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An Interview with Andrew Watters on His Life, Views, and Societies Built Around Intelligence


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/08/01


Andrew Watters is a Member of the World Genius Directory. His website biography states, “I am a polymath* based in my hometown of San Mateo, California, USA. I have a law degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, and fourteen to twenty years of professional experience in multiple industries.” You can learn more about him here. He discusses: familial or personal background; some pivotal moments of life; the savant-ism; law; movie or film; project; some social difficulties; met others with savant syndrome; some differences; overexcitability; the historical accounts of those considered geniuses; asynchrony; countries incorporating the gifts and talents of the gifted and talented into the society in a more functional, compassionate way; issues facing the world; far-right nationalism; the place of children or the young in society; greater asynchrony; mainstream intelligence tests; alternative tests; test creators; high-IQ societies; more intermediate takers; the pressures socially on women to conform in different ways; religion; science; philosophy; ethics; the societies that are extant; economic system; political philosophy; social philosophy; strongman leadership; certain authoritarian or autocratic societies and the ways in which they are using technology to suppress their populations; the Steven Pinkerite, and some others like the late Hans Rosling, view of things; the Trump Administration in general and President Trump in particular managing or handling the coronavirus pandemic; the threat of Christian nationalism or Dominionism; the unrest over the longstanding ethnic tensions in the United States; Western Europe; the United States into the 2020s now; the attitudes of allies of the United States at this time; importance of intelligence; a non-carbon-based construct; human societies and the image of the human being; if he welcomes this or not; books, authors, or speakers; the onslaught of science; idea of a personal religious experience being proof or evidence of a creator or some kind of personal god; arguments for morality; the Cosmological Argument or the more popular Kalam Cosmological Argument; the Ontological Argument; outside of Leonardo da Vinci; today; ongoing projects; high-IQ societies are self-annihilating based on the graveyard of them; and those who do have a lot of gifts, but they aren’t interested in societies built around cognitive ability.

Keywords: Andrew Watters, asynchrony, Europe, god, high-IQ, overexcitability, religion, United States.

An Interview with Andrew Watters on His Life, Views, and Societies Built Around Intelligence[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of familial or personal background, what are some geographic, cultural, linguistic, even religious or not?

Andrew Watters: So, English is the native language from the U.S.A., from California. Cultural background is traditional, white, middle-class upbringing [Laughing].

2. Jacobsen: When it came to some pivotal moments of life, as a highly gifted person, these can come up in a variety of ways. One can be formal testing. Another can be parents seeing various verbal and behavioural proxies early in life to show more rapid intellectual development. How did this come about for you in life? Is it in earlier life? Is it later in life?

Watters: There were several moments in my life that I experienced that other people in my peer group didn’t experience. For example, in elementary school, I would be the kid to always volunteer to answer questions because I knew the answer, and knew the answer before everyone else. I would get to the point with the teacher saying, “Listen, let someone else answer, because you have answered too many questions.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Watters: This is from early life. Later in life, I experienced an illness that left me with a mental heightened awareness. I believe this is acquired savant syndrome.

3. Jacobsen: What is the savant-ism direct towards?

Watters: That’s the thing. It is not expected in typical savant syndrome. It is more in multiple areas, e.g., the creative arts and in computer programming, and in the law practice, and the analytical side, which I have. I find these things that are easier for me than for other people.

4. Jacobsen: How have you used them?

Watters: I went a 12-picture motion picture series called Truth Warrior, which is an original set of 12 screenplays set in a shared cinematic universe. I am about 80% done with it.

Jacobsen: Congratulations!

Watters: Thanks, it is one example. I have come up with multiple business ideas, which I am pursuing. It is an ability, not a disability. I am very happy with that.

5. Jacobsen: How did it show itself in law?

Watters: In law, it was an awareness of or a perception of things others didn’t see. The connections between things that most attorneys would not see. It was hard at first because I communicating in a way that other attorneys were not used to or understand. I was able to bring it around and then able to communicate with other people. Also, I was able to use my abilities to further the interest of my clients.

6. Jacobsen: When it comes to this movie or film project, what is the basis for it? Why the number 12?

Watters: The number 12 is not significant, but then I had 2 more ideas. It is an idea that popped into my head one day. I was not happy with my life. I decided to write motion pictures.

7. Jacobsen: When you’re taking some of these creative arts projects, the programming, and the law, when you’re speaking of the law in a non-standard way, how does this acquired savant-ism lead to certain confusions among those who already have expertise in some of those areas but notice a proficiency in someone who is speak their language in a non-standard way? How does this arise? What are some social difficulties coming from it?

Watters: There aren’t too many social difficulties since I am 15 years into it. I am aware of how lawyers talk to one another. I see things that many lawyers don’t . It can be challenging because I find myself assessing different aspects of their competence or experience, which they’re not used to being told. That can arise in terms of social difficulties in the criticism which I, sometimes, convey to attorneys are not at a level where I feel that they need to be in terms of social skills or otherwise.

8. Jacobsen: Have you met others with savant syndrome?

Watters: I don’t know if I have ever met others with acquired savant syndrome. But I do, however, know others who are exceptionally gifted and have difficulties in communicating.

9. Jacobsen: If you take comparisons between 1 sigma above the norm, 3 sigma above the norm, even 5 sigma above the norm, what do you notice are some differences in the way that they behave or speak?

Watters: I notice quite a bit of differences in the ability to communicate with those who have exceptional gifts. I know someone who is a local telecom company owner. She is exceptionally gifted, but slightly autistic and lacks a certain social awareness. But she is really good at making ideas happen that would be beneficial to the company.

10. Jacobsen: What do you make this phenomena of overexcitability? Those with the exceptional or profound gifts do tend to experience emotions in a similarly heightened fashion, in a similar manner in which they process information a lot more deeply, a lot more comprehensively, and faster.

Watters: I think those who have unusual gifts may correlate with a heightened mood or a heightened ability to perceive. So, they may be seeing things normal people may not see. It can magnify what their reaction is to a particular emotional event or issue. So, they end up being more reactive and more unstable in terms of the reaction to what would be normal to most people.

11. Jacobsen: If you are taking some of the historical accounts of those considered geniuses by and large, who stands out to you? Those who have died.

Watters: A typical polymath who comes out to me is Leonardo da Vinci who was not well-regarded in his time and then was well-regarded after the fact. I think the lack of ability to be accepted by society results in people who have these abilities being shunned and isolated or marginalized.

12. Jacobsen: What do you make of asynchrony? We talked about overexcitability. As you know, it is someone far ahead of their age group chronologically in terms of intellectual development while being right smack on the age for their emotional age in terms of their chronological age.

Watters: I think it is a continuing challenge. For instance, in school, I didn’t fit, in terms of the advancement or the expected range of skill level during biological age. So, I felt like I was bored in normal school. It wasn’t any use to me at the time. It is a continuing challenge in society.

You have to pick kids who are at the level and select them for a particular program or advance them beyond their biological age.

13. Jacobsen: What countries incorporate the gifts and talents of the gifted and talented into the society in a more functional, compassionate way than others?

Watters: My initial impression would be China and Japan. But that’s a guess. I don’t know their education systems, but that’s my understanding.

14. Jacobsen: When you look at some of the issues facing the world now, obviously, anyone can pick any number of them from any number of areas because there are many and more problems are known in addition to being created. What ones would you mark out as especially important for folks now?

Watters: Nationalism is a big one. The nationalist movement and the far-right movements are devastating or damaging to cohesion for society. It is a big and important issue to watch out for. What the child’s and young adult’s role is in society, those would be my top two: nationalism and young adult roles/positions in society.

15. Jacobsen: What manifestations of far-right nationalism most concern you?

Watters: I would say the move towards a nationalist or a fascist government, and the unbridled patriotism, e.g., the “Make America Great Again” movement. I am not criticizing them for patriotism. I am not. It is more like a dangerous sense of entitlement or ‘we are the best and deserve the best.’ That sort of thing. That’s what concerns me.

16. Jacobsen: What about the place of children or the young in society?

Watters: I think we are burdening children with a role that they are not responsible for, by make them responsible for things they can’t control, e.g., helicopter parenting. A manifestation of that is making children grow up before their years and not letting them be kids.

17. Jacobsen: If we take one step back to asynchrony, I want to take one step there. Do you think there is a lot greater asynchrony in boys than in girls, men than in women?

Watters: I’d say, “No,” because the distribution of high intelligence. Biologically, there may be a more significantly increase in men with these abilities, but, at the same time, women are under different pressures in society and otherwise. I would say, in terms of asynchrony, “My tentative would be about equal in terms of the sexes.”

18. Jacobsen: Which mainstream intelligence tests do you consider the most reliable?

Watters: Mainstream intelligence tests, was a good one. It was super accurate for me. It was confirmed by some professionally administered IQ tests I had done, recently.

19. Jacobsen: What about alternative tests? What ones seem, when they are aiming for the high-range areas of intelligence, to tend to bring the most accurate, realistic measurements for the individual taking them?

Watters: My opinion is the Jason Betts tests were very accurate for me. I felt like I was solving a significant percentage of the problems. Those were accurate to the point where they were like the results. So, I think those are scientifically valid.

20. Jacobsen: What other test creators impress you?

Watters: Ronald Hoeflin and Paul Cooijmans. I was extremely impressed by Paul Cooijmans’s tests. I was blown away by how hard they were and how accurate I believed they would be, but I haven’t taken any professionally. I looked at them, though.

21. Jacobsen: When it comes to some of the issues of community, if you look at the World Intelligence Network of Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis Dr. Manahel Thabet, both of them have produced repository in a way, or their staff have done this, of about 84 active societies. Many of those are defunct or paralyzed or low activity,  even though active. If you look at the Wikipedia entry to high-IQ societies, only 5 come out. In order or rarities, they go from Mensa International to Intertel to Triple Nine Society to Prometheus Society to Mega Society. So, what societies seem a safe first bet for individuals who want to take some tests, score well, and want to try to make their way in this niche community of the high-IQ?

Watters: I don’t think there are any appropriate for first-timers because they are so judgmental and not welcoming. It is a turn-off in terms of joining them. At least, I am not aware of any appropriate for first-time takers.

22. Jacobsen: What about more intermediate takers?

Watters: Jason Betts with the World Genius Directory. It is the most welcoming one that I have seen. That one was appropriate for myself and, I imagine, a lot of other people. I am not personally familiar with a lot of other societies that would want to join. Other than the Prometheus Society and Triple Nine. None of the tests that I have taken are accepted by them. So, there’s nothing I can do.

Jacobsen: I have heard good things from the Triple Nine Society.

Watters: Aside from the fact, they don’t accept tests that I’ve taken.

24. Jacobsen: [Laughing] Also, a person who tends to be considered the historical genius accepted by people who I’ve interviewed and a name that has come up the most has been Leonardo da Vinci. There are some common threads in terms of opinions and attitudinal stances about these things. Why are more men part of these communities than women?

Watters: I think men are more interested in proving themselves and being recognized by other men in particular as being high achieving. I don’t think women have as much of a strong drive in that area.

25. Jacobsen: How do you think the pressures socially on women to conform in different ways, behave in different ways, which influences how they think in different ways in contrast to the pressures on men in addition to some of the innate biological differences, manifest in the real world to you?

Watters: I think there is a class of women as smart as men with gifts and then they’re not encouraged to manifest them in any fashion. So, I think there is an equal distribution of IQ among men and women. There is not a statistically significant different correlation between men IQ and women IQ. I think women IQ is a factor of social conformity. There is not a lack of the need to prove themselves. I think it is innately more likely that men will be in these societies and not as common for women to join.

Jacobsen: Bad segue time!

Watters: [Laughing].

26. Jacobsen: [Laughing] What is religion to you?

Watters: Religion is meaningless to me. I have no organized religion. I am non-practicing at the moment.

27. Jacobsen: What is science to you?

Watters: It is everything.

Jacobsen: How so?

Watters: I am consumed with a desire for scientific truth. I want to know the answers. That’s why sciendce is inherently better for me than religion.

28. Jacobsen: What do you make of philosophy?

Watters: I think philosophy is important in some respects. I think it is less meaningful than science because it doesn’t provide answers. It is debating the questions and what they mean.

29. Jacobsen: What do you make of ethics?

Watters: I think it differs based on people and what they believe is appropriate behaviour or not. I think the law in particular is a better measure than ethics because ethics are variable.

30. Jacobsen: If you take the societies that are extant, and if you take out the commonalities, or take out the things that are not common to get the commonalities, what do you think are some universalistic ethics or morals coming from the law?

Watters: I think it is what advances your own interest while not disadvantaging anyone else, which is what the law is. Things that we don’t think are reasonable risks. We have laws against. Things that we think are reasonable risks. We have rewards for and incentives for. I think it is the Golden Rule and self-interest. I think the self-interested Golden Rule is the most optimal.

31. Jacobsen: What economic system makes the most sense to you?

Watters: I think capitalism with a safety net.

32. Jacobsen: What political philosophy makes the most sense to you?

Watters: Centrism.

33. Jacobsen: What social philosophy makes the most sense to you?

Watters: Liberal societies where people can do whatever they want as long as they are not infringing on other people’s rights.

34. Jacobsen: What do you make of leaders like Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and others similar to his cohort of – what has been termed – strongman leadership?

Watters: I am totally against strong man leadership. I think people like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have personality disorders and should not be in the positions that they’re in.

35. Jacobsen: What do you make of certain authoritarian or autocratic societies and the ways in which they are using technology to suppress their populations? Do you think in the long term the populations will win out over this or that this is simply a losing game for the population?

Watters: I think in China the Communist Party is extremely powerful and the technology is behind them; it’s hopeless for them. So, my hope is that the more Westernized societies where there is more individual freedom will come out on top in terms of the political ideology that is best rewarded moving forward.

36. Jacobsen: Do you agree with the Steven Pinkerite, and some others like the late Hans Rosling, view of things in general for the last few centuries have been getting better while having a buttress against the view when it’s not entirely pollyannaish? It is taking trendlines of improved level of wellbeing, more democracies, status of human rights, etc., for human beings in human societies.

Watters: I think across any dimension or measure, life is getting better overall. The issue is the negativity is greater overall with the internet, social media, etc., where anyone can access anyone else at any time. There is a false notion of things getting worse when they are getting better overall.

37. Jacobsen: How is the Trump Administration in general and President Trump in particular managing or handling the coronavirus pandemic?

Watters: Badly, I think there could be a lot more that could be done. They could listen to the scientists and the CDC and implementing recommendations rather than looking at what people want or don’t want.

38. Jacobsen: What do you consider the threat of Christian nationalism or Dominionism in the United States now?

Watters: I would say this is a 5 or a 6 on the threat level.

39. Jacobsen: What would you consider higher within the nation?

Watters: Political polarization, I put that as a 9.

40. Jacobsen: What would be a 10?

Watters: Armed revolution.

41. Jacobsen: [Laughing] What do you think would be some of the unrest over the longstanding ethnic tensions in the United States? What do you make of some of the reconciliatory efforts being made now?

Watters: I think the politicians in Washington have a distorted view of society and are putting forth measures that are popular and not necessarily right. This one issue where I lean towards the Trump Administration on, which is an exception. Violent protests are inexcusable and be met with restrictive force rather than kowtowing to the wishes of the mob. On the other hand, I think the legislation of the Democrats, where they’re trying to redress some of the grievances expressed in legitimate.

I think the Constitution is right in this case, where people can peaceful protest for redress of greivances. When they become violent, that’s when the law intervenes.

42. Jacobsen: Looking externally to Western Europe, what do you make of the 2020s in the future with the further unrest there as well?

Watters: Nationalism to the European Union, it is a challenge into the 2020s. They’re fragmented because there is no sense of unity, shared culture, or identity, other than being European. Being European is not in itself an identity, because they all these different countries with the different cultural groups, I think the European Union does not have as strong of a future as the United States for example.

43. Jacobsen: What do you think is the trajectory for the United States into the 2020s now?

Watters: I think large population growth – 400 million or so people in 20 years. I think there could an improvement in terms of the national unity in the U.S. when faced with a Russia or a China that is authoritarian and unstable.

44. Jacobsen: What do you think about some of the attitudes of allies of the United States at this time? Do you think if there was a much, much stronger national threat to the United States internationally that they would have a sufficient number of allies who would make national sacrifices in terms of resources and resolve for the United States in such a crisis?

Watters: I see that happening. So, I would agree with that.

45. Jacobsen: The importance of intelligence has declined over time in the United States in some ways. In that, a lot of parents used to be looking out for their kid being a genius. It was the culture of looking for excellence in that manner. What do you make of the some of the trajectory of some of the last few decades in terms of the emphasis on standardized testing, a decline in it, as well as a lessened in importance or emphasis culturally on the notion of genius in the United States?

Watters: I think a couple of factors there. It is the struggle between nation-states for parity. So, you have America and Russia, for example, with a near parity of military ability on both sides. It is not because we have lagged. It is just because the Russians have gotten better over the last 20 years. In terms of intelligence, I don’t think it is an issue of people getting dumber. I think it is an issue of people gaming a higher level of intelligence and becoming smarter.

So, there’s less specialness for the geniuses who are out there because the regular people are getting better.

46. Jacobsen: Do you think human forms of information processing and feeling, and even behaviour and moving, can be artificially reconstructed in another construct, in a non-carbon-based construct?

Watters: Yes, I think artificial intelligence will happen. For example, I think the transformers, artificially intelligence robots, will happen in the next couple decades in my opinion.

47. Jacobsen: What do you think will be the impact on human societies and the image of the human being?

Watters: I think society will be completely re-organized in some fashion. There is not a bright future ahead for biological life once the artificial intelligence is available.

48. Jacobsen: Do you welcome it or not?

Watters: I welcome a transhuman option, so those who are biologically based now, i.e., everyone, will have the option to transition to some form of future life, whether Neuralink or some augmentation. I think it will happen sometime within my lifetime.

49. Jacobsen: Any recommended books, authors, or speakers?

Watters: There’s a book called Novoscene by James Lovelock. He says the biological life and artificial intelligences will have a shared interest in the biosphere. So, it will be an alliance between AI and humans. I haven’t read it. It looks interesting. I can’t wait to check it out. James Lovelock is a great thinker. Stephen Wolfram is a great mathematician. Robin Hanson is a great columnist. These are all  thinkers who I have interacted with or read, and enjoy their views.

50. Jacobsen: What explanations of the world do you consider completely out of the question given the advancement and the onslaught of science at this time?

Watters: I’d say the place for organized religion is over. It is no longer going to be important in society. People will turn to science and answers with certainty into the future.

51. Jacobsen: Let’s take a step back to the emphasis on natural philosophical worldview, it is a scientific frame of mind looking at operational, functional truths about the world. There are people still running around going on debates, writing books, making a good living making traditional arguments for either a religious god or some kind of non-anthropomorphic amorphous god. Some of the arguments coming forward. The idea of a personal religious experience being proof or evidence of a creator or some kind of personal god. What would you consider a reasonable response to those kinds of arguments?

Watters: That is totally false and a subjective experience depending entirely on a person’s reaction in their min to something that they believe that they experience. Those are not true and never happen. That’s my view.

52. Jacobsen: What do you think of arguments for morality only possible through a god and then you have a transcendent object? Any good can only come through this transcendent object. Therefore, any good for people can come from some personally moral object.

Watters: I disagree with the view that there is a perfect object out there giving us these laws like the law giver or whatever. When you look down to it, any law or morality is inherently based on the Golden Rule and the inherent benefit to each party in the transaction. So, anything can be reduced to this level. I don’t think there is any room in science or in the future for a god endowing people with inalienable rights or anything else.

53. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the Cosmological Argument or the more popular Kalam Cosmological Argument? There was a start. Therefore, there must be a starter.

Watters: I, definitely, support the idea of there being a divine being. But I think it is an impersonal being. I think it is more likely that the universe is created through random processes and scientific reasoning has the answers and not a personal god.

54. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the Ontological Argument? This one has to do with the fact that you can conceive of a perfect being is one step. Then you have the idea that the premise or trait, attribute, of existence is something that would make a being more perfect. Therefore, if a perfect being can exist in your mind, then it’s only natural to assume that a perfect being must exist in reality because that would then, therefore, make it both a conceivable and then an actual object. Something like that.

Watters: I totally understand that. Here’s my thought on it. I can conceive of a perfect mountain or apple in my mind. They are not existing. They do not exist in the real world. By the same logic, the same thing with the perfect god in my mind does not exist in the real world. It exists in a Platonic realm, which is unreal. Nothing unreal exists.

55. Jacobsen: Going back to some of the historical questions, who outside of Leonardo da Vinci truly impresses you or who has impressed people who you respect with regards to their writing, mathematical ability, or philosophizing?

Watters: Michelangelo is a classic one. Albert Einstein, Pliny the Elder, the historical figures who are great, Nikola Tesla. They are the ones who impress me.

56. Jacobsen: Any who impress you today?

Watters Elon Musk is one. In terms of scientists, John Carmack, he’s not a scientists, but he’s programmer. But still, he is a super impressive person and really brilliant. I would qualify him as a scientist because any other society or age; he would have been a scientist rather than a computer programmer. Those are a few off the top of my head.

57. Jacobsen: Any ongoing projects now?

Watters: I have a computer project ongoing, which is a delivery platform for professional service firms and a project management tool. I am doing web application for that, which has been going very well. I am also chief legal officer at a telecom company. It is going very well. I have multiple side projects in the creative arts.

58. Jacobsen: Now, do you think the high-IQ societies are self-annihilating based on the graveyard of them?

Watters: It would be great to have someone come and take ownership of the ones who have potential and say, “Hey, you have heard from us in a while. This is the such-and-such society.”

59. Jacobsen: For those who do have a lot of gifts, but they aren’t interested in societies built around cognitive ability, they’re interested in societies. How should they channel those interests to limit the search range?

Watters: Facebook groups are good mass market solutions. I would suggest a newsletter or some self-identifying group which has a newsletter to engage people who have abilities to get them to participate. Because the days of LinkedIn being useful for professional networking or something like this are over. It is going to take someone who wants to be involved to be interested in this and then to join.

60. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Andrew.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 1, 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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