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An Interview with Arturo Escorza Pedraza on Community, Discipline, High-IQ, and Societies (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/07/22


Arturo Escorza Pedraza scored 154 (S.D.15) on WIT and is a member of the World Genius Directory. He is an MSPE member of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry. He discusses: community; high-IQ societies; the International Society for Philosophical Inquiry; Mensa International; the World Genius Directory; Paul Cooijmans; Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis; how the gifted can find community; the strengths of the high-IQ communities; the positives and the negatives of a high-IQ society; IQ score; the purposes of high-IQ societies in the early 21st century; ignorance and herd mentality; alternative intelligence tests; alternative intelligence tests that seem the most rigorous at the highest ranges – 4 to 6 sigma; independent test makers; Paul Cooijmans’s tests and Jason Betts’s tests; ways in which the gifted and talented can socialize and find others with similar gifts and interests other than high-IQ societies; good signs of an extraordinarily intelligent mind; how are the gifted and talented treated in Mexican and American societies; the ‘fittest’; North America; Canada; nations’ foundational crimes; left-right battle in the States; things missing in some of the high-IQ societies; how to fill the gaps of what is missing; higher intelligence; deity; some of the most talented people; Cooijmans and Katsioulis; Pletcher, Close, and Hanon; a) humility and b) building character & discipline; non-tangible skills; a positive correlation, not a causation-relationship, between higher intelligence and atheism & liberalism.

Keywords: Arturo Escorza Pedraza, community, discipline, high-IQ, societies.

An Interview with Arturo Escorza Pedraza on Community, Discipline, High-IQ, and Societies (Part Two)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s talk about community. What defines a community?

Arturo Escorza Pedraza: It’s defined by belonging to the same social group, with the same interests or the same problems.

2. Jacobsen: What high-IQ societies seem the most reliable to you?

Pedraza: International Society for Philosophical Inquiry, Mensa, the societies of the World Intelligence Network (WIN) of Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis, especially those that accept people in a higher percentile, World Genius Directory, and the societies of Paul Cooijmans seem to me most reliable.

3. Jacobsen: What stands out about the International Society for Philosophical Inquiry?

Pedraza: It’s the 99.9% oldest society in the world, founded in 1974 and the third-highest IQ, after Mensa and Intertel, and my personal favorite, the one I recommend the most among which I’m a member because it has many aspects that make it different from others.

It offers the opportunity to advance and to become officers and serve in executive or leadership positions where they can benefit ISPE while enriching our own experiences.

There are 8 ranks in ISPE: The first is the one that is acquired when admitted to society, there are 6 more that are accessible through the system of incentives and rewards, which promotes participation in the society, as well as personal achievements, which are also taken into account to advance in rank.

The last rank is designated by ISPE based on someone’s personal achievements and the contributions to ISPE and is voted among all those with the right to vote. This is a democratic society in which we also vote in internal elections.

Also, It promotes the health and longevity of its members.

Another of the most notable aspects of society is the Telicom magazine for members, in which any member can send material to publish, and a professional team of editing and proofreading will make it a reality.

I myself have had the opportunity to publish on several occasions some of my fiction stories, and 3D art that I create (in fact it gave me the opportunity to design the cover of the April-June 2020 volume). If you publish in Telicom, you can have a courtesy printed copy sent to your house, the quality is great and it’s my favorite magazine.

The society has a Ning group as well as a Facebook one for members. I’ve never had to read ad hominem attacks, the participants are highly civilized people from many different corners of the world and from religious and political beliefs.

4. Jacobsen: What stands out about Mensa International?

Pedraza: It is the oldest high IQ society in the world and although its cut-off is lower than that of ISPE, it is the most famous, because some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century were counted among its members, such as Isaac Asimov, and Buckminster Fuller.

5. Jacobsen: What stands out about the World Genius Directory?

Pedraza: Dr. Jason Betts tries to keep WGD free of cheaters, scrupulously verifying the identity of those who want to belong to the directory, and he’s actively participating.

Another thing I like is the Genius of the Year award: Everyone in the directory can vote for anyone whose achievements and efforts promoting global genius deserve to be the winner. The winner is sent the trophy by mail to their country. Every year there are three awards: Genius of the Year America, Asia, and Europe.

It’s the most important yearly award given among high IQ societies, and that other societies have emulated. Many winners have attracted the spotlight and the attention of international media and that has been a turning point in their lives.

6. Jacobsen: What stands out about the societies of Paul Cooijmans, e.g., the Giga Society, the Glia Society, etc.?

Pedraza: Mr. Paul Cooijmans is a legend among IQ societies. His IQ tests are also legendary, creative, difficult. The quality of his norms is that of a very high standard.

7. Jacobsen: What stands out about the societies of Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis, etc.?

Pedraza: Among the people that I admire the most is Dr. Katsioulis. Such a brilliant mind, of a polymath, that it only happens once in many generations. A magnificent mind that honors his ancestors, the Greek philosophers.

Dr. Katsioulis has made access to IQ societies accessible to many people around the world through online tests, with standards from renowned authors, as well as the well-known standardized test scores.

8. Jacobsen: How can the gifted find community in high-IQ societies?

Pedraza: People who “populate” high-intellect societies are omnigenous, of all types, and with very varied tastes. Science, art, history, religion, hobbies. Many of these societies have specific interest groups.

9. Jacobsen: Do you think this speaks to one of the strengths high-IQ communities in their variety? So, there’s something for many different types of people.

Pedraza: Yes and no, because variety can exist without anything relevant in itself. But at the level of these societies that variety is of another level. I have always liked the phrase: “If you are the smartest in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”

10. Jacobsen: What are the positives and the negatives of a high-IQ society?

Pedraza: There are always two types of people, both in high-intellect societies and elsewhere: humble, kind, respectful people, from whom much can be learned, and presumptuous, narcissistic, aggressive people, from whom one can also learn a lot, but in a different way. In my case, I hate confrontations and bullies.

The positive thing for me is that it has helped my self-esteem, by finding people similar to me, with the same values, respectful of the others’ ideas, who don’t seek to be right by force of screaming ad hominem attacks.

I have managed to express my ideas and publish part of what I write.

The negative, which of course does not overshadow all the positive, has been seeing how many people believe that their arguments are valid only based on the IQ score they have.

11. Jacobsen: Why do they resort to shouting down by the boom box of their IQ score?

Pedraza: A high IQ is not a guarantee of logical thinking. There are many people who make extensive use of logical fallacies to argue.

12. Jacobsen: What seem like the purposes of high-IQ societies in the early 21st century?

Pedraza: This era in which we live, where all the knowledge of humanity is available to anyone with an internet connection, even in the palm of their hand, seems to me more obscurantist than the Middle Ages themselves.

People no longer believe in the truth but on the basis of who says it, regardless of whether their arguments are valid or not, in the same way as one who doesn’t question a holy book as a dogma of faith.

The inquisition still exists, except that before there were some monks in a dark monastery judging you and now there are millions of people who will make your life impossible if your opinion is different from theirs.

In a large number of Western countries, anti-intellectualism is at its peak, and the dumbing down of societies is advancing by leaps and bounds, the belief in pseudo-sciences, in conspiracy theories (and, for example, the reaction of many people around the world before the COVID is a good example).

Ignorance is not harmless, it’s expensive and dangerous. In my country, medical workers, have been lynched and ambulances and hospitals have been destroyed because someone reads on Facebook that the health system was the one infecting people with COVID to steal the synovial fluid from their knees to sell it.

It’s there that high IQ societies should be useful as leaders of opinion, to help stop that process towards obscurantism.

We should be able to inspire others, to think, to create, to doubt every piece of information that falls into our hands, not to think without acting, and fight for freedom of expression.

I dream of the day when countries are governed by philosophers, by people with values and many neurons.

Although, of course, many great intellects in societies prefer mind games and tests only.

13. Jacobsen: Canadian writer Margaret Atwood said, “Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.” Does this encapsulate much of the current context and the aforementioned sentiment?

Pedraza: So it seems to me. I fear ignorance and herd mentality more than many other things.

14. Jacobsen: What seem like decent alternative intelligence tests for individuals to take now?

Pedraza: I really like the tests by Paul Cooijmans, Jason Betts, and Ronald K. Hoeflin (although all the answers have been disclosed online from the latter’s tests, so that would be the only problem).

15. Jacobsen: Any particular alternative intelligence tests that seem the most rigorous at the highest ranges – 4 to 6 sigma?

Pedraza: Ronald Hoeflin’s Mega, and Titan tests, Paul Cooijman’s Isis, and Nemesis tests. Jason Betts’ Asterix, Mathema, and Zen tests.

16. Jacobsen: What independent test makers seem more serious than others?

Pedraza: Paul Cooijmans, and Jason Betts, for me. I am not saying that there are not others just as serious and scrupulous, it’s just that I have not tried tests of all the creators.

17. Jacobsen: What stand out about Paul Cooijmans’s tests? What stand out about Jason Betts’s tests?

Pedraza: I like them because they are not your typical Sunday newspaper test. They put your crystallized intelligence to work.

18. Jacobsen: Are there other ways in which the gifted and talented can socialize and find others with similar gifts and interests other than high-IQ societies?

Pedraza: For people with good social skills, there is, of course, the street, and their workplace. At many times in my life I have met people who are fantastically smart, but have never taken an IQ test, and don’t even know they exist, but, as I like to say: There are two things that you can’t hide: Cough (especially in this COVID-era), and intelligence.

19. Jacobsen: That’s funny. What are some good signs of an extraordinarily intelligent mind in an ordinary context? They’re brilliant and – literally – only somewhat realize it., because no outside or external source, legitimate referent, validated the hunch.

Pedraza: I can recognize special people when listening to them speak, based on their way of expressing themselves, their tastes, the subjects they master, the way they make things easier for others that would be difficult or impossible.

20. Jacobsen: Now, to Mexico and America, as you have noted some differences, and with a thoughtful admixture of opinions grounded in some historical references, how are the gifted and talented treated in Mexican and American societies?

Pedraza: I have never had the pleasure of living in the United States, but the impression it makes from afar is that intelligence continues to be appreciated in the United States and there are many opportunities for highly intelligent people there. The United States has known how to attract talent from anywhere in the world and that is what keeps it as a world power.

In my country, the situation is sad, because there is a tremendous brain drain. At this time, only criminals and politicians have guaranteed a decent standard of living.

A smart person needs to emigrate so that his talent is valued. There are many cases of underrated Mexican talents in Mexico – opera singers, scientists, inventors, for example – who had to leave behind everything they had to start from scratch. Other countries that welcomed them now benefit from their talent, while Mexico insists on living under the law of the fittest and saying that nothing wrong happens.

21. Jacobsen: By “fittest,” do you mean the ‘fittest,’ i.e., the aforementioned “criminals and politicians”?

Pedraza: It’s correct. The most aggressive or the most corrupt. In Mexico there are two phrases that speak a lot about the country and that are repeated to the point of exhaustion by all kinds of people: “He who doesn’t scam doesn’t progress”, “life is worth nothing”. And that’s how in the last year and a half we’ve had 54 000 killed people because of the violence, not only because of drug trafficking but also because of next door criminals everywhere, plus more than 40 000 people died because of COVID.

22. Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, how might North America become a renewed and better attractant for a) the world’s talent and b) the world’s intellectual industriousness? No doubt, a declining stature and with many flaws, though, many noble aims, causes, and values inhered in the countries.

Pedraza: North America is a continent blessed with everything: Resources, thousands of miles of coastline to trade with the whole world, and above all, it seems to me that there are opportunities for everyone.

The United States and Canada have economic and social stability, based on the rule of law and will continue to attract magnificent talents to their lands (I’d love to live in Canada!), of that I am sure. A phenomenon like that of Elon Musk revolutionizing astronautics and automobiles would be impossible to see in my country or in most countries.

23. Jacobsen: You’re welcome any time. Canada is capacious. Anyone stand out from Canadian high technology or industry?

Pedraza: Thank you! I’m more an artist than anything else.

24. Jacobsen: Do you think nations’ foundational crimes should be answered (for)? If so, how? If not, why not?

Pedraza: As I love to study history, I know that the past cannot be judged on the basis of current morality, which is precisely an evolution that took millennia.

What does seem unacceptable to me is wanting to live the present based on the morality of past centuries.

Yes, they must be answered for. But not symbolically, but in the most practical way possible, avoiding the same mistakes and abuses and creating the conditions to avoid their recurrence.

For example: in Mexico, there was an abuse of ethnic minorities, genocide, centuries ago. The way to respond for this would be to improve the current living conditions of these minorities, instead of building monuments to the deceased indigenous people and asking for forgiveness from those monuments while depriving any living descendants of any human rights.

The same would apply to other countries. It’s useless to change the words, to ban flags, to knock down monuments, without changing the way of thinking of past centuries.

25. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on this (as relevant to the last question’s comments) left-right battle in the States?

Pedraza: History has shown us that unity is strength. The United States is a great country, which should not be divided by ideologies that harm either side. Ideologies that focus on symbols, rather than people. I am a supporter of the just mean.

26. Jacobsen: What do you think is missing in some of the high-IQ societies?

Pedraza: More practical application in the real world.

27. Jacobsen: Any idea as to how this can be done?

Pedraza: The problems that plague the world should be more important than IQ test problems.

Something that would help a lot to make the subject more visible to the world, would be to come out of the dark. Many exceptionally gifted people are afraid to show themselves to the world; many of them could inspire other people to exploit their own talents for their own benefit and that of others.

I like to talk about the parable of the chickens and the eagle.

For some reason, an eagle was born in a chicken yard, and its life was to cluck with them and eat the corn they were given, enduring the daily pecks for being different, until one day it saw another eagle flying, and then understood that it was different and that it could fly high away from that chicken yard.

The example inspires much more than anything else.

28. Jacobsen: Why does higher intelligence tend to correlate positively with liberal leanings and atheism in some preliminary studies in psychology?

Pedraza: A reasonable man (or woman) loves freedom and hates tyranny, and he does not need or want someone to dictate everything in his life.

As the political spectrum approaches extremes, freedoms are reduced, in pursuit of ideologies and symbols, it’s no longer about people.

Likewise, most institutionalized religions prohibit, stigmatize, regulate people’s lives, decide who can enter a temple and who cannot, who deserves heaven and who does not, to whom you can give your heart and to whom you shouldn’t, who is an equal and who does not even deserve to be spoken to, analogously to what a tyrant would command.

Religions sell a hypothetical Creator of the Universe with the same whims and vices as human beings: love, jealousy, anger, revenge.

The last thing that humanity needs are division, confrontation, superstitions, imaginary friends, beliefs without evidence.

Coincidentally, it’s my perception that in the societies of which I am a member I have noticed a large number of people more liberal than on the other side of the political spectrum, although I have also noticed a large number of believers, not only in established and traditional religions but that many of these people perceive a personal deity outside of those religions, based on their own experience.

29. Jacobsen: How do they conceive of this deity?

Pedraza: To some, the path of science does not seem to contradict the existence of a God, but rather brings them closer to that God; for others, he is a God who does not demand sacrifices, nor is he spiteful, but has created everything for the joy and happiness of his highest creations, humans; it does not correspond to the cultural characteristics of any existing god.

30. Jacobsen: Who are some of the most talented people know to you? Why them?

Pedraza: I am fascinated and grateful to be able to draw on the experiences of Mark Siegmund, Anja Jaenicke, Arthur Pletcher, Edward R. Close because, in addition to being exceptionally intelligent and talented people, they have a very big heart. A person who deserves a very special mention is Dr. Angelica Ines Partida Hanon, Mexican, she had to emigrate to Spain where she is a successful scientist with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biomedicine. I consider that she is one of the biggest losses for Mexico ever.

Other people I would like to have contact with are Paul Cooijmans and Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis.

31. Jacobsen: Why Cooijmans and Katsioulis? May I be connected to Pletcher, Close, and Hanon through you, please?

Pedraza: Mr. Cooijmans is a genius and eccentric, he’s also a musician like me, and his music awakens in me other sensations that the music that I usually listen to does not achieve. Dr. Katsioulis is an oncologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, neurologist, nephrologist, philosopher, mathematician, screenplay writer, physicist. The man is out of this world!

I have contact with Mr. Pletcher, and Dr. Edward R. Close (recipient of “The Whiting Memorial Award 2016” together with Dr. Vernon Neppe, by the International Society for Philosophical Inquiry.).

Unfortunately, I have not had contact with Dr. Partida Hanon for many years, but I know her website:

32. Jacobsen: To the young, what are some important pieces of advice about a) humility and b) building character & discipline?

Pedraza: On humility, it would be worth looking at the 1990 picture “a Pale Blue Dot” or some graph showing the planetary and stellar scale.

We are nothing, we have no more value than what we give ourselves, nothing intrinsic. We are dust, not stardust, just common dust, nothing more.

Also, there is always someone smarter, or richer, or more attractive, or nicer or more talented.

It makes life a lot easier knowing that material things are to make life more enjoyable and not to live suffering for not having them.

On character and discipline: There are many things that hinder the passage through this life; by tempering character and disciplining yourself there is more opportunity to overcome these difficulties, because, as I said before, I resist the idea that this life has to be of penance, of working for someone else or of suffering dreaming of a reward in another hypothetical life.

33. Jacobsen: What are non-tangible skills needing building more among the gifted and talented young than others because of the ease of some facets of life for them?

Pedraza: Many people in the high-intellect community suffer from impostor syndrome and its various manifestations.

I believed for many years that if something was difficult for me, then I was a fool and it was better to give up. Over the years, I learned to stop hearing external voices, making me doubt myself. I believed for many years that the things I obtained were by some chance of fate because I wasn’t that good as to have obtained them by myself.

I also learned that no matter how smart you are, if you don’t spend time training your talents, you will be like a Bugatti Veyron, but without gas and locked in a garage.

34. Jacobsen: Other than a positive correlation, not a causation-relationship, between higher intelligence and atheism & liberalism. What other personality traits, beliefs, even prejudices or lack thereof, seem to correlate positively (or negatively, or not at all) with high general intelligence?

Pedraza: I have noticed that there is a correlation between IQ and the number of diverse talents that a person has. The most modest intellects are usually monothematic or specialists in a single subject. The most exceptional intellects are usually polymaths. I know several people, members of the societies to which I belong, who have talents at different ends: Painters who publish scientific papers, musicians who play Marin Marais, Vivaldi, Metallica, but also teach physics at a University. Einstein himself played the violin and Leonardo da Vinci invented a musical instrument called the “viola organista”.

I also see in many of the higher intellects the capacity for self-learning, and unfortunately, as a feature of many of them, the impostor syndrome.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020:


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