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Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Erik Haereid and Rick Rosner on Lifework (Part Twelve)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/05/15


Rick Rosner and I conduct a conversational series entitled Ask A Genius on a variety of subjects through In-Sight Publishing on the personal and professional website for Rick. According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. Erik Haereid earned a score at 185, on the N-VRA80. He is an expert in Actuarial Sciences. Both scores on a standard deviation of 15. A sigma of 6.00+ (or ~6.13 or 6.20) for Rick – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 1,009,976,678+ (with some at rarities of 1 in 2,314,980,850 or 1 in 3,527,693,270) – and ~5.67 for Erik – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 136,975,305. 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. This amounts to a joint interview or conversation with Erik Haereid, Rick Rosner, and myself.

Keywords: America, Erik Haereid, Norway, Rick Rosner, Scott Douglas Jacobsen.

Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Erik Haereid and Rick Rosner on Lifework (Part Twelve)[1],[2]*

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

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: This is the last of the brainstormed topics: when profoundly gifted and talented and finding something worth their time and effort and intelligence for a life work (if they’re lucky), and how society supports or destroys the profoundly gifted. We’ve covered a wide span of material. I am going to consider this the bees and hive finale. The real crux or fulcrum of the entire discussions focuses on the relation of the high cognitive ability minority in societies and the societies. As Aurelius said, “That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees” – good quote, probably true for the most part. 

When certain bees get the opportunity to flourish to their full capacity, which appears sufficiently greater than the norm, what should be the criteria in the selection of life works worth their time, effort, and talents?

Rick Rosner: The glib answer, if they are so smart, they should be able to figure it out.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Rosner: I don’t know how to answer that. In that, we know about really smart people – a few famous cases – who came up with theories that changed the world, or in other fields, e.g., wrote books or plays, whatever they’re still revered for hundreds of years later today. I don’t know that it is at all clear to those people of the time that that should have been their pursuit. A lot of stuff was circumstantial. Newton got sent home from school because there was the Plague. So, he thought about Calculus and Gravitation, which set the ground for theorization or later in life. Yet, he spent a lot of his life not researching that stuff. Einstein spent the second half of his life trying to come up with a Unified Field Theory and got nowhere with it. Darwin would have come up with his theory, except that he was hired to be the companion on a boat, a ship, that was doing a 5-year voyage around the world. So, the captain wouldn’t get lonely because the captain tended to be depressed. Shakespeare was probably just trying o make a living as a showman and made some art on the side.

So, the idea of people of destiny can choose their destiny, or people can choose to become people of destiny; I don’t know if that is a legit thing. I don’t know if I can offer any advice about life choices for smart people. I can offer all sorts of advice on how to appear to be a genius and, maybe, get laid out of it if you’re good at it or get some money out of it. But in terms of how to use actual genius, I am not sure that I know. I’ve suffered for not having the discipline to really get myself the proper grounding in the mathematics and physics that I need to think about math and physics. I have taken some. But I have not studied it up to a doctoral level. I can’t do a Hamiltonian or, off the top of my head, calculate an eigen function. Stuff that people should be able to do if they are going to do good physics. If you want to do work in a field, then get trained in that fucking field, but don’t limit yourself to the field. Because, sometimes, what gives people an edge are differences in perspective via differences in background, but, again, that’s a wild guess. It worked for Darwin. Will it work for anyone else?

Erik Haereid: The simple but not complete answer is “follow your heart”. What motivates you? Answer that, and do it. If the answer is devastating for yourself or others, it’s something wrong with your heart. Then use your intelligence to solve that problem. If it’s still devastating, it’s something wrong with your intelligence. I don’t know what else to say. There are different kinds of motivations; it can destroy and it can heal society. But if you have that inner glow towards a goal that don’t seem to be destructive, go for it; if you have a talent, it will flourish.

The society will probably never accept your talent and effort, if people can’t see a benefit from it. E.g. many love different sports and athletes because they function as beacon; inspirations towards some goals people have. But geniuses’ goals or means are often far away from inspiring. It’s invisible and difficult to apprehend for ordinary people. It’s odd. Until they are finished; the piece of art, the mathematical problem solved, the invention is obvious. It’s like when a pianist or guitarist trains, which sounds disharmonic but is basic to make him or her play professional later. But to be virtuoso you have to practice and do all the stuff that most people don’t understand and therefore reject. The resilience is part of making your talent come through. Don’t give up even though people in their ignorance do what they can to make you do that. I think that’s important. If you have that talent and initially believe in it, it’s crucial to know that the social, other physical and mental obstacles are a part of the road. Maybe that’s why so many talents get screwed. They can’t look through the wall of bricks meeting them. It’s difficult to maintain the motivation. Being aware of that could help you maintain your effort.

Jacobsen: Will there be a democratization of talent into the future with the emergence of more powerful computers and sophisticated applications for people to use?

Rosner: There certainly will because people will have more and more access to powerful information processing utilities. The smart people of the future will be smart not necessarily because they were born smart, but because they learned how to maximize the utility of the smart technology that is emerging. It will be democratized. There is already some of that. My standard example is Waze. Waze makes everyone a genius at getting where they want to go and not getting lost. If you don’t want to use Waze, then use the GPS in your car past 2012, which will have some GPS Sat-Nav system. People used to get lost. Now, anybody with a phone doesn’t get lost. That’s a kind of democratization of ability. So, yes, everyone in the future will be both an idiot, from too much time on social media, and a genius from a bunch of apps.

Haereid: We are in an exponential technological evolution. Everything goes faster, and people thinks faster. People get more and more used to think abstract. The intelligence increases. We communicate more, and share thoughts and ideas. We explore worlds that are virtual, and see ourselves as a part of these realities. We have read fictions and fairytales and lived lives in such alternative realities for a long time. But now we are active inside these worlds. We contribute. We are not pure spectators. We create and communicate in the virtual and fictional universe in new and more complex ways, and that make us better to transform ideas into the real world.  

We live using our internal four-dimensional map, creating the best estimations of reality. Using technological additions to improve that map, is a part of being more intelligent. We develop tech that lessen the distance between estimations and reality. Our prejudgments and different believes are estimates, and they become more scientific or objectively accurate when we get more information that contributes to make us more convinced. When maps become better, they actually draw wood, water and mountain exactly at the spots where you experience wood, water and mountain in reality; we don’t have to guess that much anymore. The new generation of maps are not limited to describe the static nature accurately, but also the moving figures. And also identifying and categorizing the moving figures; the different events. One can take pictures/videos of events and reality, from satellites, airplanes or locally, download it into the map and make it available for others as part of the map; the map converges towards objectivity. By searching in an extended part of our “brain”, we will expand our internal four-dimensional map, and become more accurate in our estimations about the reality in those four dimensions. This is e.g. Googles’ business idea. Our internal and external technological brain is constantly expanding with help of our talents and intelligence, and everyone can and will use it.

It’s also about recognition; people have to understand what’s going on. When they do, they accept and internalize it. Then more people will nurture their own talents, and become more intelligent and contribute to technological advancement.

Jacobsen: What do you consider your lifework if you have one?  

Rosner: It should be doing physics and coming up with or fleshing out the Information Cosmology. If it is my lifework, then I’m failing at it. Because I am not coming up with a complete enough or a persuasive enough theory. If I do not do better, and if it turns out to be true, then I will be a footnote to the guy who came up with a tight version of it.

Haereid: I don’t have one, but what I think most about and have done the last years is how humans could benefit on exploiting and using each other’s different abilities instead of marginalizing humans into an illusion of perfection. It’s about control, and about loosen up and accepting diversity as an advantage instead of a hindrance; without losing control. If all could trick the brain to be curious instead of frightened, anxious and superior, we would improve as a species beyond the thinkable, I think.

Jacobsen: Rick, Erik, thank you both very much for the extensive effort, thoughtfulness, and time over these twelve sessions.

Rosner: Thank you.

Haereid: Thank you, Scott, it has been a pleasure.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Erik Haereid has been a member of Mensa since 2013, and is among the top scorers on several of the most credible IQ-tests in the unstandardized HRT-environment. He is listed in the World Genius Directory. He is also a member of several other high IQ Societies.

Erik, born in 1963, grew up in OsloNorway, in a middle class home at Grefsen nearby the forest, and started early running and cross country skiing. After finishing schools he studied mathematics, statistics and actuarial science at the University of Oslo. One of his first glimpses of math-skills appeared after he got a perfect score as the only student on a five hour math exam in high school.

He did his military duty in His Majesty The King’s Guard (Drilltroppen)).

Impatient as he is, he couldn’t sit still and only studying, so among many things he worked as a freelance journalist in a small news agency.  In that period, he did some environmental volunteerism with Norges Naturvernforbund (Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature), where he was an activist, freelance journalist and arranged ‘Sykkeldagen i Oslo’ twice (1989 and 1990) as well as environmental issues lectures. He also wrote some crime short stories in A-Magasinet (Aftenposten (one of the main newspapers in Norway), the same paper where he earned his runner up (second place) in a nationwide writing contest in 1985. He also wrote several articles in different newspapers, magazines and so on in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He earned an M.Sc. degree in Statistics and Actuarial Sciences in 1991, and worked as an actuary novice/actuary from 1987 to 1995 in several Norwegian Insurance companies. He was the Academic Director (1998-2000) of insurance at the BI Norwegian Business School (1998-2000), Manager (1997-1998) of business insurance, life insurance, and pensions and formerly Actuary (1996-1997) at Nordea in Oslo Area, Norway, a self-employed Actuary Consultant (1996-1997), an Insurance Broker (1995-1996) at Assurance Centeret, Actuary (1991-1995) at Alfa Livsforsikring, novice Actuary (1987-1990) at UNI Forsikring.

In 1989 he worked in a project in Dallas with a Texas computer company for a month incorporating a Norwegian pension product into a data system. Erik is specialized in life insurance and pensions, both private and business insurances. From 1991 to 1995 he was a main part of developing new life insurance saving products adapted to bank business (Sparebanken NOR), and he developed the mathematics behind the premiums and premium reserves.

He has industry experience in accounting, insurance, and insurance as a broker. He writes in his IQ-blog the online newspaper Nettavisen. He has personal interests among other things in history, philosophy and social psychology.

In 1995, he moved to Aalborg in Denmark because of a Danish girl he met. He worked as an insurance broker for one year, and took advantage of this experience later when he developed his own consultant company.

In Aalborg, he taught himself some programming (Visual Basic), and developed an insurance calculation software program which he sold to a Norwegian Insurance Company. After moving to Oslo with his girlfriend, he was hired as consultant by the same company to a project that lasted one year.

After this, he became the Manager of business insurance in the insurance company Norske Liv. At that time he had developed and nurtured his idea of establishing an actuarial consulting company, and he did this after some years on a full-time basis with his actuarial colleague. In the beginning, the company was small. He had to gain money, and worked for almost two years as an Academic Director of insurance at the BI Norwegian Business School.

Then the consultant company started to grow, and he quitted BI and used his full time in NIA (Nordic Insurance Administration). This was in 1998/99, and he has been there since.

NIA provides actuarial consulting services within the pension and life insurance area, especially towards the business market. They was one of the leading actuarial consulting companies in Norway through many years when Defined Benefit Pension Plans were on its peak and companies needed evaluations and calculations concerning their pension schemes and accountings. With the less complex, and cheaper, Defined Contribution Pension Plans entering Norway the last 10-15 years, the need of actuaries is less concerning business pension schemes.

Erik’s book from 2011, Benektelse og Verdighet, contains some thoughts about our superficial, often discriminating societies, where the virtue seems to be egocentrism without thoughts about the whole. Empathy is lacking, and existential division into “us” and “them” is a mental challenge with major consequences. One of the obstacles is when people with power – mind, scientific, money, political, popularity – defend this kind of mind as “necessary” and “survival of the fittest” without understanding that such thoughts make the democracies much more volatile and threatened. When people do not understand the genesis of extreme violence like school killings, suicide or sociopathy, asking “how can this happen?” repeatedly, one can wonder how smart man really is. The responsibility is not limited to let’s say the parents. The responsibility is everyone’s. The day we can survive, mentally, being honest about our lives and existence, we will take huge leaps into the future of mankind.

Rick G. Rosner, according to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.”

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 15, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020:

*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


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