secular humanism which is explicitly committed to democracy.” While I certainly favor democracy, I can picture a country with a benevolent dictator who is a secular humanist and supports human rights. Since secular humanism continues to evolve with new information and evidence, an update to the 1980 document should probably address climate change, racism, sexism, and LGBTQ rights. I would also add suggestions on how secular humanists can improve the quality of their personal life, which includes physical activity, a good diet (perhaps vegetarian), getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and having a sense of humor with lots of laughter.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman. 

Appendix I: Footnotes

 [1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 12 – Foundation [Online]. December 2022; 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, December 22). Free of Charge 12 – Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Free of Charge 12 – Foundation. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E, December. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. “Free of Charge 12 – Foundation.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Free of Charge 12 – Foundation.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E (December 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 12 – Foundation’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 12 – Foundation’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Free of Charge 12 – Foundation.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.E (2022): December. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 12 – Foundation [Internet]. (2022, December 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-12.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,368

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

LaRae Bakerink was the Elected Chair of American Mensa and a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Board of Directors of Mensa International. She has been a Member of San Diego Mensa since 2001. Bakerink earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an M.B.A. in Management. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve. She discusses: Covid time and organization maintenance; SIGs; intellectual ability; a higher general awareness than others; a gender skew; and where you learn more about her.

Keywords: American Mensa, EQ, Executive Committee, intelligence, IQ, Larae Bakerink, Mensa Foundation, Mensa International, San Diego.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, what are your newest experimental projects or initiatives coming out Mensa now, or is it more in Covid times that you want to keep things at maintenance level?

Larae Bakerink[1],[2]: Yes, Covid times has made things very tough. We have a world gathering coming up this year since it is the seventy fifth anniversary of Mensa International. And world gathering is going to be in Houston. So, American Mensa gets to host the world gathering this year. So, not only do we have the international board of directors coming for their meeting then we’re going to have our board of directors there for the meeting plus the big convention for the whole thing. So, it’s going to be a 9-day event in Houston. So, our biggest thing is trying to figure out, “Can we still make it happen? What are the things we need to put in place?” So, we’re really working on trying to get that, but since it’s late August we think we’re going to be in pretty good shape, but more of it on American Mensa’s level. We’re really trying to focus on focused marketing, how we can give our members more satisfaction because there are so many venues out there for them to find social venues for high IQ.

Like I said, there’s Meetup and a bunch of other groups and Facebook, where I can just get my interaction over here instead of having to pay membership to Mensa for it. So, those are the key things, how to keep and satisfy our current members and how to attract new members because since one out of 50 people can qualify; we should have a lot more members if we could get them to join or even know about Mensa. I was so excited when I qualified. I knew that I would qualify, but when I finally submitted everything and joined. I told a cousin of mine. I was so excited. I was in Mensa. And she looks at me, says, “What is that?” You know what that does to your ego, and you do not even know what it is.

Jacobsen: It’s a rarefied thing. It’s not necessarily something everyone will know about or if they do know about it, whether or not they will have a high degree of concern for it.

Bakerink: Yes, or they’ll have a positive response to it.

Jacobsen: Sure.

Bakerink: Because it’s been made fun of for so long. I mean being a high IQ, smart, geek, nerd, whatever you want to call it, for so many years was looked down upon. And now, it’s like that’s the cool thing. I was so excited. I know people have different ideas about this when Big Bang Theory came out, the television show. And every one of those guys is someone I grew up with. Yes, those are the people that I hung out with. Although, I was the girl in the comic book shop with all the guys because I was hanging out with my cousin, my friends, but that coming out. That becoming more mainstream while, yes, they did poke fun at certain things because anything to the extreme is going to be laughable.

But they brought out a lot of the angst and the concerns that can happen during this, being around those kind of people, and what it entails and how hard it can be. So, I think that was like the turning point for us. I really think it was that it was okay. It’s okay to be smart. Yes, you’re going to be a little different. We’re all a little different, but I think that that really kind of made it more acceptable. Even though, there are still going to be people who make fun and all that. Differences are going to cause that. It’s human nature.

Jacobsen: Do you think the Underachiever Special Interest Group is something reflective of a category of those kinds of individuals based on their experience, more or less, licking their wounds and commiserating with one another?

Bakerink: It’s a big joke. It’s like, “I could have done this, and I didn’t.” Some parts of it are serious. I think some of them do commiserate like, “I probably should have gone on and got my Ph.D.” But why? Because my younger sister has her Ph.D. She’s always gone, “Ha, ha! I’m a doctor.” So, I just think the underachievers is: I think we all feel that way, like the Imposter Syndrome. ‘Why are we here? I do not feel like I deserve it.” So, I think that happens a lot.

Jacobsen: There is also a certain egalitarian mild denial social culture that people differ on a lot of traits including intellectual ability, cognitive ability. Do you think that’s a common thing in North America?

Bakerink: I do not think everyone is really aware. I find that people with a higher IQ are more aware of that and tend to feel like they do not meet their own expectations, but I do not feel like it’s something that’s a common awareness. I think people more in general – trying not to be too general, but, in general, they just view things, “Oh, she’s much better at math than I am,” or, “He’s a great handyman. He can figure anything out kind of thing.” I think that’s more how they look at it rather than as intelligence or a form of intelligence, just in general feeling. Those of us in the High IQ societies. We’re the ones who focus more on whether it’s intelligence or not, but the general population they do not look at it that way. They just think, “Well, that person.” They do not even think that person is smarter than I am.

They think that person is better at this particular thing than I am. So, they’re better at working on their car, or they’re better at building a computer, or they’re better at doing math. That kind of thing. I do not even think, just my conversations with friends, because I have a lot of friends who are not in Mensa; they do not even think about it that way. Their conversations are more, “Steve just is really great at that,” if he can fix any car.

Jacobsen: So, based on that, it seems more surface level direct observation rather than “What’s the root variable for those individuals potentially being better in those domains?”

Bakerink: I do not think that. That’s just not in their realm. I do not mean it to be degrading. I do not mean it in a way that they’re not smart enough to think that. I just think that in general; their perception doesn’t go that way. Their perception is more as I see this, “Hey, that was pretty smart. That was cool. I would not have figured that out. Ok, cool. That was nice,” and kind of move on.

Jacobsen: So, maybe, it’s something like having a higher cognitive ability or rare cognitive ability. You have a certain expanded awareness in general about ideas, social surroundings, and culture. And at the same time, there’s also been an amplification of that within the culture of the High IQ societies. So, it’s just that much more.

Bakerink: It’s that much more for us because it’s something we are aware of, because it’s something that we focused on to get into a society. And it’s something we talk about in the society because we’re constantly discussing the testing and how to qualify, and how are you going to do this and then making sure that presentations are exciting and interesting enough. So, they focus on that more. I think it’s just your general awareness of your surroundings and the IQ part’s just not the focus. “How do I accomplish this?” And I do not even think that sometimes people are smarter than others. It’s just that I got to this place in three seconds. It took you ten, but we got to the same place. I just got there faster.

Does that make me smarter, or does it just make me a little quicker? So, I try really hard to look at it from that point of view. I’m not necessarily smarter. I just got to that place a little faster. And to me, that makes me faster on test. That makes me able to do things or to come up with a solution a little faster, but doesn’t make me necessarily smarter. Someone asked me one time, “Well, do you consider yourself a genius?” I’m like, “No.”

Jacobsen: That’s a very rare title.

Bakerink: That was a reporter that had asked me that. “Do you consider yourself a genius?” I’m like, “No.” And he goes, “But you’re in this high IQ society, yes?” What do I consider genius? Someone who actually takes their ability and does something with it. To me, that’s genius. Just having the smarts doesn’t.

Jacobsen: I mean for every person that’s really good in school. There’s a lot of other people who have the same ability level that aren’t motivated at all or they might have a comorbidity that could prevent learning sufficiently at a particular time. Dyslexia, it’s undiagnosed. English is a core course to graduate high school. It could even be a social thing that impacts like a young male on the autism spectrum. If social life is not too well, they do not understand what’s going on. That’s a lack of self-insight. They’re isolated. They drop out sort of thing. These things happen all the time.

Bakerink: Now, I spent three months training a young Mensan who kept losing his job. He would fight with his bosses all the time and say, “No, this is the right answer. I know better than you.” So, I worked with him for three months. He was a friend. I was really trying to help him and just explain to him, “No, you do not tell your boss you’re smarter than he is.” I go, “Number one, do not ever say that.” I go, “You stop and listen, figure out what they’re trying to tell you. And then say, ‘Well, this is how I see it,’ and give them the work and show them where you may be right and do not insist that you’re right.” He’s been in the same job now for five years, so I’m really happy.

Jacobsen: Congratulations, you’re z.

Bakerink: So, like I said it’s all the EQ with the IQ, can make a big difference.

Jacobsen: Now, in some of the demographics, you’re mentioning there were thirty plus thousand men, fifteen plus thousand women. So, it’s about a two to one ratio. So, obvious question, why?

Bakerink: I have my personal opinion that I think women, often, do not think they’re as smart as they are. It could be the way they were raised just general. Like I said, I’ve had women tell me the only reason they joined Mensa was because their husband told them they were stupid and they had to prove otherwise. And they really didn’t think they would qualify. And the other thing too is women are the ones who have the children and stay home. Not so much anymore that is changing quite a bit. So, they’re social. What they’re seeking for social interaction is not the same. So, many times the men are out there looking for a smart woman.

Jacobsen: So, they join Mensa.

Bakerink: M Available, that’s one of the SIGs. That’s the dating one. That’s the one. They’re looking for a significant other.

Jacobsen: So, what areas have we not covered? That’s a wide range.

Bakerink: It always is when you’re talking about Mensa. That’s one of the beauties and the absolute horrors of Mensa. We are the two percent of everything. How do you run an organization and get people excited when they have nothing in common, but their IQ? That’s why we have SIGs. If we didn’t have SIG,s Mensa wouldn’t really be what it is because you’d have fifty thousand people with absolutely nothing in common and nothing to talk about because they do not know who to talk to, but the SIGs provide that for them. And how do you figure out how do you lead? How do you figure out the path for the organization? Like I said, I’ve been in a bunch of different organizations. They have a specific purpose or a goal to get to. Like DARs, Daughters of American Revolution that’s all based on your history. Or, in trade organizations, you’re focusing on whatever your industry is.

Mensa is not that. We’re supposed to seek out and foster intelligence in humanity and that sort of thing, and part of what the foundation does helps us with that goal, but to provide a stimulating atmosphere is another one of our missions. So, that’s kind of what we focus on is the events, and then the SIGs because those are all different things that can provide a stimulating atmosphere to people in varied interests. There are people who take such joy in Mensa. We’ve had people that have been members for fifty years. I’m a life member, and I didn’t join until I was forty. So, I’m over twenty years now, but, yes, it’s crazy. It’s weird, but it brings great joy. There are people who absolutely do not know what they would do with their lives without Mensa. Because we have second generation members in leadership now. Now, our national treasurer, she’s a second generation member. She attended her first event in the womb. So, for some people, it’s what they need in their life. And for others, it’s just a little badge of honor.

Jacobsen: Now, the proper website is, to close, USMENSA.org.

Bakerink: Yes. If you want to see my full go to my website, Bakerink.com has my CV on it.

Jacobsen: Thank you so much. And have a lovely Pfizer field trip.

Bakerink: Yes, thank you very much. Me too. All right. Well, it was very nice to meet you. Thank you for the opportunity.

Jacobsen: Thank you too.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Chair, American Mensa; Former Member, International Board of Directors (Executive Committee), Mensa International; Former Ex-Officio Member, Mensa Foundation; Member, San Diego Mensa.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6) [Online]. December 2021; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, December 15). Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, December. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (December 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A, http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2021): December. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Intelligence Culture: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (6) [Internet]. (2021, December 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-6.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Free of Charge 11 – Interlude to the Freethought Finale

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 8, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,585

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: theology and Asimov; empathy and reciprocity; creationism and reciprocity; contributing to secular humanist culture; the God of the gaps; private post-secondary religious institutions; and equity.

Keywords: America, ethics, Herb Silverman, Humanism, morality, religious belief, supernaturalism.

Free of Charge 11 – Interlude to the Freethought Finale

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Your orientation on theology is intriguing to me. The stance from the previous session. Where, “if done right,” theology can be seen as the study of religious belief, which differs from standard definitions as the study of God. Other than an outcome of producing atheists with, for example, reading the holy texts. The idea of rational stances as an outcome of consideration of the broad range of the religious milieu, textual and otherwise. I am reminded of Isaac Asimov, “I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism. Thus, you don’t have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.” It is about a scholasticism in the sense of coming to a rational comprehension of human irrationality, as found in the religions old and new. Are there any other positive outcomes in the study of the world religions, especially in the most sympathetic and objective light? 

Dr. Herb Silverman: As much as I respect Asimov, I disagree somewhat with his saying that objects of faith play no part in rationalism. It depends on what you mean by “rationalism.” To me, it’s about using facts and coming up with a reasonable conclusion based on those facts. For instance, a person could say the following. Fact: My goal in life to be happy. Fact: I can only be happy believing that I will have an eternity of bliss when I die, and therefore, it only makes sense for me to believe I will have an eternity of bliss. This person makes a logical and rational argument to maintain his belief. He will not suffer negative consequences in this life, nor will we be able to convince him that his afterlife belief is wrong.

When Asimov says he prefers rationalism to atheism, I would say atheism for me was a natural outcome of rationalism. I don’t think it is a waste of time to defend atheism when so many people attack it. I like to give thoughtful arguments defending my beliefs or lack thereof, and discuss with theists their beliefs and how they came to them.

In terms of positive outcomes in studying world religions, I think it’s important to learn what other people think, and why. Theists who study world religions might begin to question why  their religion is correct (usually the religion in which they were raised) and all the others are wrong. As well, while studying world religions, we might also see a lot of positives in them (like various versions of the Golden Rule), and a reason why we should treat all humans with respect, even if we think some of their beliefs are nonsense.

Jacobsen: How can empathy and reciprocity be improved in social relations at the individual level?

Silverman: It helps if we try to look at any situation from the other person’s point of view. As members of a highly social and cooperative species, we can recognize that our innate sense of empathy evolved as a survival mechanism. That, along with thousands of years of experience creating and maintaining complex societies, enables us to know what sort of behaviors best keep societies functioning smoothly. I must acknowledge that “tit for tat” is one of the most effective means for survival—treating others the way they treat you. This often encourages others to be as nice to you as they want you to be nice to them.

Jacobsen: To a scrolling creationist making criticisms of reciprocity in human life, as if against principles of selection in nature, so attempting to use straw men of evolutionary thinking to country evolutionary arguments empathy and reciprocity, any response? As I am sure, you must have come across these phenomena before.

Silverman: Many creationists are not interested in what you think because they claim to be so sure that they are right. They only wish to impart their “knowledge” to you. Some of them do not want to wear masks or get vaccines because they believe their god will save them from disease, despite so much contrary evidence. If we can find common ground with creationists on some issues, we might be able to encourage them to hear our point of view.

Jacobsen: What do you consider the most valuable contribution to the secular humanist community in your life?

Silverman: In my life, it was finding out that secular humanists exist and are now out of the closet. I had been a secular humanist most of my life without having heard of the term until people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson criticized it. So, I knew it must be a good thing. When I ran for governor of South Carolina in 1990 to challenge the provision in the SC Constitution that prohibits atheists from becoming governor, I heard from a number of atheist and secular humanist groups about all the worthwhile things they were doing. I proudly became part of that movement of people who are good without any gods.

Jacobsen: Will the gap ever completely close for God of the gaps arguments to stop?

Silverman: I doubt it. There will always be a “god of the gaps” argument because there will always be gaps in human knowledge. When science solves a problem, new questions often arise from that problem. Darwin’s Origin of Species answered many god of the gaps questions. When gaps are filled, the remaining gaps for God keep getting smaller. We now know that lightning is an electrical buildup and discharge in the atmosphere, and that earthquakes are shifts in the plates of the Earth’s crust. An interesting modern example of complete ignorance came from Bill O’Reilly on Fox News when he said that tidal movement was an unexplained phenomenon, implying that God willed the oceans to move. We have known for centuries that tides are caused by the gravitational interaction between the Earth and its moon, and we can say in advance when it will occur. One of my favorite quotes, long before the phrase “god of the gaps” was used, comes from the physician Hippocrates: “People think that epilepsy is divine simply because they don’t have any idea what causes it. But I believe that someday we will understand what causes epilepsy, and at that moment, we will cease to believe that it’s divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.”

Jacobsen: How are private post-secondary evangelical Christian universities contributing to this culture of Trumpism or a post-Trump administration, and the sense of besiegement against white Christians in America? A personal and collective sense, amongst themselves, of losing the country. When, as a Canadian looking onwards, America is meant, or should be seen as, for every citizen of the nation, so when one group sees themselves as losing, then everyone loses, because of seeing themselves as a group apart from the whole and deindividuating into a mass, and in resentment and hostility, which seems nationally self-destructive in the long-term (if kept up).

Silverman: When Donald Trump used the phrase MAGA (Make America Great Again), he was probably hearkening back to growing up in the 1950s when Blacks “knew their place” and white Christianity was privileged and viewed by many as America’s religion. Even though our godless U.S. Constitution prohibits favoring one religion over another or religion over non-religion, it was true that the majority of citizens at that time were white Christians. Times have changed, and Christian nationalists are upset by changes that have happened to the country.

We know that many religious universities do not teach subjects like evolution, which conflicts with their religious agenda. Even worse, some religious universities have political agendas, including the well-known Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Its former president, Jerry Falwell Jr., considered it immoral for evangelicals in 2020 not to support President Trump, adding that Trump could do nothing to lose his support. Falwell was later forced to resign the presidency because of a sex scandal. He hadn’t objected previously to Trump’s sex scandals.

Today, minorities are demanding and receiving some of the equal rights they deserve. We certainly are not yet where we should be, but I think we are moving in the right direction despite Trump and his followers. In the 1950s, in my home state of South Carolina, there were separate water fountains for white and black people. And black people were expected to step into the street to let a white person pass on the sidewalk.

Jacobsen: What specific programs and benefits can help poor schools attain greater equity with the rest of the nation, e.g., decent nutritional programs for kids to have energy and to be able to develop strong minds and to have clarity of mental life, etc.? I ask this as a practical example of secular humanist ethics for those who may benefit the most from it.

Silverman: No school needs to be deficient in any way—enough examples of successful schools exist throughout the country. Students and teachers need adequate resources. When state and local governments make having good schools a specific, primary goal, they allocate adequate tax funds, hire enough competent teachers for smaller-size classes, and have needed counselors. Residents of state and local communities choose what kind of schools they will have, by electing candidates who will or won’t support excellent education for all students, regardless of race or economic level. Education is the tide that lifts all boats and addresses most societal problems. 

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman.

Appendix I: Footnotes

 [1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale [Online]. December 2022; 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, December 8). Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E, December. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. “Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E (December 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.E (2022): December. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 11 — Interlude to the Freethought Finale [Internet]. (2022, December 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-11.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,877

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

LaRae Bakerink was the Elected Chair of American Mensa and a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Board of Directors of Mensa International. She has been a Member of San Diego Mensa since 2001. Bakerink earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an M.B.A. in Management. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve. She discusses: staff; tests for acceptance; the magazine; demographics; younger people; and types of email.

Keywords: American Mensa, EQ, Executive Committee, intelligence, IQ, Larae Bakerink, Mensa Foundation, Mensa International, San Diego.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We covered some of the tests. That’s for psychiatrists and psychologists. We covered the social aspects of history, covered the important aspects around the fact that it’s democratic. And it’s volunteer based.

Larae Bakerink[1],[2]: Yes, we do have a staff at the national office. We actually have paid employees. We have the largest staff of any of the national Mensa’s ,but we’re the largest national Mensa of any of the national Mensa’s, but yes, the direction is given by the board to the staff, and then the staff carries it out under the executive director.

Jacobsen: So, how many staff and executive directors are there?

Bakerink: One executive director, I believe there’s a total of nineteen staff.

Jacobsen: That’s quite hefty.

Bakerink: It is, but when you consider the fact that we have so many members and we have these huge events, we have the world gathering coming up this year, and then we have Mind Games, which is another national event that’s just game playing. Now, you want to be a board game nerd. That’s the place to go. It’s four hundred people. You have forty hours to play thirty games. There’s usually seventy games. They’re submitted by game board companies. The games have to be less than two years old, but they have to be on the market. So, no prototypes which is too bad because I’d love to get my hands on some prototypes, but everybody in a big room. You play the games together. You rate them. You score them, and then the top five winners at the end of the weekend get what’s called the Mensa Select seal.

And that means that they’re allowed to put this golden seal on their box that says it was voted one of the highest for whatever year by Mensa members. And it’s a big competition, the game companies like it because we’re the only non-paid award they can get. All the other awards that game companies get, they can put money up for it. For us, they have to earn it. Our members have to grade them high for them to earn it. So, they really like getting our award. And it’s a blast. It is so much fun because you stay up all night. Because you want to make sure you get your thirty games, but, most of the people who attend, they want to play every single game there because you get to take a couple of them home at the end of the event. So, they want to pick the game that they want to take home.

So, we have that plus all the regional gatherings. We have a huge magazine that’s put out every month. There’s a lot to running our organization and the employees also support the foundation. And the foundation is a whole separate thing, its own separate board, separate company. So, we do have a big staff, but every one of them plays a really important role in helping our local groups with leadership development, making sure that everything’s all up to date plus taking in all the scoring because the proctors do not score any of the tests. The proctors give the tests then pack them up, and they all get sent to the national office. They’re scored there. So, the staff handles a lot that you would not want to volunteer to handle. Plus, our website is huge and database management is a big deal. That’s all stuff that you do not want volunteers doing.

Jacobsen: So, some of these tests that you’re permitting for admission. How do they go? What’s the reasonable limit in terms of the scores 160?

Bakerink: See, the scores are on percentiles. They’re not on IQ. Only a psychiatrist can determine an IQ. Our supervisory psychologist is very adamant about that because we’re not licensed to do that. All the tests can do is give you a percentile, and then a psychologist can interpret it for you because it depends on your age and that sort of thing, depending on the test. So, I honestly do not know how high it can go. I know we’ve got members from, I believe, right now our youngest member’s two and a half years old and our oldest member’s one hundred and three. We just had a 92-year-old guy join for the first time. He found some old military whatever. He was so excited that he could qualify and join. So, it’s really neat to see people get excited about it.

Jacobsen: This magazine, how big is the publication?

Bakerink: I think its 48 pages. I never remember, but it’s full color magazine. You can choose to get it mailed to you or by email. It’s a lot. We have a lot of articles submitted. In fact, I have to finish writing my column today. We have a lot of articles submitted by members. Our biggest one every year, our fiction issue where we have fiction submitted by all the members that gets scored and only certain ones actually make it into the magazine. And that one’s really, really popular. People just love getting that one and seeing what their friends are writing. And I hate writing, that’s the one thing I hate. I’m a math person. Give me numbers. That is the hardest part for me being chair is having to write a monthly column.

Jacobsen: Do you do like a monthly newsletter things like this to?

Bakerink: Our local group does a monthly newsletter. In fact, most local groups do so they have their own private newsletter along with the national magazine. Because that lists their events that are happening right in their local area. And then the local group newsletters, everyone. They have some kind of puzzle. They have some kind of trivia quiz. There’s always some kind of game or some games in them. And these are new ones that members are coming up with every month and submitting to their editor to put in. So, it’s pretty amazing. Just the amount of information that comes out of our members that they want to put out and show to other members.

Jacobsen: What would you say are the main hunks, demographics, of America Mensa?

Bakerink: Member age breakdown: Currently, our membership is 47,778 seven hundred and twenty eight. We are over 30,000 male, about 16,000 female. Our officer breakdown is almost half and half male and female. Our officer age breakdown, our average age, is between 46 and 65 for officers, but average age of a new members right now is 28. Average age of members as a whole 53, average age of our officers is 60.

Jacobsen: There’s a certain building up to an officer position that makes some sense too. Building up reputation, knowing organization more, and then deciding to sign up for a potential democratically elected position.

Bakerink: So, the majority of our membership right now is between 46, like two thirds of our membership right now is 46 years and olde, but all of our incoming members, the average new member age, is 28. So, the age range is actually going down because the newer members joining have been younger.

Jacobsen: What do you think is the reason for an influx of younger people?

Bakerink: I honestly do not know. It’s interesting because we will get a big influx of like kids who just started college and they found out about Mensa. They thought they would help with their college career, but then you get busy. You get married, or you have kids, and that kind of falls off. but then you’re looking for more interaction again as your life settles. And then they come back into the fold. So, it’s really interesting to see the waves and the dynamic of how that works, but we’ve been getting our officers age range down more too because our younger group, especially Gen Y, has become more and more involved in it. They want to have a say in what’s happening. And I’m like, “OK, you want to have a say in what’s happening, put your seat, put your butt in a leadership seat,” and they took me up on it. And I’m really glad they did.

They have just done some amazing stuff. Our Gen Y and Gen X have really started putting efforts into participating in leadership and leadership development where we do leadership development workshops, which can be used outside of Mensa. But it’s to help them learn leadership roles in Mensa. So, I think that that’s something that they like a lot because some of them have actually told me that it has helped them at work. Some of the things they’ve learned in leadership from Mensa. So, I do not know why we may be getting new members in. I know that we get a big influx whenever there’s an article about a 4-year-old that has joined Mensa or a two year old that has joined Mensa because it always makes great news. And then all of a sudden, I will get one hundred emails from parents, “My child’s really smart too.” I’m very happy to hear that. You will need to have them tested.

Jacobsen: Is this next to the conspiracy theory emails you get – the hundreds you get every day?

Bakerink: I mean they’re excited and they want to know that their child is smart, but we do not test anyone under the age of 14. So, if someone’s under that age, they’re going to have to go to their own psychologist or have school testing done, but we always get a big influx of participants and people wanting to get involved once there’s some kind of news article out about a young child joining. So, it’s interesting. Or if there’s a movie star, it’s like every once in a while; something will come out about Gina Davis. And she’ll be asked about Mensa. She’ll go take the test. She’s a hoot. She’s just an amazing person. All the stuff she’s done for women in Hollywood. She’s working with female directors and that kind of stuff. It’s pretty awesome.

But I guess it depends on what’s out in the news and that’s kind of how we’ll get a big influx. We used to joke one of our biggest influxes ever was in, I think, the early 70s from a Reader’s Digest article because Reader’s Digest was the thing. It was the bomb for years and years and years. Everybody had it in their house. And they got a huge influx of applications and people wanting to take the test for Mensa because of that article in Reader’s Digest.

Jacobsen: What was the particular article?

Bakerink: It was someone who was a writer for Reader’s Digest who took the Mensa test and then talked about like their first couple of events that they went to, and that they were excited about it. And since it was a positive article. It really had a great repercussions for us. And even if there’s something that happens in Japan with Mensa or Britain or something, we see ripples from that. People wanting to join or at least asking questions about Mensa.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Chair, American Mensa; Former Member, International Board of Directors (Executive Committee), Mensa International; Former Ex-Officio Member, Mensa Foundation; Member, San Diego Mensa.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5) [Online]. December 2021; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, December 1). Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, December. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (December 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A, http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2021): December. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on Mensa Demographics and Testing: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (5) [Internet]. (2021, December 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-5.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,149

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

LaRae Bakerink was the Elected Chair of American Mensa and a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Board of Directors of Mensa International. She has been a Member of San Diego Mensa since 2001. Bakerink earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an M.B.A. in Management. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve. She discusses: exciting options from Mensa; democratic involvement; and the structure of Mensa.

Keywords: American Mensa, Executive Committee, intelligence, IQ, Larae Bakerink, Mensa Foundation, Mensa International, San Diego.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: That’s like a class of individuals and their expertise that I would really love to interview to get. Some of these questions that I have answers to while others remain open questions or only partially answered. Ok, so, there’s also another category of things that happened within Mensa in general, which are the special interest groups. So, for those who qualify for a certain intelligence level or cognitive ability within the general population, they also have specialized interests. Some people are lucky. They find interests like physics or math or art or music. They find a community; and they’ve been involved in those their entire lives. They had no need for a special interest group with regards to Mensa. For others, they are part of Mensa. They made a conscious decision to seek this out. What are some of the more exciting options or prominent options of special interest groups for American Mensa members?

Larae Bakerink: They are all over the place. I mean I can list off some of the ones: Star Trek. There are every kind of lifestyle type, special interest group, married couples, singles, looking, people in polyamory lifestyles, the LGBTQ, we have like the Gay SIG.  We have some generational SIGs. Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers. We have Teen SIG for the teenagers. There’s history. I know the history SIG is a big one. Physics, in fact, it’s really funny. Our new diversity committee chair is a black woman, but she is also the first black woman physicist. And she’s like the head of the physics organization for physicists in the United States. And so, of course, she’s big in the physics thing. We have one called Sharp Women. It’s women who like to knit, knitting needles.

Jacobsen: That’s a great title.

Bakerink: There’s one for travelling. But that just happened to come up. Yes, we have ADHD SIG, anthropology, art lovers, astronomy, beer me, bitcoin, blazingly lightly armed Mensans.

Jacobsen: Is it like a cavalry?

Bakerink: No. There are people who are interested in range shooting and firearms.

Jacobsen: Oh, cool, OK.

Bakerink: And then Burning Man, which is one of my favorite SIGS. And they have their own camp at Burning Man every year. So, we have another called Snowflake Village. One called shack of SIT.

So, what they have for barter is, they have ice water chairs and shade. So, that’s why they call it a shack of SIT. Of course, debate room, diabetes, Disneyland, Dungeons and Dragons, Evangelical Christianity, Friends of Bill W. Gardening SIG, geo caching, global risk reduction, grammar police, that’s a funny one, hacker nest. Who would not expect a hacker nest in Mensa, right?

Of course, we’ve got High IQ Whovians, because we have got to have Doctor Who, home schooling Mensans, Isolated Ms. Those are people who are not in the United States. These are Mensans who are U.S. citizens, but are placed outside of the U.S. LinkedIn Ms, Muscle Weight Training, M Atheists, M Available, Harry Potter Common Room, M Escape, which is four escape rooms. Right now, they’re doing online escape rooms.

Jacobsen: That’s pretty interesting.

Bakerink: Investment club, sci-fi writers, Spanish, sports fans, M Winers – that’s for wine, not for whining. Military history, multi-sport, musical theater, naturists, needle and thread.

Jacobsen: A common sentiment, I’ve heard there’s a couple of things that come up from just that list. Actually, there’s another point that comes from the very start of the interview as well, at least start of the conversation. I mean, if people are looking for a solid organization in the high IQ community, then a good couple rule of thumbs is look for ones that have been established for a long time, which was a trust among the membership. Two, look for ones that are democratic, it’s not just one person making decisions top down sort of a deal. Rather, it’s bottom up, and then it’s top down based on the democratic structure of it.

Bakerink: Our national board is fifteen voting members plus four non-voting members, so it’s a nineteen-member board.

Jacobsen: That’s a lot.

Bakerink: It’s a lot. Most of the local groups, their boards are five people.

Jacobsen: That makes a sort of sense if they’re going to be local and smaller. That does make more sense.

Bakerink: But the national board is there are ten RVC’s, regional vice chairs. Since we have ten regions, each of the vice chairs is elected by their region. Then we have five national officers, chair, first vice chair, second vice chair, treasurer and secretary. And then we have four appointed officers, director of science and education, which is our link to the foundation because the foundation designates someone that they’re going to have fill that spot. And then we have a membership communication and marketing officer, which are appointees and approved by the board. And those are the ones where you want them to have experience in those areas, so they bring that expertise to the board.

Jacobsen: This is all, I think, just fantastic because it provides a buffer against certain things that can go wrong, as have gone wrong in some other societies. For those who want, I think there’s one article entitled “A Short (and Bloody) History of the High I.Q. Societies,” by Darryl Miyaguchi. So, you have these special interest groups. You have a lot more social engagement. Also, a unique aspect with more social engagement in person outside of Covid times compared to pretty much every other high IQ society that I’m aware of. So, there’s a lot of unique qualities that Mensa brings. I’ve heard some commentary critiquing Mensa as “only” a social club. Yet, I do not see anything particularly negative about that because a lot of people who are aiming for these societies are looking for people that they do not have to talk about their scores, that they can just talk to naturally with, be themselves as you were saying earlier.

Bakerink: And that’s funny. We never talk about our scores. I mean, if someone tries to bring up their score, we’re all like, ‘Where do you think you are? We all are at the 98th percentile or higher. So, who cares?”

Jacobsen: It’s been settled. It’s not an issue.

Bakerink: And it’s really funny. I’ll have a lot of people contact me and say this person swears they’re in Mensa and I know they’re not. “Can we check?”, and it’s like, “You have access to the member directory. If you’re a member, you can look for yourself.” But it’s funny to see the people who claim that they’re in Mensa that are not, and then claim that they are in Mensa and then try to trash us in the process. It’s like: If you’re in Mensa, you wouldn’t trash Mensa. Unless, you specifically set out to do that.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Chair, American Mensa; Former Member, International Board of Directors (Executive Committee), Mensa International; Former Ex-Officio Member, Mensa Foundation; Member, San Diego Mensa.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4; Full Issue Publication Date: January  1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4) [Online]. November 2021; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, November 22). Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, November. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (November 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2021): November. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on American Mensa and SIGs: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (4) [Internet]. (2021, November 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-4.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,431

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

LaRae Bakerink was the Elected Chair of American Mensa and a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Board of Directors of Mensa International. She has been a Member of San Diego Mensa since 2001. Bakerink earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an M.B.A. in Management. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve. She discusses: American Mensa; Mr. and Mrs. Mensa; main attractions of Mensa; communication gap, EQ, and IQ; and tests for Mensa admission.

Keywords: American Mensa, EQ, Executive Committee, intelligence, IQ, Larae Bakerink, Mensa Foundation, Mensa International, Mr. Mensa, Mrs. Mensa, San Diego.

Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What states in particular are more prominently represented within American Mensa?

Larae Bakerink[1],[2]: The higher population states. So, it’s going to be the whole eastern seaboard, New York all down through there, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, just the large cities where more people are located. It’s going to be the same for Mensas. I mean one out of every 50 people qualifies for Mensa. Not everybody joins. And a lot of them do not even realize that they qualify. So, it’s just up to us to figure out how to let them know about us.

Jacobsen: You also have a Mr. Mensa and Mrs. Mensa. What is this?

Bakerink: Mr. and Mrs. Mensa was the contest I was talking about earlier. And what they normally do is then they become like a representative for the foundation. They wear their crown and their sash to events and they encourage people to donate. So, it’s like a big thing for a year. They get to wear their crown and sash to the different events. One of the ways that they raise money is like have a picture with Mrs. Mensa, pay five bucks and then the five dollars goes to the foundation. So, it’s more to encourage our members to let them know about the foundation and then also to get donations for it. And it’s a lot of fun for the people who are involved because someone says, “Why are you wearing a crown?” And then they go, “Well, let me tell you why.” And it just gives them an opportunity to talk about the foundation. And the foundation, they give scholarships. I think it’s from December 1st or November 1st.

People who are going to be in college over the next year can submit an essay as to why they feel that they should get a scholarship. And there’s different scholarships for different things, whether you want to go into engineering or whether you’re LGBTQ or whether you’re going to be a teacher or you want to be an English professor; there’s different scholarships for different things. And you do not have to be a member of Mensa to get a scholarship. It’s for everybody. There are specific ones just for members, but there are designated different scholarship. So, the foundation gives out a lot of scholarships every year. And the nice thing is it involves our members too because all of the essays that are submitted are graded by our members.

Each local group will form a scholarship committee and they’ll review and grade the scholarships and then that goes up to the regional to be graded. And then from there they determine who are the winners and then everybody is notified. And they get anywhere from $600, and then just the regular scholarships goes up to $3,000 to $5,000. And then the foundation has other special awards like the Copper Black Award and stuff, which are large grants that can be $20,000, $10,000, depending on what it’s for. In fact, they just started a new grant program for teachers too.

Jacobsen: What seem to be some of the more main attractions to people?

Bakerink: It’s so different for everybody. Some people want to join just so they can say they have the card. It was a self-affirmation. I did a survey years and years ago just of our local, “Why did you join?” And some of the answers were, “Well, my husband told me, I was too stupid. I qualified. He did not.” I mean because it’s not just Mensa itself. It’s the aptitude that they could qualify and that’s what they care about. Some people are just happy getting their magazine, their monthly magazine. They want to do the crossword puzzles or read what’s going on in their local group. Some people want to do international travel. We have a program called SITE. And I can never remember what it stands for. But basically, what it is, it’s an international travel thing. So, say I want to go to South Africa, I contact their site person in South Africa, and I say, “Where the best hostel is?”

And so, they’ll give you information. A lot of times they may even put you up at their house themselves or take you out to dinner because they get excited about having the foreigners come in from everywhere. And we have it in the United States. It’s not quite as active here because people are a little more nervous or litigious. Not quite sure, but, at least, they provide information. So, when you’re going to go visit somewhere and you’re in Mensa, you can contact their site person in that country and they will provide you with information, let you know about tickets for things and help you along. Some of them will pick them up at the airport. It just depends on the situation and where they are. But I think it’s really given a great flavor to some of our membership that want to travel and didn’t have this ability gather all this knowledge before they go on a trip.

So, some people use it for that. One of our taglines for a while was find the people that get your jokes. Just to be around the people that you feel like you can be normal and be yourself and not have to hold back or worry that they’re going to look at you like, “What did you just say?”

Jacobsen: Do you think there is a communication gap in general – what people experience when they’re at Mensa level or above in terms of their cognitive ability?

Bakerink: I think it has a lot to do with their EQ as well as their IQ. If they have a higher EQ, their ability to communicate no matter who they’re speaking to is better. But if they have a low EQ and a high IQ, they do not understand why someone isn’t comprehending what they’re saying. And so, that makes it a lot more difficult and they feel more separate. They feel distanced from that person. And so, this gives them the ability to just sit and talk and be understood and not worry about being looked at that way.

Jacobsen: I think it’s almost a situation where people in the same country in different regions, but they have a different patois. So, they talk past one another, not all the time but, enough of the time to frustrate one another. And they go, “Those darn x,” and the other people go, “Those darn y.”

Bakerink: Exactly. And it’s that way everywhere. But I mean it really is, I think, more noticeable when you have a big variance in the intelligence level. But like I said, EQ mix can really close that gap if the EQ is high. It’s a lot easier to close that gap to understand and speak to the level of your audience. And that’s kind of what I try to train some of the people coming up in leadership is: gauge your audience. Do not say what you want to say, gauge your audience so they hear what you need them to hear.

Jacobsen: Good point. Now, you mentioned the Stanford-Binet earlier and you mentioned the Wechsler (Adult) Intelligence Scale. To clarify, these are proctored mainstream intelligence tests that are designed to measure intelligence and have the most reliable valid statistics on measuring this psychological construct. So, what other tests can the mainstream of intelligence testing appear to have a higher reliability and validity acceptable to the standards of Mensa international?

Bakerink: American Mensa, I believe, two hundred different tests that we will accept for qualification. And a lot of them, I mean some of them are military admission tests depending on what it is the type of test. There’s different tests that schools give. There’s just so many different tests out there that have to be reviewed by our supervisory psychologist to make sure they meet the standards before she will allow them.

Jacobsen: In conversations with her, what are some of the metrics that you’re gathering that she’s taking into account when considering some of these tests?

Bakerink: That you’d have to ask her. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist. I cannot speak reliably to that. Especially her, she has only been with us for a couple of months now, so we have a new supervisory psychologist. So, I have not had the time to really talk to her about this. So, I can’t answer that well.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Chair, American Mensa; Former Member, International Board of Directors (Executive Committee), Mensa International; Former Ex-Officio Member, Mensa Foundation; Member, San Diego Mensa.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3; Full Issue Publication Date: January  1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3) [Online]. November 2021; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, November 15). Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, November. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (November 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2021): November. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Larae Bakerink on America and Mensa, Mr. and Mrs. Mensa, and Attractions of Mensa: (Former) Elected Chair, American Mensa; (Former) Member, International Board of Directors, Mensa International (3) [Internet]. (2021, November 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/bakerink-3.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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