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Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3)

October 15, 2020

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2020

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,933

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Mhedi Banafshei is a Member of the World Genius Directory. He discusses: high-IQ communities defined within the parameters; egalitarianism; common things; certain intellectual interests’ the high-IQ societies; the issues around the legitimacy of high-IQ societies; the issues around the “existence of differences of intelligence altogether”; some of the reasons of others for joining the high-IQ societies; examples of individuals who could only be identified as geniuses; inappropriate ways of putting forth one’s ideas; the important lesson on resilience in the midst of reality; a gifted person learn to trust, drop their guard, and trust their natural inclinations of interests to guide them in life; “answers that are weighted differently rather than just considered as either correct or incorrect”; the injustices of the past; high-IQ societies matching “most things in life”; the precarious balance between humility and confidence; some programs available for the “broadening of horizons” of the gifted and the talented; and speculation as to the reasons for “those with IQs above 150 or so… less likely to have careers of prestigious positions.”

Keywords: confidence, egalitarianism, high-IQ societies, geniuses, humility, injustices, interests, Mhedi Banafshei, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3)

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

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What makes high-IQ communities defined within the parameters of any “social factor which indicates something about human values or something meaningful in terms of experiences of life is a foundation of community”?

Mhedi Banafshei[1],[2]*:  Naturally, many members of high IQ societies are quite adept at being critical thinkers. Those who aren’t inclined to superficially analyze things are likely to find friends among themselves, in the same way that those who’re simply led by popular opinion and the media attract each other. The theory that one can only meaningfully communicate with those within two standard deviations of one’s own IQ score does have some truth to it, even if it doesn’t explain everything.

Jacobsen: Why is egalitarianism a common trait within the high-IQ societies?

Banafshei: I suppose many of us are smart enough to know that the value of something achieved is not determined by the superficial characteristics of the achiever.

Jacobsen: What are some of the common things to help “identify people with whom they have more than one thing in common”?

Banafshei: I think it helps to try to listen better than you talk. People will reveal things well enough, and soon enough, when you do that.

Jacobsen: You stated, “Given that having a high IQ does generally relate to a somewhat higher likelihood of forming certain intellectual interests, such societies are giving many opportunities to not only find those with similar interests but also those who happen to be equally cognitively equipped in relation to exploration of the subjects of mutual investment.” I ask: What seem like such “certain intellectual interests” in which “societies are giving many opportunities”?

Banafshei: It hasn’t been difficult for me to find knowledgeable people within IQ societies to converse with about the subjects I’m interested in, which relate to some of the abstract topics of philosophy, mathematics and psychology. Many of us find IQ societies to be very handy in terms of just learning about almost any subject for purposes of curiosity and intellectual development even, without there necessarily being any desire of academic ambition. And for this reason, IQ societies can have an educational value for the intelligent that can’t be simply replaced by formal education. In terms of the aforementioned, I’ve found the IQ societies founded by Iakovos Koukas to be very good and believe they’ll pave the way of the high, and especially ultra-high, IQ sphere.

Jacobsen: Do the high-IQ societies seem more important to a country culture or less important in general now?

Banafshei: IQ societies are of limited relevance in most countries because options are very limited in terms of the existence of nationally based IQ societies. Currently, many countries only have Mensa chapters and little else of serious development. While higher IQs are not very common, enough people exist with IQs at or above the third standard deviation to make the creation of national societies of such viable. With the realization of this, importance would manifest.

Jacobsen: What seem like the issues around the legitimacy of high-IQ societies?

Banafshei: The main ones are the questions of intelligence itself. Since a considerable number of questions still surround intelligence, many who happen not to have any confirmation of possessing high intelligence are more comfortable assuming the concept of intelligence is merely an abstract philosophical one of little real-life consequence or that the point of diminishing returns is much lower than what is likely to be the case.

Jacobsen: What seem like the issues around the “existence of differences of intelligence altogether”?

Banafshei: For reasons of political correctness, the education systems of many countries avoid assessing the intelligence levels of children and young pupils unless there is very obviously a need for it in terms of special needs, or teachers subjectively make formal judgments of such. The result of this is that many schools do a very poor job at identifying high, and sometimes even very low, intelligence. As well as the more important educational consequences this can have for many people, this reinforces social denial of the realities of intelligence related to the dunning kruger effect. Inevitably, intelligent people are undermined.

Jacobsen: What were some of the reasons of others for joining the high-IQ societies known to you?

Banafshei: I know some who’ve joined with the hope they could find an appropriate partner, some who’ve wanted to learn from others, some who’ve wanted to find high IQ friends and even some who’ve simply been in the business of collecting as many certificates as possible.

Jacobsen: Any examples of individuals who could only be identified as geniuses, as such, after the fact?

Banafshei: Individual examples are not as important as the general principle that contributions often need expansion of context to be properly understood.

Jacobsen: What are inappropriate ways of putting forth one’s ideas? What are more appropriate manners in which to put someone’s ideas forward to others?

Banafshei: The universally inappropriate way would be to present ideas dishonestly. What’s appropriate depends on the idea itself and the range of people it can appeal to.

Jacobsen: If “failure is a part of life no matter what your IQ is,” what is the important lesson on resilience in the midst of this reality? What are some other similar realities for the gifted and talented to ingest as if the proverbial bitter pill?

Banafshei: That while high intelligence is a good asset, it’s rarely sufficient on it’s own. It should be understood that even those who’re regarded as highly intelligent, or even geniuses, are not perfectly intelligent. Intelligence is relative, and the smartest are not as far ahead as some suppose. It’s only logical that some highly intelligent people become complacent in life due to being able to sometimes get by more easily. But that is an often disastrous mistake. In the long run, the winners are always those who are well-rounded participants who possess many positive attributes of human success. The proverbial pill is that intelligent people would often find themselves much more easily overtaken by people of seemingly much lower cognitive ability than they may guess if they are led to believe intelligence is any guarantee of anything. It may seem like an obvious idea, but given the fact that the correlation between intelligence and success isn’t much higher, the need of it’s expression seems apparent.

Jacobsen: How can a gifted person learn to trust, drop their guard, and trust their natural inclinations of interests to guide them in life?

Banafshei: It’s important that they know themselves. Many of the ideas and expectations of prevailing cultures are not very accommodating of the essence of individuals who are statistical minorities of cognitive ability and/or personality. Life isn’t predicated on a monolithic one-size-fits-all philosophical framework of meaning. Those who’ll often find themselves at odds with the world, due to giftedness or anything else, would generally be better off if they try to forge their own senses of meaning and direction rather than continue to try to meet the, sometimes antithetical, standards of normalcy.

Jacobsen: Can you expand on the idea of “answers that are weighted differently rather than just considered as either correct or incorrect,” please?

Banafshei: While the abilities of cognitive tasks correlate with each other, there is still variation in terms of the subtest profiles of supervised IQ tests, and it’s also been found in relation to high range testing that some people of contextually moderate ability sometimes solve some of the hardest items, the hardest items which are also solved by many of the most intelligent test-takers. In relation to this, it’s clear that often there are a range of test answers which could be regarded as more or less statistically correct rather than categorically either. The application of this could lead to more precise estimations. 

Jacobsen: What is done to ‘curb’ the injustices of the past? What is done to curb the curbing, so as to re-create the injustices of the past?

Banafshei: The range of both is too vast to be properly specified without writing a book, which I probably wouldn’t be qualified to write. An interesting context of this question is the circumstances in the US in terms of the current issues being dealt with relating to American minorities, and particularly African Americans, as the United States has been a focal point of matters of justice for a considerable period of time. Currently, it seems that radical opposing forces of politics are becoming more prominent there, and this may be in part because of the pervasiveness of the questionable modern notion that the things which are most representative of justice also happen to be the least offensive overall and the most easily presentable to society in association with causing minimal tension, this may have inhibited healthy debates in connection with growing problems and concerns of various kinds. Those who are seemingly the least biased in terms of radicalism will be crucial to the formation of things.

Jacobsen: You note most things in life, a lot, in relation to high-IQ societies. Does the consideration of high-IQ societies matching “most things in life” speak a lot about the nature of high-IQ and its associated societies built around attainers of said status?

Banafshei: Obviously, high IQ societies exist within contexts of general ones and like most, if not all, elements of subculture, they are highly influenced by the cultures of their surroundings. The dilemma of social groups which develop to function for niche purposes is that while they need to form norms of their own, they are nonetheless bound by the prominent cultural realities of their societal foundation. It’s difficult to say to what extent IQ societies tend to be structurally reflective of dominant systems, but participants thereof should certainly consider themselves relatively competent potential explorers of this matter. 

Jacobsen: What is the precarious balance between humility and confidence?

Banafshei: A sense of responsibility is important. When one appreciates the importance of their actions in relation to others as well as themselves, it’s often easier to maintain balance of mindset.

Jacobsen: What are some programs available for the “broadening of horizons” of the gifted and the talented?

Banafshei: When in school, it’s important that the educational needs of gifted children are accommodated by the implementation of personalized pathways of learning. The simple fact is, good nurture of the most able children is of incalculable importance to the societal productivity of the future. If the question is thought of generally in relation to all of such people, then I’d say gifted/talented people should be focused on finding the right way of doing things for themselves rather than simply following the example of others of a similar kind.

Jacobsen: Any speculation as to the reasons for “those with IQs above 150 or so… less likely to have careers of prestigious positions”?

Banafshei: Firstly, it should be clear to us all that difficulties of this kind don’t apply to everyone with IQs above this level. Given that one’s general intelligence doesn’t function independently of other human factors, whether or not problems of this kind will exist for a high IQ individual, and what the mechanisms of their existence/non-existence would be, depends on a host of personal, cultural, socioeconomic, and circumstantial factors, of course. In my own case, while I’m not sure such a notion applies in relation to my non-participation in the elite professions, I can say that some of the difficulties I’ve had in my formative years have related to my perceptions of interpreting things differently and apparently being more naturally evaluative/critical of the social activities, ideologies and fact related claims of the social systems of my engagement.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021: 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. Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3) [Online].October 2020; 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, October 15). Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A, October. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A (October 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 24.A (2020):October. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Mhedi Banafshei on Egalitarianism, Convergent Intellectual Interests, Trust, Confidence and Humility, and “Broadening of Horizons”: Member, World Genius Directory (3)[Internet]. (2020, October 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/banafshei-3.

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© 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.

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