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An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five)

May 15, 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 15, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,133

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Matthew Scillitani, member of The Glia Society and The Giga Society, is a web developer and SEO specialist living in North Carolina. He is of Italian and British lineage, and is predominantly English-speaking. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at East Carolina University, with a focus on neurobiology and a minor in business marketing. He’s previously worked as a research psychologist, data analyst, and writer, publishing over three hundred papers on topics such as nutrition, fitness, psychology, neuroscience, free will, and Greek history. You may contact him via e-mail at mattscil@gmail.com. He discusses: high intelligence as a basis for community; other bases for community; needs met by these communities; healthy community; unhealthy community; Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society for safe starts into high-IQ communities; community and camaraderie; safety precautions; founding a group; lack of collaboration and communication; individualism; Keith Raniere; communication gap more as a social gap; and mental health examinations; professional path; relationships; systems of American governance; America as a top technology competitor; the next decades; favourite political philosopher; favourite economic philosopher; human nature; and a pragmatic extension of this understanding of human nature help refine our political, economic, and social systems in society.

Keywords: America, community, Giga Society, Glia Society, high-IQ, Matthew Scillitani.

An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies: Member, Giga Society; Member, Glia Society (Part Five)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Thank you for continuing to take the time for this ongoing series. Recap: we talked about personal history, political extremes, God, and some more. This round, I want to focus on community. The sense of coming together for a common cause or becoming part of a common group for a variety of reasons, and healthy community versus unhealthy community. To take the obvious example here, we have the high-IQ communities gathered on, basically, one metric identified with a composite identifier, intelligence quotient or IQ. Is this a reasonable or an unreasonable basis to form communities for individuals with high measured intelligence?

Matthew Scillitani: I think it makes sense to form communities based on certain traits, especially intelligence. The unfortunate problem that all I.Q. societies face is either lack of collaboration or communication altogether. If we put our heads together, I’m sure we could accomplish fantastic things and change the world for the better. That will probably never happen because of the individualism we see in high-I.Q. societies though.

2. Jacobsen: Others form a community, not on intelligence but, on common scientific, political, or other interests to them. Is this reasonable or unreasonable as the basis to form community?

Scillitani: This can be good or bad depending on what the common interest is. Lots of pseudo-scientific communities form and keep the members there trapped in a never-ending delusion, isolated from reality. These groups include Flat-Earthers, Anti-Vaxxers, Holocaust deniers, and the like. Political communities aren’t necessarily bad but can be just as bad as pseudo-scientific ones. When we only interact with people with the same opinions it becomes a problem, especially when those opinions are backed by strong emotions. Every political party has flaws, but the members may find them hard to find and ultimately accept when joining such groups.

Productive communities like the ones that perform community services, do book readings, study, have diverse views on the same topics, and so on are extremely important.

3. Jacobsen: Looking at either case, what needs are met in these communities?

Scillitani: I think the three primary needs met by these communities are socializing, altruism, or to reduce cognitive dissonance. I spoke of the latter a few times in previous sections and it also applies here. Flat-Earthers, for example, are told by normal, rational people that their beliefs are absurd. This produces cognitive dissonance: they believe they’re correct but everyone tells them they’re wrong. To reduce that cognitive dissonance, they may either believe that they are, in fact, wrong or believe everyone else is. Often, it’s the second option that’s picked and joining groups with other irrational members with the same beliefs helps maintain the delusion.

4. Jacobsen: What defines a healthy community?

Scillitani: Any community that helps its members or non-members is a healthy one. That could mean a lot of things, and some examples are (diverse) scientific communities, community service groups, and fitness communities.

5. Jacobsen: What defines an unhealthy community?

Scillitani: Communities that feed their members delusions and harm members or non-members are unhealthy ones. These communities, even ones that seem innocent enough, can be dangerous and evolve into cults.

6. Jacobsen: Based on entering some of the communities and taking the larger view of the political and social dynamics of the high-IQ communities, have these been more or less successful than the comparable communities organized around different principles and entrance criteria?

Scillitani: On the whole, I think the fitness communities I’ve joined were much more successful than any of the I.Q. societies. In fact, most communities work better than them but only because of the great interaction and collaboration between members. High-I.Q. communities could be a wonderful thing if we all put our egos aside.

7. Jacobsen: Over some of the history of Wikipedia and its apparent internal debates on the nature of IQ, high-IQ societies, personalities, and the like, they appear to have narrowed down the search to five main societies with the longest, most robust histories, and the best records for the establishment of different segments of high-IQ communities: Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society. For a safe search for individuals wishing to enter into the communities, as a start, those seem the safest. What criteria should individuals at 2-sigma through 6-sigma incorporate into searching for societies for them? Those aspects of the community worth valuing if individuals wish to join them.

Scillitani: Probably society age, location, and interaction level. Older societies aren’t necessarily better but are usually more reliable than are newer ones. It’s beneficial for societies to have a physical location near the prospective member for in-person meet-ups. The interaction level should also be one that the prospective member is comfortable with. Some societies have meetings or group discussions daily, some monthly, and others even less often. Once a prospective member decides what distance and interaction level they’re comfortable with they should begin their search by seeing how often the society’s meet-ups and journals are posted.

Of course, I.Q. cut-off for inclusion may be important too. Someone with an I.Q. of 175 may not want to join a society with a cut-off of I.Q. 130, for example.

8. Jacobsen: What community sense and camaraderie can high-IQ individuals get somewhere else than high-IQ communities?

Scillitani: Probably in science, philosophy, or any other community that requires higher intelligence.

9. Jacobsen: For problem personalities, cults of personality, literal cults, cult-like entities, aggressive ad hominem and belligerently prejudiced behaviour, even abusive behaviour, anti-science propagandistic efforts, or individuals who lie about their IQs or their IQ scores (inflated or false IQ), how could the community identify, target, isolate, and marginalize such individuals or entities/organizations, as a safety precaution for the health of the overall community moving into the future? Although, bearing in mind, these communities remain extraordinarily niche communities while providing an important need for some members.  Nonetheless, an encouragement of healthy communities can provide a positive image to the public for this niche set of communities for individuals with such an interest in them, as more gifted and talented people exist outside of them than inside of them while meeting socio-emotional and intellectual needs in any case.

Scillitani: Requiring multiple standardized (normed) I.Q. scores at or above the cut-off, expelling members whose behavior is clearly below that cut-off or is disruptive, and maybe even adding a mental health test before admission to filter out certain unsteady groups.

10. Jacobsen: Have you ever thought of founding a high-IQ organization? Even if not, what would its name, principles, mission, and values be?

Scillitani: No, I’ve never thought of that since there are so many others already. If I were to found one, the mission would be to gather intelligent, diverse, and collaborative people together for both socializing and problem-solving. I think an I.Q. cut-off of 135 (S.D. 15) or so would be good for that. It’s high enough that all the members would be smart while also low enough that many people could join. I’d also try and form the society locally and, if it became popular, open up membership to different locations.

I also think many high-I.Q. societies have ridiculous or grandiose names, which I would want to avoid. Something simple like the Thinker Society may be good.

11. Jacobsen: Why the lack of collaboration and communication between high-IQ society members?

Scillitani: Too big egos, tendency towards individualism, and wanting not to look stupid. When someone’s entire identity is formed around their intelligence and they have to collaborate with other smart people then they’re going to feel a bit worried about saying something not-so-smart. I think that’s one of the main reasons smart people choose not to collaborate – fear of looking dumb.

12. Jacobsen: Why is individualism a defining characteristic in the high-IQ societies and a problem for their integration towards singular goals of common substance, interest, and import?

Scillitani: It’s not often someone with an I.Q. of 150+ can successfully share ideas with another person or group who understands them. For that reason, I think many of us share our thoughts with other society members rather than collaborate on solving problems.

13. Jacobsen: Keith Raniere was a recent terrible case of a known cult brought to some semblance of justice with finalizations ongoing for said justice. It shows a case where things can get really, really out of hand. I notice one trend. Why are more men founding these narcissism-driven ‘societies’ or ‘foundations’ and the like more than the women?

Scillitani: Personality differences relating to grandiosity and assertiveness. I think there are few or no sex differences when it comes to narcissism but there are many more grandiose and assertive men than women. That also explains more male entrepreneurs, politicians, and the like. It takes some grandiosity to think someone should be rich, famous, or control others and it takes assertiveness to make it happen.

14. Jacobsen: What do you think the 30-point (S.D. 15) communication gap for intelligence? This may reflect the comment about someone with an IQ of 175 not wanting to join a group with a cut-off of 130.

Scillitani: I think any intelligence-based communication gap is mostly an excuse used by smart people who have too many dissenting opinions and are tired of being told they’re wrong. If someone’s really smart they should be able to express their ideas in such a way that even a child could understand them. When someone disagrees with me I know it’s probably more a personality difference than an intelligence one. That’s because even the smartest people on Earth have drastically different political, religious, and moral beliefs. It’s easier to say “ah, they just disagree because they’re dumb” than to admit one party may be suffering from my favorite term – cognitive dissonance.

That’s not to say anybody can explain anything to anyone; just that the whole communication gap excuse is usually to remedy a hurt ego. I think that rather than a gap there’s probably some requisite intelligence necessary to understand any particular concept. Maybe it takes an I.Q. of 124 to understand how memory is consolidated. If that were the case, as an example, then someone with an I.Q. of 125 explaining it to a person whose I.Q. is 120 would end nowhere. Even though there’s only a 5-point I.Q. gap, the latter person can’t understand how memory is consolidated no matter how hard they try.

While that’s true for any concept, even the average person can understand most things if they’re explained simply enough. In socializing, those topics should rarely come up anyway, so it’s possible for someone with an I.Q. of 175 to get along swell with people whose I.Q.s are 50, 75, or even 100-points below theirs.

15. Jacobsen: Any proposed mental health examinations? Other than some loose questionnaire: “Do you hear voices?”, “Do you think you’re God?”, etc.

Scillitani: An extensive one like the MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) would be my preference. The MMPI-2 has nearly 600 questions and takes the average person 2-3 hours to complete. Long tests like these are good because they tell us a lot about the prospective member, not just in their answers but also in their willingness to take the test in the first place.

16. Jacobsen: With your intelligence, why select the current professional path?

Scillitani: My professional path has changed a lot over the last few years. I was a research psychologist intending on working towards my doctoral degree but was disillusioned by the sorry state of American psychology. I went into business advertising and as a hobby taught myself how to build websites, which soon became my full-time job. I’m currently working on a few projects outside of web development that’ll hopefully help me on my way towards an early retirement.

17. Jacobsen: Has this intelligence helped with development of friendships and more intimate relationships?

Scillitani: It’s definitely helped strengthen relationships and mitigate arguments. However, my introversion keeps me from having many friends in the first place. It’s probably personality differences like that which determine the size of our social circles more than does our intelligence.

18. Jacobsen: What systems of American governance could use a facelift?

Scillitani: The judicial system immediately comes to mind. Most of our government requires reform but our judiciary is especially subpar.

19. Jacobsen: What makes America a/the top contender in the economic and technological sphere of the world?

Scillitani: Capitalism, unethical business practices, highly competitive markets, and so on. Unfortunately, our economic system, which is heavily criticized by about 2/5th of U.S. citizens, is the very reason we’re at the forefront of technology. A country can have (near) economic equality or rapid technological progress, but never both. Competition and high financial rewards are like petrol in the tech engine.

20. Jacobsen: We live in the decade of transition from a unipolar/bipolar world into a political and economic multipolar world. What nations will continue to dominate the top of the international relations and economic spheres in the coming decades?

Scillitani: I’m not so sure what will happen and which nations will continue to do well. Many countries are close to or undergoing an economic or social collapse, the United States being among them. After that happens, it’s hard to tell which countries will bounce back or stay down.

21. Jacobsen: Do you have a favourite political philosopher?

Scillitani: I only know of some but don’t have positive opinions of them.

22. Jacobsen: What about favourite economic philosopher?

Scillitani: Probably Adam Smith. I’m not a proponent of a free market economic system but think Smith’s ideas are interesting and very ahead of his time. Economics aside, he was also a very unique person that’s worth learning about.

23. Jacobsen: What is human nature?

Scillitani: In a previous segment, I said there was a duality to human nature: consumers and producers. Most or all of us have traits of both, with a little more of one or the other. Consumers destroy while producers build. Sometimes destruction is necessary for growth, but a world without consumers may not be so bad. Producers also must consume but do so in a more elegant, refined way – in moderation.

24. Jacobsen: How can this a pragmatic extension of this understanding of human nature help refine our political, economic, and social systems in society?

Scillitani: By accepting that there is no best system of government or economics which will yield great results for every person. Meeting somewhere in the middle on most issues usually produces the highest rate of satisfaction while still never achieving a perfect system for everyone. Ironically, consumers, in spite of making the most fuss about their living situations, will be unhappy no matter what social, economical, or governmental system they’re in.

 

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Giga Society; Member, Glia Society. Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology, East Carolina University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 15, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/. Image Credit: Matthew Scillitani.

*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 Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five) [Online].May 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, May 15). An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, May. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (May 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):May. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Other Considerations for High-IQ Societies (Part Five)[Internet]. (2020, May 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-five.

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