Skip to content

An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One)

May 1, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,348

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Christian is a Philosopher that comes from Belgium.  What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything is better with “vanilla flavour.”  Perhaps, for this reason, his intellectual passion is criticism and irony, in the sense of trying to reveal what “hides behind the mask,” and give birth to the true. For him, ignorance and knowledge never “cross paths.” What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk with his wife. He discusses: personal background; family life; mentors and guardians, or not; schooling; discovery of high intelligence; life with friends and authorities in school; postsecondary education; work; intellectual pursuits; giftedness and intelligence; moral training ad intellectually training with moral training as fundamental; Trump as someone with delusions of grandeur; and an aphorism from Nietzsche; maintaining a low profile; production of good judgment; early ironic attitude as a defence mechanism, and healthy humour and unhealthy humour; social integration; never feeling truly challenged as a student; 185+ (S.D. 15) IQ; the Triple Nine Society; smartest people in history; coming to terms with the world, or having a “mutual misunderstanding”; kindness; an internal sense of synchrony; and the helpfulness of marriage for more balance, and having the right person to find or the right person find you; recommendation of marriage on a qualification; high-IQ communities dealing with problem personalities; Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society, and the reason for joining the Triple Nine Society; self-identification as a philosopher; isolation; shyness; being a strange guy; odd jobs; examples of not being a team player; dropping out of medical school; practical reason and extreme intelligence; having a daughter; symbolization of reality as crucial for morality; failures as essential to the development of good judgment; other things a life partner is to him; lifework as a philosopher; closing the gap between the world and himself; the reason for choosing W.A. Mozart, F. Nietzsche, F. Hegel, and F. Schelling as the smartest people in history; humanization and the giving up of oneself; child’s eye of things not adding up; Wittgenstein’s violent streak; and purported IQs of 200+ S.D. 15.

Keywords: Belgium, Christian Sorenson, F. Hegel, F. Nietzsche, F. Schelling, giftedness, intelligence, IQ, marriage, philosophy, W.A. Mozart.

An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Can you recount some personal background for the audience today? Those relevant facets of the personal identity that existed before you.

Christian Sorenson: I am a Philosopher that always has been low profile, even though I have had extremely high academic qualifications, and that my parents knew that I was profoundly gifted since the very beginning, I detested notoriety in all order of things, I really hated hearing every day that I was a “great genius.”

2. Jacobsen: Now, family life is a bit different and more within young life. What were some dynamics there? The what and the hows of being raised with profound giftedness. 

Sorenson: During my young life I was a very isolated person, even though I made efforts, for not, it was exceedingly difficult for me to have friends or a “girlfriend,” because I was shy. I usually was seen as a “nut” or “nerd” by the rest, I had lots of troubles with relationships, in general, the feedback I received from others was of being a “strange” guy. My parents took a “hard job” raising in the sense of giving emotional support and understanding me.

3. Jacobsen: Mentors outside of guardians can be helpful too. Did you happen to have some of these to foster some intellectual growth, channel it?

Sorenson: Unfortunately, no, I was very sensitive and close with my self, I gave them an “impossible task,” usually they despaired with me, I turned them “pissed off” with my constant ironic attitude, the last since I was about five years old.

4. Jacobsen: How was schooling – bumpy or smooth, accelerated or not?

Sorenson: Very accelerated, always I got bored with everything, my mentors expected that I finished high school when I was under ten, but my parents opposed because they estimated I was emotionally very immature. The academic environment has always been unpleasant for me.

5. Jacobsen: Was high intelligence found early in life, or not? I am trying to sense two aspects here. One is the proxies, the unusually advanced age stuff. Another is the formal testing if any (and if any, to what extent).

Sorenson: Yes, since pre-school. I was tested several times, in 5th grade with WISC (Wechsler Scale), my estimated IQ with full scale extrapolated was 180 sd15 at that time.

6. Jacobsen: How was life with friends and authorities in school, in work, and so on, moving into later adolescence and young adulthood? 

Sorenson: It was difficult, I had big difficulties for social integration, even though I tried to do my best most of the time. I respected authority, but at the same time, I had an overly critical attitude with it and everything. Usually, I was anxious and grumpy because of the slowness I felt from my environment. I never adapted to a job or for working as a team.

7. Jacobsen: What about some postsecondary education? What have been some of the areas of focus for you? Have these been pleasurable, or other, experiences for you?

Sorenson: I always was disorientated; I guess in almost everything. At that time, I went to medical school, with outstanding qualifications, that afterwards I left dumped on the road, though I spent my time fooling around, lifting weights, and boxing.

8. Jacobsen: How about work? What have been some of the places where you have worked and found the most productivity and financial gain, or intellectual interest?

Sorenson: One of the few works I had was as Professor in University for post-graduate students. A couple of times they offered me to be Dean of Philosophy, but I rejected it. I disliked teaching because I lack patience with students.

9. Jacobsen: What are some of the intellectual pursuits – ahem – pursued on the side for you? How have these been taken as simply an innate interest? What ones have taken time to develop an interest more organically over time because you did not see the immediate interest or value in them before?

Sorenson: I took for my Ph.D. from bachelor’s degree 24 months, meanwhile, I spent half a day in the gym and taking care of my daughter, I did it in Italian without speaking a word at the beginning, and I earned a double summa cum laude 10.0 in my Master’s Degree and Ph.D. thesis, and a final qualification of 9.8 summa cum laude. Paradoxically for me, this “pursuit” means almost nothing, in the sense that academic degrees and qualifications, as IQ scores also do, are less than “flatus vocis.”

10. Jacobsen: Let us set the stage for Part Two with the question on giftedness and intelligence, what are they? How are they similar? How are they different? How can these, as neutral cognitive architectural outputs, be used for good and for bad? 

Sorenson: For me,the concept of IQ is not equivalent to intelligence, the former is a reductive construct, meanwhile the last is much more complex and simple at the same time, and immeasurable, perhaps more identifiable with the concept of intuition in the sense of “intus-leggere,” that’s to say the capacity of reading things inside. Giftedness is the category segment of highest IQ scores represented in the extreme right portion of normality curve, in that sense semantically speaking, belongs to the IQ and not to the concept of intelligence. The point here is not “how these can be used,” because this has to be with the “natural selection” force that operates over these. That’s to say, the dilemma “good-bad used of” exists just until a certain level of IQ-intelligence, over that, I believe necessarily there’s only one option: “IQ-intelligence good use,” since the inclination towards good would constitute a form of the “practical reason” in extremely gifted, who besides represent an extremely low rarity in nature.

11. Jacobsen: What is the importance of moral training alongside intellectual training to keep the ledger more towards intelligence used for good rather than bad? What are some examples of this, e.g., cults of personality, cult-like entities, delusions of grandeur, isolationism, terrorism, extremism in politics or religion, etc.?

Sorenson: For me morality is fundamental, I believe there is a positive correlation between higher level of intelligence and higher morality. I think badness like terrorism, and extremism in all order of things, are linked to the inability to symbolize reality, and for integrating opposite elements in a superior synthesis. I admire Platon, since I believe “to know is to contemplate.”

12. Jacobsen: Any examples come to mind of those with delusions of grandeur?

Sorenson: Trump.

13. Jacobsen: Who else do you admire? Any other aphorisms that stand out from them?

Sorenson: Nietzsche, when he says that “god doesn’t dance with man.”

14. Jacobsen: Why maintain such a low profile? How can the community of the gifted avoid personality cult-like groups or, on the individual level, delusions of grandeur?

Sorenson: Because for me maintaining a low profile is a consequence. I believe in this point the opposite of above, that’s to say there’s a negative correlation between “intelligence” and delusions of grandeur. I feel that the higher intelligence is, the higher the awareness of “agnosticism” you have. Feeling that higher intelligence serves to realize that you are even more far of knowledge, “makes me feel sick” of having delusions of grandeur. I believe that irony is a useful tool to employ “with” gifted community in the order they avoid what you say.

15. Jacobsen: What produces good judgment alongside high intelligence?

Sorenson: The experience of failures.

16. Jacobsen: Was the early ironic attitude a defense mechanism? Is humour reflective of high intelligence? What is healthy humour? What is unhealthy humour of those who need things made explicit here?

Sorenson: Yes, it was. Humour is reflective of that only if it has multiple significations. I believe that if humour makes you laugh, that’s involuntary, and if that is right, then that’s unconscious, and if this last is true, then is because “something happens” deep in your psyche, in consequence this can be healthy since allows you to free yourself from something that made you suffer. Unhealthy humour is something that has an obvious meaning.

17. Jacobsen: How is social integration for you now? How is the disorientation feeling now? Any reasons for the changes in it?

Sorenson: For me until now social integration it is a headache. Crowds cause my autonomic sensory nerves to collapse, and if is noisy it’s even worst, it makes me crabby. In small social groups, I usually rest in silence because I don’t know what to talk about. I feel more comfortable in one-on-one social interactions. Usually, people get bored listening to me because they say I explain things in a weird and reverberant way. Really I don’t feel any change from others, perhaps of myself yes, since I arrived at the conclusion that there’s no remedy. Regarding the disorientation, I feel that now it’s less chronic and more acute, my wife in this chapter has been important emotional support.

18. Jacobsen: Did you ever feel truly challenged as a student?

Sorenson: Never.

19. Jacobsen: Above 180 (S.D.15), what would be the best measurement of intelligence for you?

Sorenson: Actually I don’t have the best measurements because since early they have been indeed consistent. Three years ago also in the Wechsler Scale with WAIS form R, my estimated IQ with full scale extrapolated was 185+ sd15.

20.Jacobsen: Wikipedia references five societies of all those vetted: Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society. If someone wants to become involved in a reliable high-IQ society, a safe one, then those are by far the best bets. What are other resources for the various levels of the highly intelligent, whether young or old?

Sorenson: I belong to Triple Nine Society. I feel from one side that it should be a stricter segmentation between moderately, highly and profoundly gifted, especially regarding this last with the two formers ones since there’s an essential qualitative difference. Universities should open and value especially to profoundly gifted, for the value they have in themselves, and therefore integrate them to their communities in some field of study.

21. Jacobsen: Who seem like the smartest people in history to you? You can rank-order, or not, if you like. This isn’t a trivial point, as this is an obvious obsession and trend in the high-IQ communities.

Sorenson:

  1. W.A. Mozart
  2. Nietzsche
  3. Hegel
  4. Schelling

22. Jacobsen: How does one come to terms with the world as a nearly 6-sigma person?

Sorenson: Though I feel from my side that I have “made peace” with it, until now I still continue feeling that between us, there’s a “mutual misunderstanding.”

23. Jacobsen: What is the importance of kindness growing up, for oneself as a perfectionist and for others for a more harmonious and ethical life?

Sorenson: Both, personally for me and for others, I feel kindness growing up is not only fundamental but crucial, since precisely this is the break point that “tips the balance” towards harmony and ethical life or not. In my personal history, the lack of kindness growing, has to be the most critical factor regarding the core of what I feel as my emotional handicap.

24. Jacobsen: What is the internal sense of asynchrony growing up as a very intelligent child?

Sorenson: It is to have the permanent feeling that things don’t “add up.”

25. Jacobsen: Is marriage helpful in becoming more balanced emotionally and socially in the world?

Sorenson: It depends, is helpful if you find the right person, or rather said if the right person finds you.

26. Jacobsen: Would you recommend marriage to other highly intelligent people?

Sorenson: Sure, as long as it’s recommendable, and that depends on who is the other.

27. Jacobsen: How can the high-IQ communities deal with problem personalities through formal and informal mechanisms, whether megalomania, malignant narcissism, or patterns of verbal and emotional abuse, or simply sexist or racist sentiments?

Sorenson: First of all, you need to keep in mind, in my opinion, that those problem personalities are to be found “up to” a certain level of IQ score, above which it’s unlikely. In consequence, deontologically speaking, there are essential differences between the segments of the gifted. Saying this, it must be noted that the former one corresponds to a failure of the sense of reality, and it is likely to be a disorder of the individual sphere, meanwhile others refer to antisocial behaviours which are frankly dangerous since they put at direct risk, physical and mental integrity of others, and that’s always serious. In this sense these last, in the high-IQ communities, need to have both, symbolic and real limits. That’s to say, besides having internal sanctions and criminal prosecutions, communities simultaneously with demanding high IQ’s, they should also request some kind of recognition from the community to which that person belongs.

28. Jacobsen: Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society are the five mentioned before. Why join the Triple Nine Society? What are the main positives gathered from it?

Sorenson: Until a while ago I did not want to enter to any of these Societies in my reluctance towards everything related to intellectuality. It was my wife who contacted authorities of Mensa at that time to explain my case, and to tell them that my scores were far above the ceilings of intelligence scales, and besides, that she “was and is” absolutely convinced, and not because she “fell in love,” that I have the highest IQ in the world. Therefore, asked for advice, because was concerned as she felt that something “was missing” in my life, they suggested to her that I should better go to Triple Nine Society since the minimum IQ for entering was much higher than Mensa, and in consequence, I would feel more comfortable. I followed the suggestion of my wife, but not too convinced, because I thought as I do now, that I am “normal” or “average.” Anyhow, the point was that maybe in that place, perhaps I would not have the sensation of being discriminated against. The other reason is related to the fact that I am critical with the High Range IQ test regarding their validity and reliability. I have known very “magical” and “mysterious” cases of persons who earned a meagre score of 160 in WAIS, and after they show scores above 200 sd15 with High Range IQ Test. I guess that in these, the “burden” of doubt would fall more down than up. Triple Nine Society worked only with a supervised test applied by psychologists, which for me was more serious and reliable.

29. Jacobsen: Why self-identify first as a “Philosopher”?

Sorenson: Because I detest academic and degree “labels”. I feel that “being a philosopher” probably identifies me since I was five. Besides, I have what is needed for being a Philosopher, that’s to say I have enough idleness, the simplicity of things amazes me and I am unpopular enough.

30. Jacobsen: In your isolation, did you ever feel alone? Or did you feel more at home? Knowing we’re, in some manner, kindred somehow, I, probably, already know the answer.

Sorenson: I used to feel alone in my periods of isolation, since it commonly was a forced isolation. For me one of the worst sensations is loneliness, definitely, I dislike it and psychologically unbalances me.

31. Jacobsen: Is shyness more common or less common among the highly intelligent?

Sorenson: I believe it is more common.

32. Jacobsen: What type of “‘strange’ guy”?

Sorenson: Someone who most of the time was in silence because he didn’t know what to talk about. Who spoke in a weird way, with a “different tune” and used to dress with very bad taste.

33. Jacobsen: For those jobs where you did not adapt, what were those in the past before academic work?

Sorenson: Not only before, but also after. Brothel bouncer, bodyguard, street fighter and blueberry seasonal picker.

34. Jacobsen: What are examples of not being a team player in teenage and young adult years?

Sorenson: I hated recess at school, team sports, and group works in school and university.

35. Jacobsen: Why drop out of medical school? Why begin lifting weights and boxing?

Sorenson: I did the three at the same time. I dropped out of medical school just because I got bored. I was bored of getting straight 10.0 in everything and feeling that I was wasting my time, even though they gave me work as an assistant student in some lab researches. In fact, it happened something completely unusual, since the dean of Medicine called my father for a meeting with him and other professors, and they implored my father that I don’t drop out of my studies. I felt the envy of professors.

36. Jacobsen: Can you elaborate on practical reason in extreme intelligence, as a rare combination, please? The idea of practical reason and the reason for the rarity of the combination outside of obvious statistical expectations of the rarity in combining two uncommon traits.

Sorenson: I believe that practical reason are innate forms with a structural basis in the Central Nervous System of extreme intelligence linked with the Amygdala of the Limbic System and the Frontal Lobe.

37. Jacobsen: How does having a child, a daughter, change the perspective on life and the passage of time?

Sorenson: Not really, for me, the family constellation was the most important and after the divorce, since I suppose who was my wife found a guy less boring than me, I saw the collapse of that and the loss of my daughters. For me, the physical distance implies also emotional distancing, because being a “remote” father, in my opinion, is never comparable to be a father every day “in situ”.

38. Jacobsen: Why relate symbolization of reality with morality? Is there another manner in which to formulate this thought?

Sorenson: Is related because, the lack of symbolization doesn’t allow one to relate with the world of ideas, and forces you to relate exclusively to the reality of the thing itself, with nothing that mediates between you and reality. This adherence to concrete reality, produces strong feelings of frustration because for different reasons, things in reality are not always accessible, and finally this brings, along with the fact that there are no ideational models that act as values, to behaviours without impulse control that are at odds with morality.

39. Jacobsen: What makes failures consequential for the development of good judgment among the highly intelligent?

Sorenson: Since that leads you to flex you towards yourself, and in that movement the conscience of good judgement may arise.

40. Jacobsen: Other than emotional support, what is a life partner to you?

Sorenson: The chance to live complicity with, as much as possible.

41. Jacobsen: Have you chosen a lifework as a Philosopher?

Sorenson: I guess so, I am intrigued by the relationship between present and eternity.

42. Jacobsen: What might close the gap between the world and you – the “mutual misunderstanding”?

Sorenson: The remorse, tremor and grief.

43. Jacobsen: Why select W.A. Mozart, F. Nietzsche, F. Hegel, and F. Schelling?

Sorenson: Because they symbolize four traits of my personality respectively:  the irony, will, ambivalence and crypticism.

44. Jacobsen: Regarding morality as fundamental, kindness as key, and a failure of the sense of reality” as a basis for the delusions of grandeur and the problem personalities in the high-IQ communities, prominent or not, how can a recalibration towards reality build more kindness in high-IQ communities, inside in the apparently personality-disjunct broken-fragmented individuals, and, in essence, move communities of the high-IQ not only towards communities as communities, but communities of kindness, compassion, care, with a sense of reality as in high-IQ communities as moral communities?

Sorenson: Through a process of humanization, which consists in “giving up the desire for oneself”.

45. Jacobsen: From a child’s eye, what doesn’t “add up”?

Sorenson: The way I thought and felt the world and myself, and the way the world saw me.

46. Jacobsen: Wittgenstein used to hit students for not doing math problems. He was sort of smart, but he gets discounted based on this behaviour, somehow, to me. His abusive nature and cruelty.

Sorenson: A traumatic brain injury wasn’t going to make things better… From my point of view, there are things that are in the order of “metaphysical impossibility,” and that cannot be changed.

47. Jacobsen: For the audience today, what is the statistical rarity of 200 S.D. 15? I ask this to give an idea of the extreme rarity extrapolated, statistically, if such an IQ score represents a true IQ score. Then the public can make personal judgments as to the reasonable of claims of 200 or 200+ IQs if assumed on an S.D. of 15. I think that should suffice for Part One.

Sorenson: It is a rarity of one in every seventy-six billion in the general population. That’s to say thirteen times the current world population. Therefore whoever claims to have an IQ above 200 sd15 is “not born yet”…

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Independent Philosopher.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One) [Online].May 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, May 1). An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, May. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (May 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):May. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one&gt;.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Profound Giftedness, Early Life, Marriage, Philosophy, and a Low Profile (Part One) [Internet]. (2020, May 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 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 and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. 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 co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: