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Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1)

November 8, 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 8, 2020

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,128

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Bîrlea Cristian is a Member of the World Genius Directory. He discusses: growing up; an extended self; the family background; experience with peers; 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; profound intelligence necessary for genius; genius; genius manifested in different periods; some work experiences and jobs; job path; some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; thoughts on the God concept or gods idea; science; theology; some of the 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; and meaning in life.

Keywords: Bîrlea Cristian, genius, intelligence, IQ, life, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: 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?

Bîrlea Cristian: As a child, I was very close to my grandfather, whose ideas and stories influenced me as a person in the whole life. He didn’t get to finish the school, he had finished only the middle school, but being a hard worker and due to his fairness, he got to be a very respected man in the society that he lived in.

The war left deep psychological scars on him; I still remember his stories about World War II, he was between the line of life and death many times. Once he got sick of hepatitis due to miserable conditions of the war and he treated himself eating nothing else but tomatoes for a week.

He was a strong man but very kind. Another story that he told me was that once he had to hide in a building that was bombarded for several days, to stay quiet not to be discovered by the enemies, waiting for reinforcements. In the army his job was to transmit information, even when he was old, he knew the Morse code very well and he was good at arithmetic. In the attic of the house, he always had a bag of flour, only the ones that endured those times’ hunger would know why.

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

Cristian: As the psychologists say, how we live our childhood is very important, many of an adult’s troubles have root in the childhood. I can say that I had a beautiful childhood, both my parents and grandparents were with me in both good and bad times and they supported in everything they could.

I grew up in a simple and humble family, I was never pretentious, I didn’t use to complain a lot and I were very independent with the matters I could, I always tried to solve my own problems alone, without help.

The ideas, stories and role models taken over by me certainly made me the man I am today, both good and bad. Most certainly my subconscious identified my grandfather as a role model; we all try to identify someone as a role model, consciously or unconsciously, for me he was a family man, a distinguished and special person.

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

Cristian: I was born in 1971, in the northwestern Romania, in Satu Mare. I grew up in a rural area, near the Ukrainian border. I was born in a multiethnic family; the father of my mother was Hungarian, and her mother was Ukrainian. My father’s father was Romanian, an intellectual of those times. You can say a good part of Eastern Europe was combined in my blood, a real ‘cocktail’.

My father was a math teacher and my mother a hairstylist, nowadays my father is no longer with us and my mother retired, I am still very close to her. I’d say my intelligence I inherited from my paternal line, both my father and grandfather were very intelligent people; from my mother I inherited my artistic side that helped me a lot in the work I do.

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

Cristian: I remember with pleasure the school years, I liked going to school to meet new people and socialize with them. Although I’m more introverted, I always enjoyed being with people and I succeeded in overcoming my native shyness.

In high school I had some good friends that we were inseparable; being pretty friendly, I got along with my peers on any occasion. Doing the middle school in a rural area, in my first year of high school I was shocked of the difference between the rural educational system and the urban one. My schoolmates were a lot better educated and prepared than me. I rose above the expectations quickly and I didn’t feel the pressure I felt at the beginning anymore. Romania of those times (1986) had one of the most performant educational systems of the world, especially in STEM.

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

Cristian: Although I was a lazy student, in the last year of high school I stepped up and I was admitted to college. In 1995 I finished my degree in engineering in Timisoara and some years later I enrolled myself for a master’s degree in applied computer science where I finished with the best grade possible, just me and other one student achieved this performance.

The moment I had my hands on my first PC, I couldn’t give it up and I developed my career in IT, in 1997 I funded my company, CLASSOFT, whose manager I still am today. Together with my colleagues we focused on the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) domain type of apps. Our apps were awarded and recognized by the people, but the biggest achievement we managed to do is succeeding in having a portfolio of stable and satisfied customers.

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

Cristian: I never took very seriously the intelligence tests; they were more like some kind of a game. At college I got to be more competitive, to test and find my limits. I like small ‘competitions’ with my colleagues on IQ forums, there are a lot of great people there, some with incredible intelligence (one of a million or even more rare). These tests have a playful purpose, even though I always use them professionally when I employ new people, they never failed.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Cristian: My first ever intelligence test I did was at the end of college, when I was recruited in the army. There used to be a totalitarian system at the time, the last year of communism in Romania, with some compulsory army time.

Initially I did not know the purpose of the test, there were some lines and signs arranged on a 3v3 matrix, never seen something like that until then, but they were easy to solve, you had to do overlays and rotations on the matrix.

I managed to solve it intuitively, now I know it was some kind of old Raven test. The scores were not shared, but once one of my superiors granted me access to my military files and I saw my score, it was a very good score, higher than a lot of my colleagues’. The score didn’t have a meaning for me, but I felt that officer that let me see my files was behaving different with me; he let me lead different kind of activities, I felt that he trusted me.

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

Cristian: I saw my life the same as before. At school I wasn’t the nerdy kind of student, I wasn’t the best, but I was pretty good at math and physics. Even though my teacher tried to make me learn more, I always rebelled, the math asked too much supplementary work which I didn’t agree to; being very young it didn’t matter to me, some possible awards that meant nothing to me.

Back then my competitiveness wasn’t present, so I lived my life like any other teenager, I was interested in working out and chasing girls, I had a lot of fun and I don’t regret it. In my opinion the youth should be lived to the fullest, you can never relive this wonderful period of your life. So, returning to the point, I tried to be like any other ordinary teenager and young man, I didn’t know much about intelligence.

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.

Cristian: Any system tends to have a state of equilibrium, along our history geniuses perturbed this state of equilibrium with the revolutionary ideas. Instinctively people reject anything that is different, new or what they don’t understand, anything that exceeds their comfort zone; the new is most of the times a factor of stress. Nothing has changed today, but aforetime it was way worse than today. Along history changes were never done in a quick manner, only by spill of blood. Geniuses have always been an anomaly of the system, only one in 30000 has an IQ of 160 (SD 15), therefore statistically an anomaly.

Being a great cinephile, I don’t know if you noticed, but the Hollywood has some part of the blame by the demonization of geniuses, in many movies the scientist is portraited as a villain, with a negative role. The brilliant man has business with the terrorists, with other villains that pay him and at the end of the movie the planet will be saved by a simple, ordinary man, for instance Bruce Willis. The movie industry is a big business, each year it brings a revenue of 40 billion dollars, therefore the standard consumer that pays the ticket wants to see Bruce saving the planet.

We know that in the real life it is different, any time our planet suffered, brilliant scientists came with a solution. I can’t lie that all the geniuses had a positive effect on the planet, some hurt it unwillingly, sometimes they had some pathologies that pushed them to do it.

Back to the movies, unwillingly they influence our subconscious, our opinions, and thoughts. In my opinion there should be more movies that promote positive ideas about gifted people whose ideas led the world forward.

If you don’t believe me, there are a lot of people with high IQ that hide their score like a secret, feeling some kind of shame not to be considered gifted and a fear of being rejected, some of them revealing themselves only in restricted environments with peers like them. If you want to take part of a system you have homogenize with it, the ordinary person has it hard to accept that someone else might be smarter than him.

But the IQ score shouldn’t be a reason to brag about, we all should be humble with each other, it’s better for everyone, especially for you as a genius.

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

Cristian: This question needs several pages for a complete answer, I would nominate the most important genius personalities that succeeded in moving the world forward:

Politics: Caius Julius Caesar Augustus was one of the most important leaders in the history. Augustus succeeded in not becoming a tyrant, the power didn’t corrupt him and worked 42 years in making Rome the most important city in the world.

Science: Isaac Newton, he is the scientist found at the origin of the theories that would revolutionize the science, in the fields of optics, mathematics and especially mechanics.

Philosophy: Aristotle, modern philosophy is based on his methods and principles. His legacy consists in theories related to anything, biology, ethics, logics, politics, poetry, and physics.

Literature: William Shakespeare, a complete writer in poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction.

Modern physics: Albert Einstein, when we think of geniuses for most of us he is the first one we can think of; he had a very high IQ, gifted with a creativity hard to match even to this day. Together with Archimedes, they are on the list of the greatest mathematicians. Einstein revolutionized every branch of physics.

Inventions: Leonardo da Vinci, it is enough to say about him that he invented the robot precursor and the first working parachute. He almost invented the helicopter; he just needed a motor powerful enough to keep it flying.

Geometry: Archimedes was in the top of the best four mathematicians, but his applications in geometry were the ones that assigned his place in the top. He discovered the fundamental principle of hydrostatics that laid the foundation of hydrostatics in two volumes, Periton ochumenon. About this discovery is cited the famous exclamation “Eureka!” (“I found”, in modern Greek εύρηκα, evrika).

In my youth I used to read a lot about the thoughts of Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. In retrospection, I think his ideas influenced a lot of my actions.

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

Cristian: It’s hard to define what it takes to be the greatest genius. If you narrow it to the IQ score, you will find the answer in the World Genius Directory Geniuses (WGD), in which I take part; but I think most of the geniuses have never taken an IQ test, but with their work they made the world a better place.

I’d nominate Elon Musk for this title though. I don’t know the IQ of Elon Musk, it doesn’t really matter as long as due to his ideas he makes the world a better place.

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

In 1983 an American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener described 9 types of intelligence:

Naturalist (nature smart)

Musical (sound smart)

Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)

Existential (life smart)

Interpersonal (people smart)

Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)

Linguistic (word smart)

Intra-personal (self smart)

Spatial (picture smart)

At many of these types of intelligence, the genius is hard or even impossible to be measured by an IQ test. I consider that the intelligent people who by their creativity they are capable of achieving wonderful things, they earn the title of being a profoundly intelligent person; this is just my opinion, a lot of psychologists or experts of creating IQ test will say that I’m wrong.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Cristian: As I said earlier, I consider the notion of genius to be a straight technical one. By some definitions, an IQ score higher than 140 (SD 15) is considered to be corelated to a genius. To express myself more mathematically, the set of profoundly intelligent people are a subset of the set of geniuses, the reciprocal is not always true.

Jacobsen: What traits seem to comprise genius?

Cristian: Stephen Hawking once said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. I consider that adaptivity is one of the main traits of an intelligent person; also, other features would be: sensibility, enthusiasm, energy, courage, humor, persuasion, patience, perfectionism, versatility, idealism, sometime laziness…

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

Cristian: The geniuses showed their presence since the earliest times. Their ideas led to the development of their societies they lived in, not a few times these ideas being considered draconian, the geniuses paid with their lives. Besides the great discoveries without which the today’s society wouldn’t be what it is, the contribution brought to the universal culture was great. The great thinkers created new movements based on which the civilizations rose from more primitive eras. Many of the geniuses that acted in the military theaters of history have changed the course of history by their tactical skills.

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

Cristian: Since the beginning of my career I worked in the IT domain, one that fit me like a glove. As I wanted to follow my ideas, not others’, in 1997 I founded my company, Classoft, whose manager I still am today. I consider that IT put my creativity to work, it being an ideal job for me.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Cristian: For me, IT was something natural, nothing forced, I gained many good results and satisfactions from my work. I think that it’s really important to love your job, it’s the only way to have good results. In this line of work, you can find a lot of smart people; also, it is in a permanent state of change, your mind is always used.

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?

Cristian: I find that brilliant people don’t want to be found different socially from the majority of population, they don’t want to be treated and seen as a freak, they have the same feelings, fears and joys as the other people, they want to take part of the society and they are happy if their merits are recognized.

Most of them do things for the society, even though they might seem sometimes selfish, but they dedicate a lot of time studying and they don’t have time left for other interactions; although if someone has the curiosity to pay more attention to their actions, they will find they are kind and involved people.

Unfortunately, a lot of geniuses suffer some kind of high functional autism, Asperger syndrome, therefore they might have different social and adaptation troubles. Asperger syndrome, also called the genius syndrome, would have been diagnosed today to many of famous geniuses like: Albert Einstein, Amadeus Mozart, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo, Lewis Carroll, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stanley Kubrick, James Joyce, Nikola Tesla.

Some scientists consider that autism is some kind of mutation, one necessary in the evolution of humans, the fact that this mutation is getting more frequent today might not be a bad thing, it means that the nature changes the way of us to be, updates us, experimenting on us. For a lot of time, autism has been considered to be a mental retardation.

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

Cristian: I’ve read the Bible and I believe in the concept of God, but not the politics made in the name of God, there have been a lot of wars and misery made in his name, the history has a lot of examples for this. I don’t believe God would agree to all these manipulations. I believe that good deeds are made by the people that have a part of God in them. I find myself in the words of Robert G. Ingersoll: “The hands that help are better far than lips that pray”.

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

Cristian: Being a technical person, an engineer and a programmer, I see the science present everywhere I look. I analyze it often in all the parameters I’ve learned at university. I consider it wrong to become science fundamentalists, we must always find our bond with mother nature.

Unfortunately, a lot of young people don’t experience the primary sensations offered by nature; the virtual world kidnaps their mind more and more.

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

Cristian: I enjoyed reading the history of religions, to understand certain things from history. Being more rational, I couldn’t ignore the many contradictions I’ve found, that to a lot I haven’t found an answer to this day. There is a saying “trust and do not research”, for someone living in the world of numbers it’s impossible to apply to.

I have to admit, I rarely go to the church, also I believe that you can find God in many other places and many other ways. It makes me sad to see how the religious difference can divide people in a radical way.

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

Cristian: The highest IQ scores I’ve scored at some famous tests are:

Progressive Matrix Analysis (PMA-32_2E) by Alexi Edin – IQ 163 SD 15

Strict Logic Sequences Examination 1 by Jonathan Wai – IQ 160 SD 15

LSHR Light by Ivan Ivec – IQ 160 SD 15

CFIT32 – Culture-Fair-Test 32 – IQ 160 SD 15

LABCUB and CUBE – ambele de by Hans Sjöberg – IQ 160 SD 15

Numerus Light by Ivan Ivec – IQ 158 SD 15

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Cristian: A good website for IQ tests is iqexams.net, specialists there developed a statistical method to approximate the IQ of a person, they called it Real IQ. Website’s analysts have succeeded in calculating in a professional manner this Real IQ (RIQ) based on thousands of tests done there. Me personally I’ve taken many tests there, after taking 18 tests with a total of 550 questions, my RIQ is 159 SD 15, it’s very close to the result of famous tests.

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

Cristian: I’ve always liked on of Kurt Lewin’s quote: “There is nothing better so practical as good as a theory”. He promoted the idea of applying scientific methods in the fundamental social psychology, but too few social psychologists have applied the method after the dying on Kurt. Most of them tried to develop new theories instead of searching solutions in the real world. It seems in the end, in our days, his method to be the winner one, which is closer to my way of thinking.

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

Cristian: Being a businessman, I believe in the free market, as long as they are in an equilibrium with fitting social politics. I like the term “perfect competition”, which is a model of economic theory. This model describes a hypothetical market in which no producer or consumer doesn’t have the power to influence market prices. This would lead to an efficient outcome, considering the standard definition of economy.

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

Cristian: I’m not an expert in the matter, but I agree to the fullest with this quote of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education”.

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

Cristian: I’ve always liked Aristotle’s ideas; he promoted an ethical system that could be called virtuous. He believed a person acts according to his virtue. Misery and frustration are caused by mistakes, leading to failed objectives and a weak life. Happiness should be the end goal of our action and this can be obtained by practicing virtue.

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

Cristian: When I was younger, at university’s library I searched for books containing quotes of the great Chinese thinker, Lao Tzu’s, that were filled with wisdom for my mind that was thirsty for new information. Here is one of those quotes, one that will also answer your question:

“Knowing others is intelligence;

knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength;

mastering yourself is true power.”

― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Cristian: With time passing I’ve changed a lot the way I think about this matter. A while ago I was channeling my ambition towards my own personal development, I worked a lot for my company, my family, my ideas which were sometimes too materialistic. I became more and more competitive, not a bad thing, but sometimes I forgot about other important things that mattered to me; sometimes I lost focus on the special people surrounding me.

I can say that the first wave of pandemic this year brought me something positive, I know that for many people it brought suffering. After many years of work, I had time once again for my own thoughts, for meditation.

Today my meaning of life is the sum of simple things, sometimes trivial, in these quiet weeks I returned to the things I enjoyed in my childhood. I began rediscovering nature, with all my feelings, the pleasure of a summer day, a beautiful day fishing with my wife and kids, I began analyzing deeper the people surrounding me with their needs and wishes. Maybe this pandemic was put in our way with a purpose, a revenge of nature, a break that put us in a slower speed towards our chase to nowhere. I consider that in life the most important thing is to find the state of equilibrium and happiness that we all want.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 8, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-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 Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1) [Online].November 2020; 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, November 8). Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A, November. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020.  Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A (November 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 24.A (2020):November. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Bîrlea Cristian on Childhood, Philosophy, Test Scores, and Changing Values with Age: Member, World Genius Directory (1)[Internet]. (2020, November 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/cristian-1.

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