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Conversation with Hakan E. Kayioglu on Family, Background, Philosophy, Genius, and Ethics: Member, Glia Society (1)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/10/15


Hakan E. Kayioglu is a Member of the Glia Society. He discusses: growing up; stories helped provide a sense of an extended self; the family background; the experience with peers and schoolmates; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence; geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; some work experiences and educational certifications; some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; some social and political views; the God concept or gods idea; science; me of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; and ethical philosophy.

Keywords: genius, Hakan E. Kayioglu, intelligence, IQ, Istanbul, Turkey.

Conversation with Hakan E. Kayioglu on Family, Background, Philosophy, Genius, and Ethics: Member, Glia Society (1)

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

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

Hakan E. Kayioglu: No prominent family stories were told except that my paternal grandfather was a very intelligent and learned man who had been amongst the best 3 students in the university he attended in Istanbul early 20th century. I learned that my father also was the first ranking student in his local high school graduating with a record level cumulative GPA. He said he had graduated as the fourth best student at the university.

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

Kayioglu: Probably yes in youth but not much in my later years in adulthood. I think family stories might have put some burden, a certain sense of obligation on my subconscious to be successful and achieve better than most at least in school.

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

Kayioglu: My parents were born in a village close to a historical town, Söğüt, of Bilecik province in Turkey. I learned from my father that our paternal ancestors, at least seven generations back before my father, were all born and grown in the same village as well as my mother’s paternal ancestors. Söğüt is one of the first towns where the Ottomans started to evolve in the 13th century. It is about 300 km south east of Istanbul. I was born in 1964 in a city in the northern part of Turkey but most of my childhood, but most of my childhood, teenage and university years were spent in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. We also had been to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for a couple of years during my high school education. My native language is Turkish.

Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

Kayioglu: Quite well. I had no problems interacting with my peers and schoolmates throughout my education and in social life. I was probably a bit selective of close friends based on common interests, mutual understanding and accord. For intellectual pursuits I was mostly alone and on my own, doing my reading in diverse fields, constantly acquiring encyclopedic knowledge. So, I had to confine myself to sharing and enjoying with my friends only social life normally as a 14 year old boy couldn’t find ways to discuss higher level topics for lack of intellectual peers. I usually had to satisfy that need by discussing with older people in school, in the circle of acquaintances of my family and sometimes with teachers.

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

Kayioglu: Intelligence tests give a reasonably accurate measure of one’s intellectual capacity in a comparative scale. To me, it is also a dopamine shower and a sort of ecstasy when I solve a difficult problem; a short term nervous breakdown when I fail to find the solution. The most attractive feature and benefit of especially a good high-range intelligence test is that it teaches one to think on one’s own thinking, and I believe it improves the “quality of thinking” by raising one’s awareness on one’s own logical fallacies, forcing to use one’s mind in extreme diligence, precision, to check every divergent possibility available to his mind. In the end, one either finds the solution or not, but the very process of deep, layered and detailed thinking is itself rewarding on its own even in case of failure simply because it then teaches at least how not to think.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Kayioglu: I was formally tested when I started elementary school a couple of months before age seven. In Turkey, especially in those years I.Q. testing was not popular. It is known but not popular even now. But, years later I learned that somehow the educational management system had started a pilot study to identify intellectually gifted children in the area I lived in (Ankara), and upon my teacher’s noticing some intellectual brilliance about me and contacting the local authority I had the chance to be tested by a professional psychologist. I remember being tested by an old lady, asking me questions and recording my answers, sometimes also tape-recording my voice. I don’t know which test it was but my father told the true story to me years later on an occasion of discussing intelligence at home when I was 16 years old. He said: “Son, they told me you were found to be intellectually as capable as a 12-year-old. They recommended you be skipped at least one grade in elementary school but I didn’t accept that for fear of bullying and developmental issues that may arise.”

My parents also told me that I showed some signs of superior intelligence very early as I was able to speak in full sentences when I just turned my first year. I also invented some novel words at age 2 for objects whose names I didn’t know but needed to refer to. Those words were obtained in accordance with the derivation rules of Turkish but were not in colloquial use. I still remember two of them: tutamak (door handle) derived from “tut”, meaning “to hold” in Turkish, and “bağlaç” (belt) from “bağla” meaning “to fasten”.

I learned the alphabet at 4 and could read and write the names of family members. This happened soon after I was exposed to toys consisting of the letters of the alphabet. I remember a dialogue between my parents, wherein my father expressed his fear that I seemed to learn how to read and write soon if he didn’t hide the letters and thus he wouldn’t want to let me be able to read before the normal school age for fear of problems with my peers.

As a peculiarity and maybe a sign of cognitive precocity, I also have vivid early memories before age 2 dating back to when I was 16 months old although mainstream psychology does not credit.

Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of the past 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.

Kayioglu: Well, I think extreme reactions to geniuses may stem partly, or in combination, from socio-cultural conditioning, jealousy, ignorance, misinterpretation, a need for psychological compensation for one’s low self esteem.

Jacobsen: Who seems like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Kayioglu: The guy who invented the wheel, Euclid, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Newton, Euler, Gödel, Albert Einstein, and Ramanujan.

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

Kayioglu: A profoundly intelligent person, if not already a genius, is no more than being profoundly intelligent. Genius, to me and most others, requires the presence and manifestation of extraordinary level of inventiveness and/or creativity in any field that involves it. Some typical personality traits are also said to co-exist with genius, but maybe the most common trait is conscientiousness. So, genius can be said to be a unique and optimal combination of high enough intelligence (not necessarily profoundly), conscientiousness and creativity. On the ground, it seems to me, lies ample curiosity and a very strong need to understand as a driving force.

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

Kayioglu: I graduated from Middle East Technical University’s Chemical Engineering Department with a B.Sc. degree.

Soon after graduation I enrolled in the graduate school for a M.Sc. with an intention to obtain a PhD afterwards and pursue an academic life. But I decided to drop out before completing the first semester simply because I felt offended and discouraged when I was told during the interview by the department head that I would not be employed as a research assistant although I had the highest score at the exam. Reasons put forward were not related to my ability or academic standing but to my prospective attitude. The department head, based on her past observations about me, was just not sure enough if I would remain stable and consistently motivated in a long-term and demanding academic job.

As I had never thought of myself as someone to work in a factory environment throughout my education I didn’t want to hunt for an engineering job in a factory because I felt as a research oriented type of fellow. I didn’t want to go to other universities around for a similar position and degree either. So, I remained idle and unemployed for a couple of months. Then I applied for a vacant position as a translator in a government office. After the assessment formalities I was employed as an official translator. Though successful and happy with my job and work environment, it was a radically different career path which I soon discovered would probably not continue for long.

In the meanwhile I was informed by a friend that some government agencies and companies were granting scholarship to eligible candidates in many fields for higher education abroad – mostly in Europe, the United States of America and Canada – to be employed in various positions, including research engineering, upon return to Turkey after earning M.Sc and/or Ph.D. That was it! I was interested in and applied for a research engineering position offered to chemical engineering graduates who were to obtain a M.Sc. degree in petroleum engineering in the U.S.A. First I had to pass a hard exam held once a year nationwide to be an eligible candidate. I took the exam and got the highest score among some 250 applicants that year.

I was accepted by several universities after meeting requirements for the GRE and TOEFL during my stay with a host family in California in 1988, and I chose the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. I spent one year by taking both undergraduate and graduate courses in petroleum engineering at Tulsa. Next year I decided to change my school and enrolled in Colorado School of Mines. I moved to Golden, Colorado. But, towards the end of my first semester there, it was too disappointing to have realized, just by chance from reading an announcement on the board, that I would not be able to complete my M.Sc. on the subject I was asked to study by the company, because that subject was only possible to study within the scope of a postdoctoral fellowship offered by another university! Surprised and upset, I discussed the situation with the authorities in the sponsoring company to resolve the issue proposing them also some practical alternatives like changing the subject of thesis or going for a professional engineering degree instead of a M.Sc., but they didn’t accept and could not propose a reasonable solution to satisfy both parties.

Truly frustrated and discouraged, the only way out from the deadlock, it seemed to me then, was to leave everything behind and return to my country to start a new life. For I felt I lost my stamina and was cross with my luck. So I dropped the graduate school, returned home and did nothing for a year until I felt good enough and recovered from depression.

Having completed the mandatory military service, I found a job to work as a chemical engineer in the research department of a factory producing refractory bricks and mortars. Later, I also specialised in quality control and management systems and ensured the entire factory implemented the QM systems and got certified in accordance with international standards. I also became one of the IRCA (International Register of Certified Auditors) certified provisional auditors for quality systems. Aside from managing the quality system in the factory, I also established a small laboratory for on-site internal calibration of measuring devices in use in the factory; giving personally, or arranging necessary training required to all employees from top management to workers.

Later I was also involved as a manager in the installation and development of a new production unit in the factory to manufacture sliding-gate refractory plates that are sold and used in the iron and steel industry. I worked in the refractory company for 7 years.

In November 1998 I moved to Eskisehir, the city I have been living since then, in order to run my own business by starting up a small company to provide calibration and quality systems consulting services with a partner. Because of some financial adversities unfortunately we had to close the company in 2000.

Between March 2000 and January 2020 I worked in a glass tableware production factory that belongs to a large corporation in the glassware industry in the position of Quality Control Chief until 2014, and Quality Manager in 2014 – 2020. Over the years I specialised in quality control and management systems based on international standards such as quality management (ISO 9001), environmental management (ISO 14001), food safety (ISO 22000), information security management (ISO 27001), social compliance management systems (e.g BSCI), and also became partly involved in energy management (ISO 50001) and occupational health and safety management (ISO 45001). Apart from managerial tasks I was involved in, I also contributed to various technical works and researches on product design and development, test development and improvement, quality improvement, organizational development, digital transformation projects, development of automated systems for visual quality, 6 sigma projects etc.

I hold a couple dozen certificates in topics of quality management systems, auditing/assessing, quality improvement techniques as well as managerial skills.

As of January 2020, having fulfilled official requirements, I asked for my resignation and I am now a retired person with some free time and for the first time in 30 years, but only to turn my two decade hobby into a small business: teaching and working as a practicing astrologer on birth time rectification.

Currently I am enjoying free time while at the same time writing a book on the subject and doing some preparations for a different business life.

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?

Kayioglu: I have been into books and articles on intelligence, creativity and genius since my teenage years as a topic of interest. I was keenly interested in the topic especially in my young age that I even had chosen to write on the topic of identification and education of the gifted and submitted a term paper of some 50 pages when I took the expository writing course in English in my freshman year at the university. It was only in order to call attention to the subject. Because I was aware by that time that many, if not most, of the intellectually gifted children and young people were lost and wasted due to many different reasons.

That being said, I believe this is the biggest waste among all sorts of wastes. Imagine for a moment that just because we wasted for this or that reason all geniuses such that humanity didn’t ever have Euclid, Archimedes, Al Khwarazmi, Avicenna, Galileo, Gauss, Euler, Newton, Einstein, Madam Curie, Schrödinger, Tesla, Shakespeare, Mozart, Bach, Da Vinci, Goethe and all other geniuses not mentioned herein; what could be our civilization like? We owe most of our civilization today and in the past to gifted and creative people, the big share always going to geniuses. Period.

The myths surrounding the geniuses usually stem from hearsay, movies, media which often emphasize and portray their eccentricity and savant-like peculiarities presented sometimes in an exaggerated way, so that most of the more important personality traits such as insatiable curiosity, truth seeking, dedication to work, diligence, perfectionism, very high and sustained concentration, determination, obsessiveness etc. are not given due consideration thus leading to a distorted view about genius. A good percentage of ordinary people think that genius comes hand in hand with madness. It is true some of them were also mad but most were certainly less than that. They were actually mad only about their work.

Another false idea, if not a myth, is to assume a genius is always a profoundly intelligent person. This is hardly true. A person having extreme intelligence but lacking genius traits like high level of creativity, diligence, persistence or conscientiousness is not supposed to create products at genius level. For instance, we have many such extremely intelligent individuals in today’s super high I.Q. societies who do not come up with compatibly creative output. There are examples from history also. John Von Neumann for instance had extreme cognitive power that was said by his contemporaries to be unmatched, yet he was not equally creative. By all intellectual standards, it appears, he was sure a genius as far as raw intelligence and cognitive ability is concerned, but not a true genius in terms of the real meaning of the term.

Therefore, it seems, one must have the optimal combination and amount of the required traits to be a genius. If the personality traits are accompanied by an extreme intelligence, that person may even be a candidate for a universal genius like some of the polymathic universal geniuses in history. But, I am of the opinion that in our time it is highly unlikely for the world to see a universal genius simply because too many fields of specialization, all having its diversity and depth and some being interrelated, are beyond any mortal’s capacity to encompass and absorb.

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

Kayioglu: I have been living in a culture where people usually care for the poor, the old and the underprivileged in general. Compassion and charity are kept in high regard. As someone who was raised in such a culture, this puts me closer to political systems that value social welfare and humanitarian ideals.

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

Kayioglu: I believe that everything exists in God’s imagination only. By everything I literally mean everything, the universe we live in and also all other possible universes that we may not be aware of. God, in my understanding and belief system, refers to an undivided endlessness, wholeness and oneness beyond or apart from which nothing can exist on its own. In other words, the only ultimately aware Being who is the source of all other beings. Separateness and otherness is illusory. Each and every being is one of His infinite ways of manifestations as a kind of self projection, projection of a bundle of His names (divine qualities) out of infinitely many . In a sense, we are living in a matrix created in God’s imagination.

I came close to such an understanding in my high school years by reasoning and contemplation. Later, studying islamic sufism shaped my understanding of religion over the years since then. I was really impressed by and owe gratitude to especially two thinkers in this regard among many: Mohiuddin Ibni Arabi, a 13th century sufi mystic, philosopher, poet and scholar; and more recently Ahmed Hulusi, a contemporary sufi thinker.

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

Kayioglu: In my mature years now, I see that I have always been fascinated by the “scientific thinking” itself rather more than the particular topics of interest in sciences, be it hard sciences or soft sciences. Conceptualization, hypothesis formation, experimentation, testing the hypothesis against facts and findings, drawing conclusions, then a critique. It must be a beautiful adventure. While I was being educated as an engineer, one of the things that I found most interesting and instructive was to discover the importance of underlying assumptions one often needed to make in order to simplify and be able to solve a real engineering problem. This taught me how things differ and a theory turns out to be when real life problems are faced.

I understand that science and engineering, to varying degrees, seem to be an oversimplified model of the reality that we are exposed to. No less, but also no more. In the search for understanding the workings of the universe science absolutely is a strong and indispensable tool, but I doubt that it is the strongest tool when it comes to search for the ultimate truth, especially when we consider the metaphysical implications of the logical limit imposed by the Incompleteness Theorem that Kurt Gödel had introduced and proved.

I suspect that science will ever reach a level where human intellect will no longer need philosophy, metaphysics and religion unless of course some day humanity totally becomes devoid of soul and discards the need to search for meaning (maybe there is no!).

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

Kayioglu: I was not informed of a score for the test I took when I started elementary school. I was only informed to be 5 years ahead of my peers. But a quick calculation would place my childhood ratio I.Q in a range of 165 – 175.

In the last year of junior high school I took a nationwide exam open only to eligible students satisfying grade requirements (about 15 percent of the student population). First phase of the exam was an intellectual aptitude test resembling an I.Q. test. I obtained the highest 34th score among some 17000 mates. This roughly corresponds to a rarity score of 1 in 3000 – 4000. Assuming normal distribution, this would have corresponded to an I.Q. above 150 sd15 if it were normed by rarity.

I also took two self administered timed I.Q. tests at 16 which were said to be normed to ceilings of 145 sd 15 and 200 sd16. On the former I hit the ceiling, and on the latter 169. I don’t remember the name of the first test, but the latter was, if I don’t misremember, a Turkish version of the CMMT.

In 2004 I took the Mensa’s entrance test RAPM, but because as a policy Mensa did not give a score, I received a formal letter reporting only that I was eligible to enter Mensa. In 2005 I took Cooijmans Intelligence Test – Form 2E with a score of 156 I.Q. sd15 based on the preliminary norming, and was admitted to the Glia Society based on a 149 I.Q. after the norming in December 2005. Later in 2006 I took Paul Cooijmans’ QMC#4 test with a score of 143 I.Q. sd15.

In both tests I feel I did not do my best because I didn’t put the maximum effort needed for such tests. Years passed without attempting a new test due to lack of time and energy. I have recently completed in my free time after retirement another test authored by Paul Cooijmans, but not sent it yet for scoring; currently reviewing my solutions to make sure I have done my best this time. Last three tests mentioned above are all untimed and unsupervised high-range I.Q. tests authored by Paul Cooijmans.

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.

Kayioglu: My scores on adult scale have varied between 143 to 149 which seem to be pretty consistent. I think the scores do not scatter much if one invests enough time and effort, does all the tests at adult age, the tests contain mixed item types covering a wider range of abilities rather than focusing on a single type ability such as consisting of verbal-only, or spatial-only; the tests have high enough ceiling, and of course if the test quality is high, that is, the tests are all psychometrically good.

That last condition may not be present in some tests. Most of the supervised tests do not have high enough ceilings for the exceptionally gifted. If a test has a ceiling of 130, another one 145, all Giga Society members with I.Q.’s of 190+ taking all three tests would have a score variation from 130 to 190! So, even if those three different tests are psychometrically perfect, and other conditions above met, one would still observe 60 I.Q. points a difference – apparently a very large discrepancy – between the lowest and the highest scores they obtained.

Obviously, if one or more of the conditions above are not met, then it is likely to get a wide scattering of scores differing at times 2 or more standard deviations for the same person. In my case for example, the condition of “investing enough time and effort” above was not fully met. If, for instance, I get a score well above this on the latest test I did, then it becomes quite clear that the spread is my fault, not the tests’. In the example above for the hypothetical Giga persons, it’s the ceiling that is guilty, not the testees.

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

Kayioglu: No particular philosophy as a whole, without implying myself not favoring moral principles. I only want to point out the highly subjective and complex nature of ethics. Given the observation that human beings, societies and life arising out of interactions between them are too complex and dynamic, it is overwhelmingly difficult to offer a universal philosophy in the first place. I find it superfluous to elaborate more on this as it must be obvious when one especially considers the immense complexity of nonlinear systems and myriad of factors related to culture, genetics, belief systems, religion, education, upbringing, ration, intelligence, geography, technology, individual differences, biases etc. to name a few.

I am not as erudite as to claim that I studied all major schools of ethical philosophies to offer a perspective, but simply because of the complex nature of the matter, I don’t think any particular ethical philosophy can address all or even most of all problems effectively. So, to me, the nature and depth of the problem defies human intellect at its core. Consequently, this requires taking into account non-rational and even irrational elements of human beings if one has to deal with ethics.

Therefore, on an individual level anyone (here “anyone” also includes the most advanced AI to imagine) is doomed to choose one’s way under uncertainty based on such factors said above.

On a personal level, I have moral and ethical principles that I have adopted in the culture I was raised and am trying to follow, but ethical philosophy is, and I think, will always remain to be an open question that needs to be re-addressed, reviewed and revised according to the dynamics of the age human beings live in.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Glia Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021:

*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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