Skip to content

An Interview with Charles Peden on Background, the Societies, Genius, and Gifts (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

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


Charles Peden is a Member of the Glia Society He discusses: growing up; an extended self; the family background; experience with peers and schoolmates; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence discovered; geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; some work experiences and educational certifications; the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; some social and political views; the God concept; science; the tests taken and scores earned; the range of the scores; scores earned on alternative intelligence tests; and ethical philosophy.

Keywords: Charles Peden, experiences, genius, Glia Society, high-IQ, Paul Cooijmans.

An Interview with Charles Peden on Background, the Societies, Genius, and Gifts (Part One)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you were growing up, what were some of the prominent family stories being told over time?

Charles Peden: The most memorable anecdote for me was about the town my grandmother was born and raised in called Omemee, North Dakota. That town no longer exists.

2. Jacobsen: Have these stores helped provide a sense of an extended self or a sense of the family legacy?

Peden: I think the idea of losing one’s entire home town sticks with me because nostalgia plays such a big role in my life. My grandmother is now gone and with her was a legacy of an entire town and a different period of time. So I do feel a sense of identity that stretches back into the fog of the past and I carry forth a family legacy that stretches into the fog of the future.

3. Jacobsen: What was the family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

Peden: I was born in the geographical center of North America: Rugby, North Dakota. I grew up in a family that speaks contemporary English (as opposed to the proto-English which is still spoken in the United Kingdom). My mother’s family is Christian and of various European descendancy. I was raised very religious and Catholic, but alone became atheist at 18. I then thought it was obvious that religion was mythological, but was surprised to discover how frighteningly adamant people were about believing in it. I still find that a bit puzzling.

My biological father was of Swedish descent and he grew up speaking Swedish and English. I knew virtually nothing about him until I first met him when I was 26. He is also an atheist. He played no role in my upbringing. If I understand correctly, Sweden seems to be the most atheistic country in the world. This alludes to the possibility of religiosity (or something about it) being inherited.

I apologize in advance if my comments lead to war with the speakers of proto-English. I would hate to discover that people fought and died in order to insist on an unnecessary ‘u’ in the word ‘colour’.

4. Jacobsen: How were the experiences with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

Peden: In kindergarten, I would occasionally be beaten up by my neighbourhood friends after school. Going home from school was scary. They weren’t trying to kill me, but at the time it made no sense. I dealt with it by becoming a sort of class clown. This worked until 7th grade when some girls would pick on me and make fun of me. I didn’t understand why they were doing that. So my experience with school was bad. I dropped out at 16, gave it another attempt, then dropped out for the second and last time in the 11th grade.

As a side note–My high school experience is in stark contrast to Rick Rosner’s.

I had two predominant friends in my school years. Both were musicians and played guitar. I am not a musician.

5. Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you?

Peden: Intelligence tests are our crude way of measuring differences in intelligence. I think of them as evolutionarily similar to the level of campfires on the way to developing laser beams. They are important because of the significant potential of intelligence.

6. Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Peden: I’ve always felt above average, but not significantly so. There were two kids about my age on the street that I grew up on who went on to become engineers. They seemed smarter than me (and likely are). There was a kid who lived across the street from me who grew up to become a nuclear physicist. Another kid whose family was friends with my family that grew up and became a brain surgeon. But high intelligence wasn’t discovered until taking high-range I.Q. tests from Paul Cooijmans.

7. Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Peden: I think the problem is with society’s expectations of the intelligent. We expect highly intelligent people to be like Isaac Newton. When it is discovered that highly intelligent people do something like collect streetcar transfer tickets, there is a certain amount of resentment. It’s like seeing someone squander millions of dollars which they inherited.

It’s difficult to understand that abilities of intelligence come packaged within a visceral matrix which might be quite different from our own. So things which are satisfying and rewarding to those with higher intelligence may seem significantly unfamiliar to the experiences of others. In other words, intelligent people can seem alien.

8. Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Peden: From my easiest accessible memory, some of the greatest geniuses in history would include Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Alan Turing. Those are people I consider archetypical geniuses. There are many more, of course.

9. Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Peden: To me, a genius is someone whose high intelligence is leveraged by their high industriousness. A profoundly intelligent person is not necessarily a genius without a high level of industriousness. However, a profoundly intelligent person may have the potential to become a genius in sufficiently motivational circumstances.

Although I have achieved a high enough score to qualify for the Glia Society, I do not have a high level of industriousness and don’t consider myself a genius.

10. Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and educational certifications for you?

Peden: I once estimated that I have had over 100 jobs. I’ve lost count since then as that was many jobs ago. I’ve done mostly blue collar, sales, and entry-level work. I once also owned a pet shampoo manufacturing business with my ex-wife.

Although I dropped out of high school, I did go on to get my G.E.D. I also discovered that I loved college, until I went to nursing school. I’ve dropped out of nursing school twice. Nursing is not really a science nor an art. The medical field in general synthesizes science, techniques, and ineffable experience to ply its trade. I found nursing school to be a bit of a paradigm shock similar to what I experienced when going from algebra to calculus.

11. Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

Peden: I had a very distorted expectation of intelligence. I thought intelligent people easily did the most intelligent things for a living. It turns out that intelligent people have to deal with visceral motivations just like everyone else. The truth is that even intelligent people can still fail at things and success takes longer than you expect even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

12. Jacobsen: What are some social and political views for you? Why hold them?

Peden: Here are some fun ones:

I think corporations should be slaves to humans, not its masters. Why hold that view? Because corporations came into existence within the successful product of a human ethical framework. The motivation of corporations is simply profits and that is monstrously insufficient guidance for the future of intelligent beings. That’s like putting the animals in charge of the zookeepers.

Additionally, I think that if women do not have a right to have an abortion, then they must be considered maternal slaves in servitude of the fetus. If they DO have the right to an abortion, then women have autonomous accountability and cannot seek compensation for something of which they alone are ultimately responsible.

Of course, society’s solution is to be inconsistent in a way as is convenient for women and which reduces women’s accountability. I disagree with the current state of women’s rights and I would prefer consistency, be it maternal slavery (with rights of compensation) or autonomous accountability (with no rights of compensation).

13. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion?

Peden: I think religiosity seems to be mostly genetic. I no more understand why I am an atheist than I understand why I am a heterosexual.

14. Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Peden: Science is too vast, convoluted, and polluted for any single human to understand. I am forced to largely rely on the credibility of others as are we all.

15. Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Peden: I don’t have the exact information available, but my highest score was on Paul Cooijmans’s Cartoons Of Shock. I think my lowest score was on Paul Cooijmans’s A Paranoiac’s Torture (estimated scores and standard deviations provided in the next question). My memory is not that great. I do remember that I found the COLT – Two-barrelled version and The Alchemist Test to be my favourites although they were neither my highest nor lowest scores.

16. Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Peden: For Paul Cooijmans’s tests I have scored a range from about 127 to a high of 151 with a standard deviation of 15. For tests from other sources, I have scored around the 130s and 140s.

I realize there is a sort of cluster pattern which can be derived from test scores, but I don’t think that is the best way of viewing I.Q. test results.

Imagine someone is an enemy. It’s not their ‘typical’ sticks and stones that one should be most concerned about. It’s their nuclear capability that should be of primary interest.

17. Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Peden: I think the Christian Golden Rule of “treat others as you wish to be treated” is the most sensible. This seems to me to be like Kant’s categorical imperative, but much easier to remember.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Glia Society.

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


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.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: