Saturday, September 22, 2007

HIPs: Highly Intellectual Persons


Lately, my conscious mind realised that certain things tend to arouse instant curiosity when heard for the first time. Generally, this would depend from person to person and something for which I might instantly get curious, someone else may not. This is, somehow, I think is a measure of success for that particular thing. I would definitely count its success by the time it takes to arouse the curiosity in a person. The more a person gets curious, the more it has succeeded in marking its impression on the mind and thus have very successfully justified, or better, enlighten its own existence.

Once such thing that successfully marked its magic on me very freshly was the word ‘Mensa’. The moment I heard the word, I knew that I want to know more about it. It was the courtesy of my friend with whom I engage myself in long chats over normally immaterial things for others. Not because we are from the intellectual clan but because we want to be.

Going back, however, to Mensa. I could instantly feel that Mensa must be something I am very interested to know and when my friend gave a brief, raw definition of it, I knew that my appetite was not satiated. However, I should credit points to my friend on always being very stylish while explaining about previously unknown subjects and thus creating a curiosity to the listener. This, I would say, is his second nature.

On his words, I came to know that Mensa is a community that exists in this world, of people, who are of the highest IQs, essentially the masterminds alive. On a scale of 150 measurable IQ points, Mensans score more than 130. The first thing I had to do was test myself and unexpectedly hope that I am a Mensan too and that this would only be clear when I would surprise my own self by taking an exemplary test that is thankfully available on the internet. Not to my surprise, I scored 110 and was on a threshold of the population of High IQ achievers. Thank God, I could face myself in the mirror.

The time comes when I have to know more about Mensa and know more about the existence of such people. Here is something I found and thought of sharing with all of you.

An idea of bringing intelligent people together for mutual interest and benefit got developed in the minds of Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer in Oxford, England in 1946. Today, Mensa is a worldwide organization with over 100,000 members in more than 100 countries.

Mensa (IPA: /ˈmɛnsə/; /ˈmeːnsa/ in Latin) means table in Latin as is symbolized in the organization's logo and based on this pretty name, it evolved as a round-table society wherein no individual member has preference. The society is non-profit, non-partial, and non-racial. It has no political, religious or ideological affiliations. The society is made up of national, regional and local groups within those countries and welcomes all people, regardless of background, whose IQs meet the criteria, with the objective of members enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.

Mensa is the best-known high-IQ society in the world. The organization restricts its membership to people with high testable IQs. Specifically, potential members must score within the top 2% (above the 98th percentile) of any approved standardized intelligence test such as the Stanford-Binet. Because different tests are scaled differently, it is not meaningful to compare raw scores between tests, only percentiles. For example, the minimum accepted score on the Stanford-Binet is 132, while for the Cattell it is 148. Mensa is formally composed of national groups and the umbrella organization Mensa International.

Mensa's goals
Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.

At Mensa's 50th Anniversary, Dr. Ware, one of the founders, addressed Mensans by stating that he hoped that “Mensa will have a role in society when it gets through the ages of infancy and adolescence.” He also said, “I do get disappointed that so many members spend so much time solving puzzles,” expressing his desire for Mensans instead to be solving some of the world's problems.

A very interesting fact:
All national and local Mensa groups welcome children; some offer activities, resources and newsletters specifically geared toward gifted children and their parents. American Mensa, for instance, has 1300 child members, ranging in age from 3 to 18. The youngest people who have joined the organisation were both aged 2 years and nine months; the first was Ben Woods in the 1990s, the second was Georgia Brown from Aldershot, Great Britain in 2007. She was six days older than Ben Woods was when he joined Mensa. Isn’t that great?
At the other extreme the oldest member of American Mensa is listed as 102. So cute :)


Mensa is a remarkably diverse organization. While some Mensans noted here are well known, many others lead interesting lives out of the public eye.

Geena Davis: Academy-award winning actress, who has starred in The Long Kiss Goodnight, A League of Their Own, Thelma and Louise and Hero.

Donald Petersen: A former chairman of Ford Motor Company. While at Ford, Petersen was involved in the development of two of Ford's most successful cars--the Mustang and the Maverick.

Marilyn Vos Savant: Listed in the Guinness Hall of Fame for having the world's highest recorded IQ (228). Vos Savant writes "Ask Marilyn!", a weekly column in Parade magazine.

Bobby Czyz: A former two-time World Boxing Association (WBA) Cruiserweight Champion. Czyz now commentates on many nationally-broadcasted fights.

Dr. Julie Peterson: A former Playboy "Playmate," Peterson is a graduate of Life School of Chiropractic.

Alan Rachins: Portrays Dharma's father, Larry, on the comedy series, "Dharma & Greg." Rachins, who left the Wharton School of Finance to pursue an acting career, also portrayed Douglas Brachman on the hit TV series, "L.A. Law."

Adrian Cronauer: Radio personality, lawyer and subject for the movie "Good Morning Vietnam."

Terance Black: Screenwriter of HBO's "Tales from the Crypt", syndicated series "Dark Justice" and the feature film Dead Heat.

Barry Nolan: Co-anchor of TV's syndicated tabloid program "Hard Copy."

Deborah Yates: Member of the world-famous Radio City Rockettes.

Bob Speca, Jr: Professional domino toppler. Speca travels internationally doing domino shows and has appeared on TV programs and commercials.

John N. Moore: University of Virginia law professor who specializes in international law. Moore was hired by the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait to help the emirate recover damages inflicted during the August 2, 1990 invasion.

Jean Auel: Best-selling author of "Clan of the Cave Bear," "Valley of Horses," and "Plains of Passage."

Linda Warwick: Creator and producer of the billboard mega-hit childrens' videos, "Babymugs!," and the "Toddler TOGS" series--the fantasy video for highly creative tots.

Maurice Kanbar: Inventor and owner of Skyy Vodka.

Henry Milligan: A boxer and scholar, Milligan was the 1983 National Amateur Heavyweight champion.

Patricia P. Jennings: Pianist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She is the symphony's first black member and has performed internationally.

Richard Lederer: A master of the "pun." Lederer has written dozens of books on word play and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio.

Judge Ellen Morphonios: Nicknamed "Maximum Morphonios" for her strict rulings in Florida. Morphonios is a former model and beauty queen who passed a Florida exam that allowed her to enter law school without an undergraduate degree.

Richard Bolles: Author of "What Color is Your Parachute?" which at one point had been on The New York Times Best-seller List for 228 weeks.

Velma Jeremiah: A retired attorney who graduated fourth in her law school class at the age of 47. She is a former chairwoman of Mensa International.

Dr. Abbie F. Salny: Author of the Mensa "Quiz-a-Day" books and calendars. Dr. Salny is a retired college professor and expert in intelligence who has served as Mensa's supervising psychologist.

Wondering, if you too are a Mensa?
Take an exemplary Mensa test (http://www.iqtest.dk)and bring out what’s inside you. Maybe you would surprise yourself!

An info for delhiites: Mensa test is being held on the 13th October this year.
Wait till I know the venue :)

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