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An interview with Anja Jaenicke

2023-01-20

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): WIN ONE/Phenomenon (World Intelligence Network)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/05/04

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is some familial background? How did this produce some of the family dynamics for you?

Anja Jaenicke: I was born in the formerly divided city of Berlin/West, Germany. My mother was a well-known film, theater and TV actress. When I was a child we often went to the Kurfürstendamm Boulevard where her name was written in golden letters above the entrance of a theater. People recognized her in the street and even tried to touch her, which, as a child, I found very scary. I did not particularly enjoy this kind of public fame. I was a very introverted child. I am still an introvert. When I was about five years old; I have been asked what I want to be when I grew up and I answered: “Unknown.” In primary school, I experienced an extreme anxiety because I have been bullied for being different. My father comes from a Greek family in Istanbul. He is a writer and author of lyrics. My family lives everywhere from Istanbul to London and Berlin. So I can say, “Yes.” My childhood had, indeed, a lot of family life dynamics. Due to the profession of my mother, we moved a lot. I spent more time with grown ups than with children my age. When I was three years old I appeared in my first movie, but I didn’t enjoy it and quit the shooting albeit the producer tried to bribe me with some special toys. I thought this profession was full of silly infantile people who tried to boost their ego personalities. I told the producer in my own words and left the set without the toys.

Jacobsen: What where some formal postsecondary academic qualifications earned by you if any? If so why those.

Jaenicke: I am an autodidact par excellence. In some ways I did everything earlier than others my age. I finished them earlier too. I had to! When I was ten years old, my mother became very ill; and we changed roles. I had to grow up fast and take care of her. I became her mother. I had to feed her, dress her, and because she didn’t have an agent at this time, negotiate her film and theater contracts, so that she was able to fulfill them. I had to make sure that she was on stage in time, so I accompanied her to the theater. In this time, I learned a lot of my later directing skills because I watched the same show over two hundred times. The other actors knew that I was in the audience and continuously asked me what they could do better or different. I answered things like: “Did you notice that nobody laughed at this or that gag? Hold your breath longer before you speak.” Sometimes I also joined the rehearsals in the morning sitting next to the director. All in all, I spent lots of time in the dust of the stage or played in the puddles on a film set. Unfortunately, in the following year, the illness of my mother worsened. I could not continue my school education. We moved constantly and I spent my days at home working myself through all the moving boxes with books from my mother’s former library. I read the interesting mixture of Shakespeare, Goethe, Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein, Kant, Henry Miller, the diaries of Anais Nin, Bert Brecht, and Charles Bukowski. It must have been in this time that I started to question Kant’s a priori morals. I pulled together strings from my own eleven years of life experience and compared them with what I had read.

I questioned Kant by seeing events in the way film was made. You need many single cuts from different perspective angles to make a scene seem real. There could not be one a priori truth, but there had to be many and each one claims to be the absolute. I kept looking for answers and dived into mathematical philosophy. I read Bertrand Russell, who influenced my later years very much.

Jacobsen: What have been some important professional capacities for you?

Jaenicke: Well, I started my early career as an actress. I played my first lead role in the film “Das Heimkind.” A year later, I worked with the director Peter Lilienthal in the film “David.” By that time, I was officially recognized as gifted and excused from school by the German Minister of Education. I also performed in a Ballet company in Munich and played Shakespeare on stage. From there on, I received one offer after the other, mostly name over title roles. I worked with colleges like Goetz George, Franco Nero, Christoph Waltz, and many others. For the movie, “The Swing” about the youth of the writer and poet Annette Kolb. I have been awarded with the Bavarian Film Award. Later, I received the “BAMBI” and the “German Actors Award of the Federal Association of German Film and TV Directors.” All in all, I have participated in around a hundred film and television productions, When I was thirty, I stopped acting, became a professional dog musher, and took my twenty self bred and trained sled dogs on an expedition through the Canadian Arctic. After my return, I moved to a medieval Chateau in France and founded my own film developing company. Among others, I developed the motion picture: “Eagles Dance” and “The Perfect Job.” I wrote the script, directed, and played the female main role in the film “The Mirror Image of Being,” which was developed after my own novel. I was the writer, director, and producer of the documentary film “Lucky Me.” I wrote eight lyric books, a novel, a couple of short stories and many screenplays. I appeared as a guest writer in several other books I am also a published author of “Leonardo Magazine”, “City Connect Magazine- Cambridge”, “WIN One” and “Genius Journal” For my creative work, I have been honored with the Distinguished Visionary of the Year Award 2018 and the Genius of the Year Award 2019 by the VedIQ Guild Foundation. And I recently published two books about an insane penguin called Werner.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous two questions, how have those professional capacities and postsecondary academic qualifications helped intellectual and skill development for you?

Jaenicke: Oddly I perceive your question the other way around, but, maybe, that is the price for being an artist. My intellectual capacity has helped to pursue my artistic work of creating. I think the pure joy of creation shaped my mind and helped me to achieve academic qualifications. This is why I see myself as a Thinker cum Arte.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Jaenicke: Somehow, I was a strange kid. I loved learning. I started to speak full sentences very early. I did so continuously. I talked and talked. Also, I became a rather silent child in later years. Maybe, I had the feeling that the talking straights out the many confusing questions I had.

My grandmother notoriously claimed that she has never, never told a single lie in her entire life. I started to ask myself what “never” meant and if “never” can ever be? I guess this was the moment where my interest in the miracles of the universe have been born. I started to teach myself how to read and write because I was too impatient to wait for school. My mother gave me some French children’s books. I started to read them all. At that time, I did not notice that I read in a foreign language. I just kept reading and filled the gaps with the illustrations of the book. After we have been on a holiday to Italy. I started to speak Italian quite fluently. I had never learned the language. I was still in diapers, but I understood and spoke perfectly. Until now, I have no explanation for that. In some way, it was a hindrance too because I never developed the right attitude to learn a language from school books or structured courses. It needed a lot of discipline in later years, but I finally got over it. My mother decided that I should enter school early, but, at this time, there was no way in Germany to do so. Finally, she got me into first grade public school. It was the greatest disappointment ever. I desperately wanted to learn and couldn’t wait to go to school and meet all the other kids of whom I thought they might have the same intention as I have, but, unfortunately, it turned out that they were a bunch of noisy idiots with sticky hands. I had to sit still in a stinky classroom and bore myself to death while the others practiced how to draw a straight line. The teacher forced me to write three pages of As, Bs, and Cs. I remember becoming very furious. I cried until they sent me home. It was decided that I should take an IQ test because teachers thought I might be overwhelmed by school and not quite ripe for it. I remember sitting in a room with a lady who called herself “Aunty.” I was very nervous; I didn’t want to make mistakes in the test. The test result turned out as a surprise and catapulted me right into second grade. Finally, I was allowed to write real words and I loved math. I had a wonderful little teacher, Miss Hoffmann. I loved to discuss numbers with her. A couple of years later, when I quit school, which officially was not allowed in Germany, I had to repeat IQ testing. I didn’t like these supervised tests. I felt a bit like a mouse in a laboratory. Much later, I took IQ tests by Nathan Haselbauer [Ed. Founder of the International High IQ Society, deceased by his own hand.] and Jason Betts. But I think that IQ testing is not an end in itself. Much more important is what you make out of it.

Jacobsen: How was this nurtured in an early life?

Jaenicke: As a single child growing up with a single parent I had many so called grown up talks with my mother from early age on. I never felt happy with other children and I spent much time alone. I loved it as I do today. I never feel lonely when I am alone. I think one big component in my early life was that I was forced to adapt frequently, to watch people and situations and to process circumstances fast. When I was fourteen, my mother got an offer for the TV series “Holocaust.” I joined her and made my math homework at the film set, which ended in discussing Dirichlet boundaries with the actor James Woods (IQ 185). He got so excited over it that he wrote notes on my math paper and I rewrote the paper together with him. For this paper, I got the worst grade in my whole school career. Obviously, my teacher didn’t understand the thought processes of James Woods.

Jacobsen: How did you develop intellectual interests and productions over time into the present, in adulthood?

Jaenicke: I am creative but I do not feel very adult. Although, as a renaissance person, I might be very old.

Jacobsen: How did you find WIN? How did this become taking part in WIN ONE Phenomenon community?

Jaenicke: I entered WIN a couple of years ago. I am a member of about twenty-five High IQ societies, among others the Poetic Genius Society in which I used to be very active. I also wrote for Leonardo Magazine. From that time, I know Graham Powell who asked me if I want to write for WIN ONE and so I did.

Jacobsen: Who have been some important writers and speakers in your life as guiding lights or signposts as to what is meaningful and important to you.

Jaenicke: I think Bertrand Russell is important to me, Wittgenstein in some way and, of course, Douglas Hofstadter. But also Charles Chaplin and the director Werner Herzog who is the inspiration for my insane penguin Werner.

Jacobsen: You are part of a large number of high IQ societies. What ones mean the most to you? Why?

Jaenicke: The high IQ landscape has changed very much over the years. There are countless societies out there to choose from. Some make it and others don’t. When I began looking for high IQ groups online, there were not so many choices available as today. I am a founding member of the WGD (World Genius Directory founded by Dr. Jason Betts). As a poet, I have been very active in the Poetic Genius Society. Today, I think it is not so much the name of a certain society that matters, but the people who took the initiative and invested their effort, time, and love into the upbringing of these groups. Without naming anyone in particular, I would like to thank those among us who are working tirelessly to make the communication in high IQ groups and societies not only possible but highly enjoyable.

Jacobsen. What have been the mainstream intelligence tests taken by you before? What have been the scores and the standard deviations?

Jaenicke: As a child, I have taken the HAWIK (Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligence Scale für Kinder) and later the WAIS. Germany is mostly a mediocre country and in my childhood there were many concerns about measuring the IQ of children. The tendency was to foster the ordinary and not the extraordinary. Children with a higher IQ were often bullied and forced to adapt to the learning pace and capacity of the lesser talented. Germany had made bad experiences with the fostering of elites during the Third Reich and after the war the official aim was to create an education system based on the average population rather than one that promotes excellence. Everything above or below average was regarded as out of the norm or not normal. My scores as a child were very divergent, from Mensa entry criteria to ridiculously high, depending on the circumstances, but also on the particular state of my development. I do not think the results of these tests are very representative as a whole. Anyway, for me, the actual fixed number does not have such importance because, in my opinion, it is a fluid value. I try to fill my IQ potential with purpose and become the best me I can possibly be; that is enough work for one lifetime.

Jacobsen: What have been the alternative or non-mainstream intelligence tests taken by you before? What have been the scores and standard deviations of those scores?

Jaenicke: I have taken a couple of high-range tests. I think the average result of all tests taken gives a good and trustworthy result.

Jacobsen: What would be the most accurate IQ or true IQ for you?

Jaenicke: My shoe size is 37 (US 6 1/2). My body mass index and my true IQ are very personal, but the score of 153 S.D. (Standard Deviation) 15 listed in the World Genius Directory suits me most [Ed. A statistical rarity of 1-out-of-4,873 people out of the general population].

Jacobsen: What is intelligence to you? Do you identify as a genius?

Jaenicke: Intelligence is somehow recursive. Everything which is animate is in its own way intelligent and has a complex dynamic, connected to particular loci in a given verse. The root of the word genius is “geno-,” which includes the whole of mankind. I like that, but I would describe myself more as a polymath. I know a little bit of all kinds of something, but I really know nothing.

Jacobsen: Why do women appear to take fewer high-range IQ tests? Why do the highest scores appear to be almost dominated by men?

Jaenicke: That is an interesting question. One could say that the structure of IQ tests is more oriented toward male intelligence or that men are more competitive, but that is not the whole answer. Recently, I have read an article in a German newspaper, where someone suggested to separate boys and girls in science classes because of the lesser participation of girls in mixed classes. I think that is total nonsense! But in my opinion, there is a point that should be discussed more openly in high IQ groups and that is about mobbing. I have spoken to a lot of women and many say that they have been mobbed or insulted in the high IQ community at least one time. Some of them even left the groups or prefer to communicate on a private basis via email. It seems only too comprehensible that women with very high intelligence and sensitivity do not perform well under this kind of pressure. It is perfectly understandable when they back off and leave the high IQ community. While a high IQ score in a test is certainly something desirable, we should not forget our awareness for our fellow men and women. A high IQ is nothing without a minimum of empathy.

Jacobsen: Who do you consider some of the most significant or important geniuses in history?

Jaenicke: The first anonymous who ignited the flame.

Jacobsen: Any favorite authors, poets, painters, or composers?

Jaenicke: A.A. Milne, Edgar Allen Poe, Douglas Hofstadter, Bertrand Russel, J.W. Goethe, William Shakespeare, the unknown artists of the Lascaux and Chauvet cave in France, Vincent van Gogh, Lucas Cranach the Elder (I have some loose family ties to him), J.S. Bach, Mozart, The Rolling Stones, etc. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.

Jacobsen: Do you have any personal opinion on God or gods?

Jaenicke: In your question lies the answer. Every opinion about God or gods is personal and entirely subjective. But the fact that you spelled the one God with a capital G suggests that the importance lies in the all comprising unity of One.

Jacobsen: This one is murky. It is hard to define. What is religion?

Jaenicke: Well, let’s see, first, we should differ between religion, spirituality, and, pure gnosis, which means knowledge. From early times on, humans have had an inborn spirituality, a connectedness to nature and the universe and the strong awareness of something greater. I would go so far to say that we are not alone with this concept. While I have been working with wolves for a behavioural study, I noticed that they have a sense for hyper-natural phenomena. Later, I have often noticed the same in my dogs. I think all intelligent large mammals are able to experience the overwhelming vastness of the universal realm to a certain grade. And nature is the key to spirituality. Religion, is a manmade construct, which has proven to be very useful to communicate a certain desirable moral or ethical codex. It is mostly based on myths and legends, which are very important because they are our connection to the past. But many religions use mediators to interpret between the direct spiritual and the people. These interpretations are often based on the principles of blind obedience and subjective beliefs without any proof or certainty. The unfortunate byproduct of this kind of blind faith is dogma and dogma can lead to error, fanaticism, and fatality. Nevertheless, religion has an important purpose to accompany humanity from infancy to adolescence. In a world where moral, ethical, and humanitarian aspects are often ignored, religion and prayer practiced in private has its very own and important standing. Or as Kierkegaard would have said: “The function of prayer is not to influence God but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” My personal approach is an open one based on old and new knowledge, and science. I somehow don’t think it is heretical to state that a God is also a Dog. Is the light of the reflection from a mirror less light than the candle I hold? Everything is fractional and has multiply sides. One should not avoid a Void.

Jacobsen: What was the culture of Germany in the 1960 and 1970s?

Jaenicke: Well, I was a child at this time. As I mentioned before, I was born in the western part of the city of Berlin. After WW2, the city of Berlin was divided between the allied forces of the U.S., Great Britain, and France on one side, and the Russian sector on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The atmosphere in the city was dominated by the Cold War. The western part of Berlin was a free democratic island surrounded by the communistic dictatorship. West Berlin was connected to East Berlin by the famous Check Point Charlie and only had transit corridors to the rest of West Germany. Today, you can find many great books and films about this time. From John Le Carre’ to the film: “The Bridge of Spies” by Steven Spielberg. It was the great classical time of espionage and Berlin was in the center of it. Of course, as a small child, I had no clue about all this. At this time, I often went on the public bus with my granny. I saw the many sad and worn out faces, which made me very concerned. I decided to make people happy by singing songs to them. My cultural life at this time was mostly dominated by the newest Walt Disney movies. My mother worked for the Disney studios in Berlin. We got free tickets for the cinema. I loved the movies. A couple of years later, when the film “Cabaret” with Liza Minelli came out, I desperately wanted to go to it. Unfortunately, the film had an age rating of 18 years. So, my mother put some make up on my cheeks and dressed me up. She told the ticket seller that I was a 63-year-old dwarf and a bit challenged. She was my caretaker. It worked and I was in!

Jacobsen: What makes a bad poet, a good poet, and a rare great poet?

Jaenicke: His or her poetry.

Jacobsen: With your intelligence and level of productivity, what seems like the relationship between intelligence and productivity?

Jaenicke: Perhaps, we should distinguish between productivity and creativity. A productive hard working person does not necessarily need to have a very high intelligence. Farmers, toolmakers, and engineers, with an average intelligence can produce a multitude of great products by walking in the footsteps of others. A creative person has the urge to find new fertile lands by setting her/his own traces. Creativity is in the first place the ability to think outside the box and come up with new concepts and solutions, while high intelligence is the ability to process information. In some rare circumstances, both go hand in hand and can lead to a certain output.

Jacobsen: What motivates you? Why write, produce?

Jaenicke: As I said, it is an urge to do so.

Jacobsen: Everyone determines the happiness, or rather happinesses, for themselves. Those hills and valleys of potential, chosen and actualized to make meaning, significance, in life. What makes you happy? What gives you significance-meaning in life out of life?

Jaenicke: First of all, I can not remember when I was born into this life, that someone promised me to be happy, the deal was to be alive. I think every day, every hour of our life should have a meaning as you and me belong to the few lucky ones who have come into existence and actually have the possibility to live on this planet for a while. Many others aren’t so lucky and some of us even die after the first couple of hours. Since the dawn of time life has been associated with struggle, the first breath of a child is struggle. But life means also love, immense beauty, and the precious moments of happiness and contentment. If you look at nature, at birds fighting for survival in the long month of winter and bear mothers caring for their cubs, you might understand perfectly what the significance of life is. It is a learning curve. Homo sapiens has managed to take itself out of the direct impact of nature and now longs for some substitute for happiness. Those I love give meaning to my life and I try my best to give meaning to theirs. Concerning my own doubtful significance, I think you should not ask me, but those to whom I am in someway significant.

Jacobsen: You earned the Bavarian Film Award, Bambi Award, Deutscher Darstellerpreis, and the 2018 Distinguished Visionary of the Year Award from the VedIQ Guild Foundation. What was the reason for the honours – the production honoured – for you?

Jaenicke: The Bavarian Filmpreis has been awarded to me for the Film “The Swing” by Percy Adlon. The Bambi for the TV family series “Mensch Bachmann” where I played the youngest daughter called “Bunny”. The Deutsche Darstellerpreis was for a film with Franco Nero and the Distinguished Visionary of the Year Award has been awarded to me for the whole of my artistic work as a Visionary and Thinker cum Arte.

Jacobsen: What did the awards and honours mean to you?

Jaenicke: I see them as a conformation and feedback of my work but also as a major stimulus to go on and become better in what I do.

Jacobsen: What is the real purpose or positive purpose of awards for poets, people in the arts and humanities, especially when the pay for the vast majority stinks?

Jaenicke: It is an acknowledgment and a motivation for sure!

Jacobsen: How does Germany support artists? How does the European Union even in the current social and political climate?

Jaenicke: I think I mentioned before that Germany is a rather mediocre country with little free spaces for artists. Or as the Chinese painter Ai Wei Wei said: “Germany is not a good place for artists.” Filmmakers are almost entirely dependent on governmental subventions, which is a bit disturbing because a state where the government controls film and media is in danger of drifting away from democracy.

Jacobsen: What have been some poignant artistic productions on the current artistic scene about the political and social dynamics in Germany?

Jaenicke: After the fall of the Iron Curtain, there have been some internationally renowned films. For example, the Academy Award-winning film “Das Leben der Anderen” in 2006 by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Unfortunately, such productions are rather rare because financing is too slow and complicated, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was only able to make this movie because the actors were willing to work for only 20% of their costume salary. And the filmmakers were running more than ten years to get a budget of two million Euros. Later, this film became the flagship of the German film industry. Germany has become very technocratic and ridged in some way. But the cars are still very good!

Jacobsen: What ones have been more art for art’s sake as individual expression without some political or social commentary implied to it.

Jaenicke: While the U.S. has a commercial studio film industry, the film market in Germany is crucially dependent of governmental funding and television co-productions. This kind of funding implies that filmmakers produce what pleases the media boards or is in a certain degree political and socially correct. The result is mainly a very unoriginal output, which is brought into line with the current social and political demands. Also, I think there are a lot of very talented young film makers and artists around. Every year, many people graduate from German Film Academies, but only a handful of them finds work. The rare group of dedicated filmmakers who make film to express themselves need years to get a decent free funding or have to pledge grandma’s heritage. They often make only one film or are financially ruined after their first work. It is a rather sad development.

Jacobsen: How do you see the world as a producer of original work, as an artist does? Most others either recreate some work in a technical manner, e.g., engineers, find something new once and then hand off to the recreators, e.g. scientists, or work a life of drudgery, e.g., most of human beings in history and now at an ordinary job?

Jaenicke: In my opinion you can only be good at what you love and if you love what you do, there is nothing ordinary about it. Whatever it is.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

One Comment
  1. In real life John le Carré the spy had more Achilles heels than he had feet! Brilliant author but what of his Dad & the Kray Brothers? Did he upset Monty, Philby’s cousin? Were Pemberton’s People in MI6 in #TheBurlingtonFiles real friends or foes? See https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2022.10.31.php.

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