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Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1)

January 15, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,530

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Antjuan Finch is the Author of After Genius: On Creativity and Its Consequences, The 3 Sides of Man, and Applied Theory. He created the Creative Attitudes Inventory (CAT) and the Public Domain Intelligence Test (PDIT). 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 discovered; the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; work experiences and jobs; particular job path; the gifted and geniuses; God; science; the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; ethical philosophy; social philosophy; economic philosophy; political philosophy; metaphysics; philosophical system; meaning in life; meaning externally derived, internally generated; an afterlife; the mystery and transience of life; and love.

Keywords: Antjuan Finch, author, CIVIQ Society, Creative Attitudes Inventory, creativity, genius, Harvard University, intelligence, IQ.

Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (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?

Antjuan Finch[1],[2]*: There were hardly any noteworthy family stories being told to me during my childhood. My mother, and brothers and I lived somewhat secluded from our larger family, and maybe that contributed to this happening.

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

Finch: While they couldn’t have because there were no stories, I do think that the lack of these sort of stories may have been conducive toward me developing a sense of self unconstrained by familial expectations, traditions, and historic accomplishments or lack thereof. It’s even possible that this lack of a sense of a family legacy may have caused me to adopt a somewhat heroic attitude, and be interested in being the one who began paving this legacy. I believe that my brothers adopted similar mindsets.

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

Finch: I was born and raised, largely, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States. The culture where I resided could likely, by American standards, be described as low class. We faced pretty extreme financial hardships during the majority of my upbringing. We each spoke only english, for the most part. And my brothers and I were fairly involved, whether we wanted to be or not, in several Christian churches during our childhood.

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

Finch: I feel that I was always a social outcast growing up, and even am today, but to a lesser extent. This change is probably mostly due to my recent accomplishments, which may give me an added allure and appeal to some people.

As a child and adolescent, I think that my autistic traits may have been more prominent or noticeable, and that to my peers, this caused me to seem vaguely, but very unconventional and queer. While I might be both of these things, I think that these traits were moderately tolerated and accepted by my peers. Although growing up I was directly asked, several times, “why are you so weird?”

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

Finch: Most of the noteworthy training that I have that isn’t the result of autodidacticism, comes from my studies at Harvard, predominantly in the fields of creative writing, psychometrics, astrophysics, and evolutionary biology.

Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you?

Finch: To provide a fairly accurate measure of the extent that psychometric g may be expressed in individuals.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Finch: When I was about 16 years old, while trying to learn more about quantum mechanics, I stumbled across a Ted-Talk by Jacob Barnett, who was also from Indiana, about 14 years old at the time, and had recently been admitted to the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics. During this talk, Jacob mentioned that he had been tested to have an IQ higher than what Einstein’s had been estimated to be. Following my natural curiosity, I began to look into intelligence testing after viewing this video. After some time, I stumbled across the website IQNAVI.net (now IQexams.net) and took a few of the tests on that site and received scores clustering around 143. In disbelief of my results, I got several people at my school to take those and other tests to see if their results were as consistent as mine, and if they aligned with what would be predicted for them by their class-ranks. After doing this for some time, I realized that these may not have been actions one would expect from a typical sixteen-year-old, and accepted that I may have above average 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.

Finch: My current belief is that most geniuses simply go unrecognized, and that neither of these results describe the most common outcome for people in this population. But as to why the outcomes of geniuses vary so radically: geniuses, by definition, are extraordinary and extreme people, and extreme actions tend to illicit extreme responses and outcomes. But to provide a more detailed reply: having the degree of unconventionality needed to produce work that is, among other things, so novel that you’re eventually labeled a genius for having made it, connotes a level of unusualness that, in most situations, is associated with failure. Moreover, the immediate reception of a genius seems to some degree be dependent on the status and clout that they may accumulate, mostly through non-creative means, throughout their life. For example, in today’s world, it is likely impossible to gain the credibility needed to be accepted as being able to revolutionize several fields or industries, without having first studied at somewhere like Harvard, Stanford, or Cambridge (potential geniuses relevant to this example might be Karl Friston and Elon Musk). Likewise, in historic times, the means to properly foster the talents of a potential genius was available only to the wealthy (potential geniuses relevant to this example might be Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci). As for the potential camera shyness of geniuses, the unusualness associated with being able to repeatedly produce such novel and innovative work might, as a byproduct, cause a certain level of awkwardness which may get magnified or exacerbated during things like zoom or phone calls. Your questions in these articles also demand a level consideration that potential geniuses might find beyond the realms of a live and fluid conversation.

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

Finch: The greatest genius in history most likely lived in squalor and never received the recognition needed to be propelled to the forefront of my memory, at this moment. But for known geniuses, I might say Leonardo da Vinci.

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

Finch: A profoundly intelligent person merely has an extremely functional and efficient mind, while a genius has a highly efficient mind that is occasionally “dysfunctional” in ways that are conducive to the production of highly innovative work, when combined with an appropriate level of work ethic.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Finch: Profound intelligence is likely almost incompatible with genius. In my view, genius requires a confluence of traits that don’t seem to be highly correlated with another, so the likelihood of profound intelligence coexisting with the other traits needed, each at similarly highly levels, seems improbable. For clarity, in my view, these other traits would be related to conscientiousness and psychological unusualness, and the rarity cutoff for profound intelligence would be about 1 in 20,000,000, or an IQ 180 (SD: 15).

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

Finch: The majority of my work experience has been in entry level positions at warehouses. Although, given my recent accomplishments, I may now be able to secure more desirable jobs.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Finch: I was to some degree forced into those jobs, as a result of apparently being too unusual to be likely to be hired to a job that required an interview.

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?

Finch: The most notable myth might be that simply having a very high IQ, or being profoundly gifted, is all that is required for genius. This notion neglects to consider that it is impossible to produce genius work if one is highly intelligent, but lazy, unmotivated, or unconscientious, and conformist (and in turn, unoriginal) by nature. So the truth that high intelligence is necessary but not sufficient for genius is what dispels this myth.

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

Finch: I believe that my current position regarding how the law of non-contradiction relates to my model of creativity, and theory regarding the mechanics of emergence, mandates that I accept that there at least once existed something which can be reasonably described as a God. For example, according to my current understanding, a tautological universe requires a self-testing function, which implies self-awareness, and in turn, an, at least once, omnipresent entity whose existence allowed for reality as we know it, of which would be without a straightforward name if not referred to as a God. Note that this statement does not imply the existence of a God who for some reason disapproves of homosexuality and willing allowed the trillions of tragedies that have happened throughout history. For a more thorough, and likely accurate description of my position here, viewers should read my essay, Everything & Nothing, from After Genius, and my essay, On the Origin of Life, from my Applied Theory compilation.

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

Finch: It plays an almost inconceivably important part in how I view the world. It seems impossible to me for a rational and critical thinker to not be employing some scientific practices and procedures just while thinking and judging the validity of different perspectives. And of course, quite a lot of research into the relevant scientific fields tends to happen on my part during the incubation stage of my creative process and workflow.

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

Finch: I received a 145 on the test that I compiled and developed, a 136 on the WAIS-IV (145 GAI and 119 PSI), a 137 on the Shipley 2, and a surprising 122 on the RAIT. These scores are each on a standard deviation of 15. I seem to consistently underperform on tests with strict time constraints, likely due to having processing speed abilities which are fairly poor, at least compared to my abilities relating to other facets of intelligence.

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.

Finch: I’ve achieved scores as high as 156, and as low as 122 on supposedly valid intelligence tests. The difference in scores here might mostly be due to that different tests tend to place differing amounts of emphasis on different cognitive abilities, and that there may be a large variation in my sleep quality, nutrition quality, and mental stamina during different parts of the day, week and year. With and without excluding my highest and lowest scores, my average score is about 140.

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

Finch: Maximize the agency of all living things.

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

Finch: Maximize the agency of all living things. This prohibits lying.

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

Finch: I find this series of questions regarding sensible philosophies relating to different fields somewhat redundant. A philosophy is only as valuable as the positive change which it allows, and given that the dynamics and laws of the universe tend to remain constant, general principles about how to behave in this universe can be derived and applied in any context. Certain rules like minimize unnecessary harm, and maximize the agency of all living things remain applicable in all contexts and should be the foundation for all workable philosophies.

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

Finch: See my previous answer.

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

Finch: In my essay, “Everything & Nothing,” from After Genius, I stated, “if things could not occur independently of absolutely nothingness, then the impossibility of absolute nothingness could not exist.” There, I argued that the existence of an ultimate reality was evidence of at least one non-externally determined event, an in turn, an instance of free will.

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

Finch: In my essay, “Preconditions for Genius,” from After Genius, and in my essay, “On the Origin of Life,” from my Applied Theory compilation, I provide overviews of how my model of creativity could also function as a description of the mechanics of emergence, and be used to explain how a universe might progress from a somewhat description averse state to having molecules and respirating cells, to having solar systems and complex civilizations, with black holes, psychopaths and all.

In “Preconditions for Genius,” these facets were referred to as deviance, pattern recognition, and conscientiousness, and in “On the Origin of Life,” they were referred to as variation, heritability and differential advantage. This all encompassing framework and potential theory of everything has yet to be given a definitive name.

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Finch: Essentially, improving everything that I can touch, and bettering everything I know how to in whatever ways that I can.

Jacobsen: Is meaning externally derived, internally generated, both, or something else?

Finch: Both. Meaning, according to me, is a consequence of converting information into more functional information, and so requires at least one entity of multiple parts or facets.

Jacobsen: Do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why, and what form? If not, why not?

Finch: I believe that an afterlife may be possible through some form of cloning, or even through consciousness uploading, or perhaps others means, but do not believe in any form of afterlife that is currently reported as possible by any major religion.

Jacobsen: What do you make of the mystery and transience of life?

Finch: I don’t believe that life is as intrinsically mysterious as maybe some would like it to be. I might also add that it is not necessarily transient either, given that it is the longest thing anyone can live to experience. But in all seriousness, I think that, just like our strengths, many of our limitations can be embraced in ways that amplify the meaning we’re able to produce, as without obstacles or limitations there could be no struggles or accomplishments, and no weight to our decisions or actions. I think that It would be fairly boring to be a God. We should be grateful for all that is just beyond our reach, as they give us reasons to grow, and something to live for. 

Jacobsen: What is love to you? 

Finch: The result of a combination of attraction and appreciation. Note that this implies that love can be rational or irrational, and that unconditional love implies an intense appreciation and attraction to even the most despicable aspects of a person, place or thing.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, CIVIQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1; Full Issue Publication Date: May 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 Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1) [Online]. January 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, January 15). Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, January. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (January 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): January. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Antjuan Finch on Life, Love, Work, Background, and Writings: Member, CIVIQ Society (1) [Internet]. (2021, January 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/finch-1.

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