Skip to main content

Real Genuis

  • Author:
  • Updated:

By Ben Cohen

I genuinely believe that anybody who is part of Mensa should immediately seek counseling. The intelligence supremacists have warped the notion of human intellect into a bizarre series of puzzle solving quizzes that have little to do with real, applicable intelligence. It's a scam designed to make lonely math nerds feel special and a way of narrowing the definition of intelligence to suit the people who created it.

Philosophy professor A.C Grayling writes:

Intelligence is a matter of output, not scores in a test.

Einstein was unsuccessful

at school and no great shakes as a mathematician, but he was creative

and insightful, and saw a whole new way of thinking about gravity and

the structure of space-time. A vivid interest in things, and an active

desire to understand more about them, is a major characteristic of

intelligence. When this leads to great creativity and important

discoveries, we call it genius.

In the ancient world a genius was
a creature who whispered ideas, ambitions and insights into your ear.
The Romantics internalised genius, identifying it with their own inner
selves – what Proust called le moi profond, the deepest me.
As there are many kinds of achievement, so there are many kinds of
genius suited to them. To all, the wonderful old cliche about 99%
perspiration applies.

Some of the most intelligent people I have met during my years as a journalist are professional boxers, who stereotypically are supposed to be stupid. They may not possess the type of intelligence to score well in a standardized test, but their real-time understanding of human nature, geometry and physics is extraordinary.

The top level fighters are able to strategize several rounds in advance, control their emotions during unbelievable pressure, and create sophisticated attacking maneuvers to confuse their opponents. Muhammed Ali graduated high school 376th in a class of 391, but is renown for being the most sophisticated ring strategist of all time. His boxing IQ is off the chart, but as far as I know, there is no standardized test to measure it.

The point is, human intelligence is too varied, too complicated and too creative to measure with any test. And anyone who claims otherwise probably isn't too bright.