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An Interview with Tiberiu Sammak on Family, Personal Evolution, and Character (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/05/01


Tiberiu Sammak is a 24-year-old guy who currently lives in Bucharest. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years surfing the Internet (mostly searching things of interest) and playing video games. One of his hobbies used to be the construction of paper airplanes, spending a couple of years designing and trying to perfect different types of paper aircrafts. Academically, he never really excelled at anything. In fact, his high school record was rather poor. Some of his current interests include cosmology, medicine and cryonics. His highest score on an experimental high-range I.Q. test is 187 S.D. 15, achieved on Paul Cooijmans’ Reason – Revision 2008. He discusses: family background; family life; supportive environment; balancing emotional and intellectual life; flourishing, talent, actualization, giftedness, talentedness, and IQ; educational moments; professional and work roles; development of character; uncertainty in adolescence; and reading a lot in non-standard ways.

Keywords: actualization, emotional life, giftedness, intellectual life, intelligence, IQ, reading, talent, Tiberiu Nicolas Sammak.

An Interview with Tiberiu Sammak on Family, Personal Evolution, and Character (Part One)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Some of the intriguing parts of people in the high range who have been tested seem less to do with the professional accomplishments and more to do with the stories in their own becoming. It always or nearly always leads me to begin with some of the obvious starts of some of the early life for them, or before being around to have a tale. What are some important factoids regarding family background? Those points of contact family history directly relevant to personal development and trajectory. The variables as vectors more important than others. Only these come from the personal evaluation of the family history.

Tiberiu Nicolas Sammak: I am the only child of a middle-class family. My father comes from Damascus; however, his family is of Palestinian ancestry. He went to complete his studies in Romania, where he also met the woman that was going to be my mother. My mother was born and grew up in Bucharest.

When it comes to formal education, both of my parents have completed postgraduate studies (both of them having a master’s degree), my mother being a civil engineer and my father being a medical doctor. In that regard, they are much more accomplished than I as my highest academic qualification is a high school diploma.

As far as religious beliefs are concerned, my mother is a Christian while my father is a Muslim. Holding different viewpoints about religion did not have a negative impact on their relation, both of them sharing mutual understanding despite having a distinct stance on that matter.

2. Jacobsen: What was family life like growing up?

Sammak: I grew up in Bucharest, being raised mostly by my mother and my grandparents. My father went to work as a physician in Germany when I was about 4 or 5. However, he would visit me a couple of times per year and we would often spend our family time together going to the beach or visiting some mountainous place.

When I was a child, I used to enjoy having long summer walks with my grandfather, especially at dusk. Those strolls provided me with a sense of tranquility and joy. One of my favourite places included a barren region surrounded by a few abandoned and derelict factories, which was pretty far from my home. I have always found great beauty in bleak, desolate areas, as they seem to be enveloped by mystery, most of them having a particular story behind.

Another recollection that springs to my mind is that of me helping my grandfather to harvest squashes (which happen to be among my favourite fruits). I would happily pick them up and put them into wooden crates.

3. Jacobsen: Was there a supportive or an unsupportive environment while gifted and growing up?

Sammak: My parents were always supportive, encouraging me to pursue my passions.

With regard to school, I attended a normal one, like most of the children my age. I did not skip grades and I am fairly sure that was a good thing. There aren’t any schools that would allow skipping grades in my country anyway, to the best of my knowledge. In my view, homeschooling is the best form of education for someone who benefits from an accelerated way of learning. I think that’s mostly because putting one into a class where all of one’s classmates are 3 or 4 years older might lead to a lot of issues. Of course, these problems could be also tackled by making special schools with a different curriculum and strict admission requirements, where one would have to sit a general ability assessment.

I cannot say that I grew up in an unsupportive environment. Even though my school experience may not have been the finest, my family (both my parents and grandparents) was always eager to help me and loved me unconditionally. I have profound respect for them and I cherish every moment spent together.

4. Jacobsen: With the different contexts for the gifted and the talented while developing in youth, there appears a general recognition of unusual traits and rapid cognitive developments universally earlier in life. These interviews appear to match the empirical research in which asynchrony is present. The emotional life of the child remains behind the intellectual development of the child. This creates tension between understanding and feeling. This is where problems start or stop, in my opinion. Either a gifted child becomes nurtured and flourishes or becomes under-nurtured and withers, even heading into illicit areas of the society and in the development of mental illness induced externally (barring any strong innate predisposition to varieties of mental illness with well-known strong heritability than not). How did emotional-social life and intellectual come to be balanced in an earlier life? If this was achieved, how was this achieved?

Sammak: I am a deeply introverted and aloof person and I used to spend most of my early years daydreaming and pondering over various topics, such as cosmology and cosmogony. Basically, I was living in my own world. Being a quiet individual is a big disadvantage in almost all social settings due to the fact that most people would perceive you as weird, even arrogant.

During my middle school years, I spent lots of hours playing video games and surfing the Internet, searching things of interest. I have always despised the idea of learning unnecessary school stuff.

Many of my childhood problems probably stemmed from having a severely underdeveloped personality. I am definitely a late bloomer, both mentally and emotionally, reaching maturity very late in life. There wasn’t a stark difference between my and my peers’ mental ability. What I clearly noticed was a sizeable distance between me and pretty much everyone, which was certainly attributed to my personality and my way of being. Trying to be something you are not (in my case, trying to be more extraverted) is very detrimental to your well-being, constantly making you feel uneasy.

5. Jacobsen: Giftedness and talentedness are not one monolithic thing. Neither is IQ. It’s a composite number and, therefore, a plural metric of cognitive potentials in different delineated mental capabilities with implications for the ways one thinks and how richly information processed in different areas. It’s a singular metric more akin to a rope comprised of individual threads pointing in a general direction rather than a steel rod. Some ropes are longer, stronger than others while others are shorter, frayed, etc. For the highest ranges of talent, what is the importance of finding the areas of special talent for them? How do society benefit and the individual flourish more when actualizing this talent?

Sammak: These are questions of extreme significance since they are directly related to the possible evolution of humankind, and, more important, to the overall happiness and satisfaction of the individual.

I like the way you constructed the rope analogy and I absolutely agree with the fact that the g factor is represented by the accretion of many cognitive traits, synergizing together and building up to one’s intellectual capacity, this potential being quantified or trying to be quantified through different means.

Being remarkably talented in a field is not always a certainty for stardom; one still has to put in a lot of effort and be discovered. Same thing applies for the people who possess an exceptional mental ability.

I cannot help but think about Will Hunting (the main protagonist from the movie “Good Will Hunting”), which, to me, is the embodiment of genius. I consider genius to be the apex of human ability.

An aspect to being discovered is that a lot of very talented persons do not seek approval or popularity. Things like sense of achievement and the enjoyment after you have created something you are content with come from within. A lot of remarkable individuals have gone unnoticed through their lives despite being brilliant.

When one discovers the area where one truly shines, only positive things could surface thereafter. If the talent of somebody exceptional is discovered, considerable real-world advancements could happen. But I guess the thing which is paramount is represented by one’s own contentment. Combining passion with talent leads to one’s fulfillment and happiness.

6. Jacobsen: What were some pivotal educational moments for you?

Sammak: The transition from middle school to secondary school was a critical moment for me. It was in high school when I realized that an academic milieu is certainly not for people like me. That was the time when I stopped caring about school-related subjects altogether. The reason for my disinterest was simple: I never liked to study. Normally, that resulted in me getting very low grades and barely passing the classes.

A hobby of mine back then used to be the construction of paper airplanes, being fascinated by some intricate models that I had previously seen on the Internet. I spent considerable time tinkering with designs and had lots of fun in doing that. I managed to build some original and unconventional gliders during that period.

I also enjoyed drawing (which I still do), even though I was not talented.

Again, I spent plenty of time searching stuff on the Internet. When something interested me, I tried finding all of the available information about that something. I was always obsessed with accuracy, always wanting to

understand the fundamental aspect of things, their core part. Sometimes, that proved to be a very time-consuming experience, albeit extraordinarily rewarding.

Another key point in my educational years was the ending of high school. That turned out to be a very hazy period for me. I did not have a clear direction, I was undecided and I felt lost.

7. Jacobsen: What have been some professional or work roles for you?

Sammak: I did not have any. After finishing high school, I was still unsure of what I should be doing. That resulted in a 3-year period of unemployment and in trying to explore and find something I am actually good at.

Unfortunately, I could not find something where I really excelled – I was pretty much average at almost everything.

I dropped out twice from two different colleges. I thought of dropping out of high school as well, but not wanting to completely disappoint my parents was a good motivation to finish it.

I am currently studying computer engineering at a public college, trying to get a degree.

8. Jacobsen: How have these moments, or roles, helped in the individual development of character and work ethic? Especially the ordinary jobs, those positions in which one must do something that one does not want to do, and to help those who be the least – well – helpful in their attitudes to you.

Sammak: Since I was never employed, I cannot fully address this question. However, I have learned that doing something you do not like to is sometimes compulsory – I did not want to go to school but I had to!

With respect to people who were rude or tried to bully me, I would avoid any further encounters with them or completely ignore them.

9. Jacobsen: Did you have any mentors while entering from adolescence into young adulthood to provide a sense of the direction and self-assuredness?

Sammak: No, I did not. My juvenescence was marked by uncertainty.

10. Jacobsen: Any influential authors or writers, or artists, while growing up? Probably 4/5 or more highly intelligent young people have been avid readers.

Sammak: I know this might come off as really surprising, but I have not read any books in my life. Nonetheless, I read a lot of papers, articles, editorials, and the like. I relished reading, whether it was something trivial or a more elaborate piece of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to music. Some of my favourite musical genres included melodic death metal, trance, psytrance and synthwave. Sometimes I would picture myself in a white Testarossa while rain is glistening off the streets and neon lights are starting to flicker as I am heading to the outrun sun (synthwave enthusiasts know what I mean by this).

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Reason – Revision 2008, IQ 187 (S.D.15).

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: Image Credit: Tiberiu Nicolas Sammak.

*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.


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


© 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.

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