Many years ago, as something of an outcast in summer camp (a quality that I retained through my childhood and teenage years), I spent much time with someone of undoubtedly superior intelligence — the camp genius, it seemed. I admired and envied his brains. Years later, still, the movie Charly, based on the Flowers for Algernon, resonated. What would it be like to be someone of undoubtedly low intelligence to suddenly acquire brilliance?
A few weeks ago, I discovered that the person I spent almost four months sharing a tent through an overland African trip many years ago is the The Prometheus Society treasurer. You need to have an IQ in the top 99.997th percentile, which equates to “1 in 30,000″ (four standard deviations above the norm). My tent-mate, Brian Schwartz, lives in an even more rarefied world — he is a member of the Omega Society, which requires you to be in the top 99.999th percentile — or one in a million.
I’m nowhere near that level, of course; in fact I don’t know my actual intelligence score. However, based on life experience, it must be somewhere above normal; perhaps close enough to see the distant stars of true genius, but only able to capture a few brief light flashes.
Still . . .
You can only join the Prometheus Society (or The Omega Society) by proving your intelligence through tests which would blow most of our brains away. (For a while, the super-intelligence societies had a problem as answers to some of the tests were posted publicly on the Internet, allowing for cheating.I can’t quite figure out why anyone would want to cheat to join a high IQ society — from what I can tell, you don’t discover any secrets to happiness or success in these groups unless you really belong; in which case you belong a true community of peers.)
The Prometheus Society allows you to sign on as a subscriber, even if you can’t quite qualify for full membership, and receive access to its occasional journal, The Gift of Fire. The $10.00 fee seemed reasonable so I paid my dues. If you join, you’ll discover eclectic if sometimes unintelligible (at least to those of us who aren’t real geniuses) stories, puzzles, and philosophical observations.
The question I haven’t quite resolved is whether/why all of this concentrated brain-power cannot solve some really challenging problems. Global warming? War and peace? Technological brilliance and ideas and innovation and invention and creativity and more . . . Here, I’m standing at the door of a group of people so smart that, if you assembled them in a convention hall, wouldn’t you have the ability to multiply Einstein’s effectiveness by a few orders of magnitude?
Yet the glow does not seem have the capacity to solve the world’s weaknesses. The big answers remain elusive. Genius, it seems, is not the only piece to the human puzzle.
If you would like to peek into this super-intelligent world, feel free to request participation as a subscriber. (If you qualify for full membership, go for it.) You won’t necessarily find religious truth or the secret to success, but you’ll sure be in a room full of geniuses.
I realize this posting has nothing to do with construction marketing. However, perhaps there is some value in knowing how and where to network with 120 super-geniuses.