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Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1)

November 1, 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: November 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,729

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Gernot Feichter is a Member of the World Genius Directory. He discusses: growing up; a sense of an extended self; the family background; the experience with peers and schoolmates; some professional certifications; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence; some reactions; the geniuses of the past; the greatest geniuses in history; the greatest geniuses alive today; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; genius; genius manifested in different periods of history; some work experiences and jobs; particular job path; some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; thoughts on the God concept; science; theology; tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; social philosophy; economic philosophy; political philosophy; ethical philosophy; worldview-encompassing philosophical system; meaning in life.

Keywords: Gernot Feichter, meaning, Paul Cooijmans, philosophy, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1)

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

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you were growing up, what were some of the prominent family stories being told over time?

Gernot Feichter: My grandfather survived as the sole person of his division in a massacre in Finland during WWII by hiding under a fallen companion. The maneuver was a severe tactical error as the opponent had a good opportunity to defend the attack while risking little. He also froze his toes, became promoted and then, during the final stages of the war, capitulated with his group to the Italian side and was imprisoned. It was after the war, when he produced his offspring. Had he not survived, part of my family branch including myself would not have ever existed.

Also my grandmother had difficult times, she grew up in an orphanage as her mother could not come up with the cost of raising her and was given to a farm as a child and frequently had to work instead of going to school.

Jacobsen: Have these stories helped provide a sense of an extended self or a sense of the family legacy?

Feichter: Indeed, it is the reason that I provide some donations to institutions that are helping others, especially children who obviously possess the lowest means of helping themselves.

Jacobsen: What was the family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

Feichter: A classical Austrian background I would say. Two of my grandparents owned a farm, while my other grandfather was working in the wood industry and my grandmother worked as a cleaning lady in a local school. They all stem from small villages in Northern Styria, Austria, where I also grew up. Obviously, their modest background governed their modest personality as well. Besides their apparent modesty, their achievements should also not be underestimated. For example, one of my grandfathers took part in co-founding a local bank which still exists today. Also my other grandfather was part of the communal council and it was quite amusing to read in how articulate ways he complained about things, which he was well known for. Almost all of my grandparents were strictly religious Roman Catholics, except for the community rebel, to whom you may also associate the war story above.

My parents could be described as enrolled sceptics in the same church. While my father almost worked his whole life in the bank that was co-founded by his father, my mother worked for a short period in a shoe production facility, as waiter, maid and most time as housewife and later nursed my grandmother.

Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

Feichter: I would describe it as quite ordinary childhood with friendships, also a period with broken or abandoned friendships. But this was during the teenage years, now I feel fine with anyone again. Usually I played a passive role. For example, it was common in my youth to be either a skater or a raver. So I did associate myself to the skaters but I would never come up with such things myself. Also I would usually not ask for others to go out, but I would be asked and say “yes”. I feel like I only had what people would call “a life” because my friends took me with them. My nature would be a meditative or philosophical one and there were too many things to think of, always.

In general school was a more annoying experience for me. Also, I found myself to be insecure and nervous when having to speak in front of a group. I was pretty lucky with my direct school mates, in parallel classes there were some bullies and in some lessons we would be in the same class with them.

While I did not leave out anything to be done as a teenager, I worked towards reducing those ‘lower’ activities to minimum. As an adolescent I followed my intuition to deepen my meditation, living a self-chosen withdrawn life as normal people would call it.

Jacobsen: What have been some professional certifications, qualifications, and training earned by you?

Feichter: I own a bachelor’s degree in Information Management from the University of Applied Sciences in Graz. Through my profession I also did a Java Specialist Mastercourse, Spring and Kubernetes training and a Google Cloud Associate certification.

Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you, as in individual pursuit of taking a test or few (or more)?

Feichter: Admittedly, when taking the first test I just wanted to show off how smart I am, whatever opportunities this would open for me. However, as my scores were lower than I expected, it was a great teacher of modesty to me. In some sense I am a born megalomaniac testing out his limits which causes people to characterise me as extreme and weird. That being said, I was the highest scorer on “Common Sense” from Patrick Zimmerschied at the time of submission as well as on “Numerix” from Jason Betts. I do not know if those scores were beaten yet.

Knowing my strengths and limits is one of my key takeaway messages from this pursuit.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Feichter: I was able to walk at an extremely early age and was able to get into a sandbox that some less agile children could not even do despite being over a year older. Apart from this early sign, which does not even seem to be that much related to intelligence, nothing was discovered or confirmed till I took those untimed high range iq tests at the age of 24 and later.

Jacobsen: What were some reactions to it, when known and when not known?

Feichter: As indicated, initially I was disappointed by expecting a higher score, but in the long run I am happy with all I have. Apart from my own reactions and this interview request, there were absolutely no external reactions at all. I shall also state that I am not unhappy about that. I would not like it if people treated me differently if they knew I had a high IQ score.

Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of the past have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Feichter: I think that fear is the main driver behind most conscious aggressions against geniuses. For example, the Roman Catholic Church murdered many geniuses officially for heresy. They obviously did not even follow their own books teachings that one shall not kill but self-invented reasons for such violence. Behind the scenes they might have been afraid that different world views than their own would become popular and therefore their power could be lost. So they set out gruesome signs to prevent others from messing with them. For the less violent mockery of geniuses that might have always happened I also identify fear as root cause. Evolution can be thought of as a competitive process and it is typically not welcomed when a new tough competitor enters the field. Every opportunity will be taken advantage of to diminish the opponent.

Some geniuses seem to prefer stable conditions which they cultivated during their lives. When they were suddenly exposed to the public their life might change drastically and I think those that shy the public would not like this. Also the awareness of the violence aspect discussed earlier might play a role here. There might be a reason why prominent people typically have a crew of bodyguards.

In general however, I feel like most geniuses are grasping for attention and appreciation and only the top guys would achieve that. Furthermore, not even they would gather any mentionable exposure compared to the people that are commonly referred to as stars and might not be geniuses.

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Feichter: If the miraculous bible stories or that of other ancient scriptures are true and are to be interpreted wordly, then those characters.

Otherwise I would nominate the inventor of the wheel, Tesla, Newton, Einstein and Babbage, but this is silly. I do not like to elevate some and not mention many others that made great contributions. To add, my information is limited and I am not a historian.

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses alive today to you?

Feichter: To clarify, in the previous questions I used the following formula: genius = theoretical brilliance * practical use. In this category there would be too many similar scores today, and no adequate list of truly outstanding persons could be compiled. Many might think now: What, he does not even count this and that person as outstanding? Sry, this is not a list of influential businessmen and I consider the intelligence aspect in their activities too small to stand out.

Hence, for this question I focus on the theoretical brilliance exclusively: I acknowledge Grigori Perelman due to the fact that he was the only person so far who provided an approved solution for one of the Millennium Prize Problems. To solve such a problem that was first elected as being especially hard to crack gained my respect. That being said, I also partook in the insanity of trying such. While I have also published a proof for one of those problems, the P vs NP problem, it is not acknowledged by any authority, at least not yet.

Sorry for the high range iq community, but I will not mention anyone of them here. The reason is simple – I do not have insight to verify the validity of the tests and the answers thereof. The difference of expected scores vs actual scores contributes to a natural distrust. Also, why do I hold a record on test X but am average on test Y. Did not similar leveled persons take both tests?

Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Feichter: The definition of genius varies. Generally, the more intelligent a person is, the greater the genius, but there seems to be a consensus that only for IQs higher than ~140-160 the word genius shall be used.

In other definitions, there is also the mention of a manifestation in creative activity. That is why I formulated the equation for genius to include both components in the previous question. Our intelligence evolved in this world we are living, so should not we use it for real world scenarios? In general I prefer this pragmatic definition.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Feichter: Yes, per strict definition. On the other hand one could think of art geniuses as lying outside of the definition of regular geniuses and for them intelligence might not be as relevant.

Jacobsen: What traits seem to comprise genius?

Feichter: Flexible, curious, open, self-sufficient, controlled, sensitive, passionate, perfectionistic, dissatisfied, restless, focused and humorous.

Jacobsen: How has genius manifested in different periods of history and on different regions, and cultures, of the world in personal opinion?

Feichter: I think that at the moment when geniuses manifest in a civilisation, this is indicative of a high level of development. The output of such ripe civilisations can be seen in all aspects of human living, like buildings, art, science and technology. Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome are famous examples thereof. On the other hand we also see much later civilisations which are not famous for a high grade of development. It seems that only if conditions are right, high advancements are possible.

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and jobs held by you?

Feichter: Apart from some “primitive” short-term jobs as a student, I spent the majority of my professional life in a major technology consulting company. I worked there till the current moment as a Software Developer, Cloud-, DevOps- and Automation-Engineer. As you can see, there are many fancy words in IT describing quite similar things.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Feichter: My interest in software programming arose in my youth when my father bought the first PC. I was curious how this stuff would work behind the scenes, hence I even studied in this field. In this industry, there is no rest. New technologies, frameworks and methodologies are popping out every day, the only constant is change. This is a perfect environment to keep being challenged. To add, I work with people that are similar freaks like myself.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

Feichter: The main myth which I am aware of is that geniuses must skip grades in school and be high academics. Rick Rosner even seems having taken much longer in high school by choice. My personal story to this topic is the following: As soon as I entered school after kindergarten and handed in my daily voluntary extra task that my teacher announced would provide extra points, I noticed she started rolling her eyes. From this reaction I concluded that my extra ambition is not appreciated and I turned down my scholastic efforts to a minimum. I hardly learned anything extra outside the school lessons, even for exams, and I did only the required homework which I admittedly sometimes even copied. Nevertheless, the higher the education, the harder it was to get through, so in university I actually had to put in some effort and I was actually quite motivated as some subjects were really interesting to me. While my grades were always mediocre I could even finish my studies with distinction, something that was unheard of both for me and my peers.

There existed a great number of autodidactic geniuses in the past and today many geniuses work in jobs that are way below their ability level.

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion?

Feichter: In my quest of truth seeking throughout life I stumbled across Walter Russel’s idea that a god could not create something better than himself. Well, how could one be more mighty than an almighty one? Also, he could not create something less than himself, as then his creation would not stand up to his standards. I find this reasonable and therefore truly believe in a higher form of existence, god if you will. We are incomplete beings striving for completeness, so to speak.

After all, if what is currently known by the general population was everything there is, then I would see no purpose in life, missing an opportunity for individual advancement.

If Russel’s perception is true, it could be ridiculed that people are afraid of artificial intelligence becoming a threat to humanity as this would imply that they believe they could create something more intelligent or powerful than themselves at a given moment, which would be impossible.

Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Feichter: The scientific method was an important invention by one of my favourite geniuses to advance human population counts and the quality of lives drastically and quickly. It fulfilled its purpose already. To complete the quest of further human advancement I believe that a different kind of science will need to re-appear and become popular again.

Jacobsen: How much does theology play into the world for you?

Feichter: On one hand theological content is a great inspiration, but my rational mind focuses on what can currently be verified empirically. Nevertheless, as Godel’s incompleteness theorem shows that logical reasoning has its own limits, we might need different methods to advance further.

After all, thinking is only one aspect of the mind, feeling the other. Do you agree that we can describe any of your life’s situations with those two aspects? Swedenborgs book titled “Divine Love and Wisdom”, the highest form of feeling and thinking so to speak, might cover those aspects not by accident.

I agree with another spiritual scripture, but unfortunately I lost the source that stated that it was planned that only a distant memory of gods shall exist. That is exactly how I perceive theology: distant but inspiring.

Also I think that most spiritual texts are somewhat obfuscated and to be read in a certain way to be understood. The difficulty of breaking the code might be part of the game.

I mix theology, spiritualism and philosophy maybe a little too much here but essentially I consider those topics not too far apart.

Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Feichter: All of my test scores have a standard deviation of 15:

Common Sense by Patrick Zimmerschied: 163
World Intelligence Test by Jason Betts: 163
The Alchemist Test by Paul Cooijmans: 162
Einplex by Ivan Ivec: 162
Lux25 by Jason Betts: 157
Reason Behind Multiple-Choice by Paul Cooijmans: 155
Mathema by Jason Betts: 154
World I.Q. Challenge by Brennan Martin: 154
Asterix by Jason Betts: 153
Cartoons of Shock by Paul Cooijmans: 152
LSHR Light by Ivan Ivec: 149
Numerus Light by Ivan Ivec: 148,5
Test For Genius – Revision 2016 – Numerical and Spatial sections by Paul Cooijmans: 148
Test of the Beheaded Man by Paul Cooijmans: 143
Triplex Light by Ivan Ivec: 133

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide scattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.
Feichter:
My test results range from 133 to 163, that is 30 IQ points or two standard deviations. As you indicated, quite a lot.

Jacobsen: What social philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Feichter: I like the theory of justice by John Rawls which proposes that fair social systems could be designed if one would not know which role in that society one would have to play. Aside, I speculate that the free market achieves the same goal through supply and demand.

Jacobsen: What economic philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Feichter: As indicated previously, I appreciate the free market theory by Adam Smith. Generally, I consider the economy too dynamic to be regulated by static systems, such that dynamic auto-regulating mechanisms may outperform those. Conversely, I believe that the free market is what happens naturally over the long run, so the free market theory merely describes the underlying phenomenon.

Despite that, I think that the role of the economy is to fulfill the material requirements of a population and the current systems of maybe not entirely free, but largely, free markets are functioning fine. It may suffer some hic-ups from time to time, but this seems to be part of any complex system, including humans, for example.

Jacobsen: What political philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Feichter: As I believe that humans basically strive for higher levels of freedom, I think that politics role is to allow the fulfillment of this urge for the reigned population as fair as possible. Isaiah Berlin’s idea of negative and especially positive liberty may cover this concept best. I view negative liberty, like Charles Taylor, as enabler for positive liberty.

Besides this political quackery and finger pointing that starts as soon as even a minor issue pops up, I would urge people to look into themselves first. Oftentimes, the real culprit may sit closer than even the closest neighbour.

Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Feichter: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s idea that morality is an innate, un-learned human attribute, seems reasonable to me. I guess we all know the feeling when we broke our own ethical standards. The regrets and ruminations that come up when having done so. Hence, even the punishment mechanism seems to be innate.

One might argue that the world is too bad and this shows that morality is not innate. I would disagree in a sense that we have the – at least perceivably – freedom of will to act in line with or against our own morals.

Typically, I would argue, the more painful the outcome of a decision would be for ourselves vs others, the higher the likelihood that we decide in a way to shift our pain to someone else, if the opportunity is given, and thereby we break our moral rules. Therefore, to be the most ethical being, ultimate self-sacrifice might be required.

Ethics in general seems like one of the highest virtues to me. At least it seems to be operating significantly above the animalistic and survival mode.

Jacobsen: What worldview-encompassing philosophical system makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Feichter: This answer requires a little debauchery.

Intuitively I thought that philosophy or rationality is the way to explain the world. But I came to the conclusion that there is some crux here. For example, it would be most rational for me if nothing had ever been and nothing would ever be. But the very fact that I am typing here contradicts this rationality. Also I noticed that many questions boil down to the big unanswered questions, like “What is the purpose of life?” and furthermore I want to remind that I stumbled across Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Essentially I came to the same conclusion like Socrates or Goethe characterized as Faust: “I know that I do not know anything”. This rational shock essentially leaves the important questions open and tells that they seem to be impossibly solved by thinking.

I forcefully conclude that if I do not know or cannot know some things from my limited perspective, a wiser entity must have set up this world and eventually knows everything better. A fallback from rationality to feeling mode so to speak. Your heartbeat surely does not depend on my rational insight thereof and still it seems to be working fine. This natural trust is calming and leads me to answer your question with: Theism. A more detailed elaboration on my view on Theism is already provided in my answer regarding theology.

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Feichter: To find truth, for I believe only the truth shall set us free.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1; 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 Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1) [Online].November 2020; 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, November 1). Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A, November. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020.  Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A (November 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 24.A (2020):November. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gernot Feichter on Background and Qualifications, Geniuses and Intelligence, Science and Theology, and Meaning in Life: Member, World Genius Directory (1)[Internet]. (2020, November 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/feichter-1.

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