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Conversation with Rickard Sagirbay on the Turks, Self-Defense, Galileo, Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, and Languages: Member, World Genius Directory (1)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/01/01


Rickard Sagirbay is a Member of the World Genius Directory. He discusses: growing up; an extended self; the family background; experience with peers and schoolmates; some professional certifications; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence discovered; the geniuses of the past; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; some work experiences and jobs; this particular job path; important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; the God concept or gods idea; science; some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; ethical philosophy; social philosophy; political philosophy; worldview-encompassing philosophical system; and meaning in life.

Keywords: Ali Rıza Sağırbay, intelligence, IQ, Muslim, Rickard Sagirbay, Rickard Sagirbey, Turkish, Turks, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Rickard Sagirbay on the Turks, Self-Defense, Galileo, Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, and Languages: Member, World Genius Directory (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? 

Rickard Sagirbay[1],[2]*: Nothing to brag about in that regard; I come from very humble family origins. I would rather say we had this tragedy within our family on my father’s side. My uncle was in the military serving as a pilot. He was known to be exceptionally intelligent and did a career within the army. One day, he was involved in an accident. His plane crashed, and he died. I have to say, “May his soul rest in peace.” My father named me after him, so my name from birth is Ali Rıza Sağırbay. Later as an adult, I changed my name for practical reasons to make it easier to apply for jobs, further I was tired to hear the repeated question: – What did you say your name was again? Further my Swedish Judicial surname is spelled a bit differently, than the Turkish original, due to that the pronunciation in Sweden is different, so we modified it to become Sagirbey. I am not being fussy about my family name, merely explaining it thoroughly since it`s listed at WGD as “Sagirbey” and my FB account name says “Sagirbay” (which is my legal Turkish name, double citizenship).

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

Sagirbay: No, I don’t think so.

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

Sagirbay: My family is originally from Izmir, Cesme. Well, we are Turks, so we are accustomed to Turkish culture, even though I was born and grew up in Sweden and, of course, acquired a lot of cultural values from there as well. The official language in Turkey is Turkish. In Turkey the majority of the population are Muslims, as are my family. So I grow up in a Muslim family and later during life I formed my own world-view in regards to the theme of religion and philosophy, but I will cover that in the latter section of your questions. My father was a local pub owner and salesman by trade and my mother was a nurse, both retired today.

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

Sagirbay: Well, this interview and your journal are based on a high level of honesty and integrity as I understood while reading it through. Therefore, I feel I have to be honest. It wasn’t a fairy tale or a dance on roses. Before proceeding, I want to emphasize that I seek no pity or redemption, neither do I self-pity. It`s all in the past but still shaped me to the man I am today. It was filled with bullying, violent episodes, verbal abuse, and so on. But on the contrary, there were also some nice memories that still stick in my mind as well.

I was a troublesome kid that always went my own way, if some authority at school told me to do tasks in a certain way I could sometimes end up doing them in the opposite way as an act of rebellion towards their authority. As a concrete example during swim school season in the city of Nynäshamn in Sweden, when I was approximately 5-6 years old, when our teacher told us to exercise swimming above the water, I instead, sometimes, exercised swimming below the water.

Sometimes, I speculate if it was a rebellious act towards my parents’ upbringing? Would I have been different if I was raised under different conditions or gone to a private school with maximum 3-5 pupils? Of course, these are just philosophical inquiries with the purpose of trying to explain my own personal development; there are no certain conclusions hereby. I was indeed gifted. Even though, I showed signs of insubordination at an early age, and I will get to how I discovered my giftedness and the signs of them later in this interview.

Back to the story of my adolescence in primary school. I did display signs of being a disciplinary problem early on and after getting in to fights with other pupils and having difficulties on focusing on tasks in school, so instead of the classical prodigy example when you skip a couple of grades early on. I was instead transferred into a school for kids considered a disciplinary problem and disruptive.

I spent approximately 2 years in this school where they actually took notes and documented our progress both in terms of behaviour and cognitive progress during the lessons. I finished my time there 2 years later. I began in music class in accordance with my mother’s wish. She was under the impression that it would transform me into a more decent and calm kid. So, at age 10, I began 5th grade in Mikaelskolan, I did pretty well in school given the civil unrest that was present in terms of fistfights, verbal abuse and bullying.

I have to confess. Sometimes, I was the victim being bullied and sometimes I was responsible for doing the bullying myself. I acted in accordance with my nature and did what I had to in order to survive the years in school, it was a tough period and required a lot of courage and persistence in order to complete this chapter of my life. I put up a good fight when I needed to defend myself physically and have no regrets in regards to this part. Some of the things, I did as a kid; on the other hand, I do regret today, and can put it in perspective and realize it was wrong.

I wish yet again to put emphasis on that as I progressed into adulthood I obviously learned better, even if I did so the hard way. As a rule of thumb, I have established to always be a diplomate primarily and try to solve conflicts using your giftedness, applying the tool of communication. Even better would be a combination of intelligence and wisdom, it is trying to plan your life in a way that prevents and minimize the probability for such events to occur in the first place (for obvious reasons).

To choose fighting as a primary means to solve a conflict is indeed idiocy and will only get you into further trouble, however, I also have to accentuate that I firmly believe that if you have already tried principal 1 and 2 aforementioned; and if you are cornered, then, of course, the use of physical violence would be completely justified. This is called self-defence. Further, it is judicially correct world wide. I would argue. I didn’t reach top grades in all of the subjects in school (Einstein didn’t either), but I discovered my resources later on.

I had a propensity and talent for head calculation, the multiplication table, head arithmetic in general. We had this competition once a week in school during 7-9 the grade in school in terms of being the quickest head calculator, sort of mind Olympics. I almost always finished in 2nd place to my classmate Lisa Classon. During our holiday in Turkey when I was 8 years old, I used to have this passionate hobby of calculating in my head 3 digit numbers such as 734*459 eventually progressing in terms of speed and accuracy. I recall reading about Ettore Majorana the physicist who also shared similar hobbies as a kid.

I also still remembered an employee at the hotel where we resorted, used to joke and call me by the nickname “the professor kid” since he took note that I had a very peculiar hobby. Sadly, these skills and hobbies of mine with time faded out. There have been times in my life, when I wonder, “What could have been the result if I had possessed the discipline to nurture and persist my talents better from an early age?” Anyway, I managed successfully to finish primary school and also finished my 3 years in high school. I was also an avid linguistic learner early on, and easily absorbed new languages being taught in school, in this case, German.

I still remember quite well in regards to grammar, vocabulary, etc. I also had a conventionally very good memory as a kid, as an example, we had this examination in music, which consisted of pages of history, important years, names such as Bach, Mozart, etc. Consequently, I memorized the full contents of those pages verbatim. I looked upon it as a game of discipline and wouldn’t stop until I knew it all by heart. It felt awesome. My stepfather Dan was surely also impressed when he noticed this. In regards to this theme discussed, I read that Francis Galton quoted whole sentences and paragraphs that he acquired from books when reading at a very early age.

Jacobsen: What have been some professional certifications, qualifications, and trainings earned by you?

Sagirbay: That is a good question and will only be fairly answered when putting it all together in context from a whole perspective. I happen to have a diagnosis of mental illness in terms of being “Bipolar”. Consequently, this has made my life difficult due to the condition of depression. So, it has created some gaps during my history of employment in terms of being able to maintain and keeping the job. It has been followed by a lot of sick listing periods from my side. I will approach this topic very humbly and honestly.

I hold no splendid records or qualifications in terms of prestigious university diplomas, Ph.D. candidate, certifications in general, etc. Most of the knowledge I acquired up to this point origin from my own studies and intellectual curiosity. Because of my mental condition, I have gone through a learning curve in life, that has made me dread and be very shy of student life and to apply to a university. So, I enjoy mainly conducting my own research privately from home as an autodidact (I study Spanish currently). I think it is important to highlight this theme with a sense of humour, also from a view that shows that I possess self-distance.

During the setbacks of life, I haven’t complained, rather I would say with a smile on my face that you are interviewing an insane man, but still sane and stable enough to participate in the interview. I accepted my mental condition and thereby found peace. There were many other gifted people who were bipolar as well during history, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, Edgar Allan Poe, among others. I also have a quote to add from my own personal experience in regards to giftedness as bipolar: – Genius is well-balanced madness and reason, when applying the instrument of imagination flow.

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

Sagirbay: I love brain-teasers and puzzles, but what is above all of that is to discover new ways of thinking, leading to that “AHA” or “EUREKA” (Archimedes). It`s an incredible feeling actually.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Sagirbay: Most prominently at the age of 7-15, I had these different hobbies such as mental head calculation, memorize texts when reading, also a high intellectual curiosity in general. I could ask a question to my friend, “What would you choose if you had to between amputating a leg or an arm? What would you choose between a million-dollar or supernatural powers like superman? Would you rather look like Brad Pitt in physical appearance or to be ugly and extremely rich?”

Existential questions were running in my veins from the very beginning it seems. You constantly think, “Why? Why? Why? What does this person gain from this and vice versa?” And so on, I still have this funny childhood memory from an old friend named Johan, who was actually highly gifted and precocious. During a dialogue, he once stated, “I think this kid Jens only hang out with Tobias, because he is so big and strong as for his own protection.” So, as a summary, I would say this is the way my signs of giftedness started.

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.

Sagirbay: I firmly believe it`s because we are highly misunderstood by the average person and therefore people, in general, react with skepticism, fear, envy, anger and sometimes even hatred. People have a tendency to condemn and fear ideas and concepts they don’t fully understand. As a perfect example would be Galileo who faced the Inquisition during his days, he was trialed because his discoveries contradicted the mighty authority of the Catholic Church. This is a very fine example, indeed, how a great mind in history collides with religious dogma and that it still occurs in modern time.

Sadly, even if humanity have progressed scientifically from Galileo’s days, there is a lot of progress to be made still today. One of the reasons that many highly gifted individuals might be camera shy and shy in general might be because of past bad experiences such as my own. My endeavour as a student was never entirely successful because of my mental condition, which resulted in gaps and an incomplete education. I completed a third of the education of becoming a radiographical nurse up in northern Sweden, the city of Boden. I managed to complete 38 points out of 120, but dropped out because of my mental problems, I still have the record of it stored.

I also completed a year in the university of Jönköping the school with alignment of communication, it was a basic year of a science program. But to the summary, because of my past unsuccessful experiences of being a student, I learned that school wasn’t for me and I decided to return home and pursue studies as an autodidact by myself and in solitude. But I also of course feel I need to shed some light on the contrary. There are, of course, many geniuses in history as you mentioned that were indeed praised and revered during their whole lifetime. We could apply Mozart (1756-1791) as a perfect example, he excelled in music and was considered a child prodigy from an early age. He was admired by a lot of people early on, but sadly he died quite young at age 35.

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

Sagirbay: Leonardo Da Vinci is certainly among the top geniuses on the list. Based on his achievements and that he excelled in a great variety of fields such as art, engineering, inventions, anatomy, physics, etc. I would say he was way ahead of his time. Then we have Nikola Tesla that contributed a lot of inventions to science that we apply in modern times such as alternating current, the remote control and the neon lamp. Then of course it`s hard to forget Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite and was the founder of the Nobel prize. I also personally idealize Rudiger Gamm, Dominic O’Brien, the late Tony Buzan and finally Kemal Ataturk who was the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. These are just a few among many brilliant minds.

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

Sagirbay: Having a more fine-tuned brain and performing at the 99.9 percentage or above in terms of cognition, also in addition having that thing we call imagination to combine with the logic.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Sagirbay: I would say, “Yes.”

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and jobs held by you?

Sagirbay: I worked for several years as a salesman in telemarketing and acquired a lot of experience from it. In addition, I worked as a customer support agent at a fitness-company. When I was younger prior to that, I worked as an assistant nurse helping elderly retired people.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Sagirbay: I enjoy working with people and learn new things at constant. In sales, you never become complete in regards to this.

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?

Sagirbay: I believe that an important aspect of the idea of the gifted and genius is that society needs to improve (on a global scale) on how to effectively identify giftedness, so that talents could be cultivated and nurtured in the best interest of humanity. This will help science to progress and this, in turn, will help us to solve current world problems such as starvation, lack of clean water, overpopulation, diseases, etc. Well some of the most common myths I feel I have to dispel, is that genius/gifted people usually are autistic, or similar to savants or necessarily have to have some mental impediment or diagnosis (like in my case) and this isn’t necessarily so at all.

These myths are widely enhanced and further conveyed to the public in movies like “Rainman” (Dustin Hoffman) and “A Beautiful Mind” (Russell Crow portrait John Nash). These are indeed good movies, but the truth is that in reality there are many very healthy geniuses with no diagnosis or mental conditions at all. Another myth that is present is that most geniuses are nerds and book worms and so on. Not everybody realises that it can be a wrestler (like Plato) or a martial artist in Karate being very athletic build, etc. But this stereotype doesn’t fit the description of a genius that we are fed from media I suppose.

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

Sagirbay: I started my journey as a Muslim, since I was born in a Muslim family, later I converted to Buddhism. I found the whole idea of reincarnation plausible, as did many ancient philosophers and geniuses such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, among several others. I took note of that everything in nature seemed to be cyclic and resurrection occurred all the time, for instance, the seasons of the year: Summer, autumn, winter and spring, repetition.

Also, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy is always conserved and can not be created neither destroyed. Today I am leaning towards pantheism with a scientific approach added to it. Further with time I have also found it very reasonable that people lean towards agnosticism since it`s extremely difficult to know for sure what is true in regards to existentialism. I definitely still feel that the concept of reincarnation should be taken seriously until it`s refuted by scientific means.

I have a very good quote which I feel is very appropriate in order to summarise this question:

If a man leaves with certainties he will end up with doubts; but if he is content to begin with some doubt, he will end up with some certainty.

Francis Bacon

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

Sagirbay: I would say a lot more today than it did during my years as an adolescent.

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

Sagirbay: Here you have a couple of them (verbal, spatial, and numeric):

Alphabet score: 185sd 15

Mach I: 170sd 15

SLSE II: 176sd 15

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.

Sagirbay: Range has been between 153-185sd 15 on various tests.

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

Sagirbay: Do your best and try to improve and become a better man than you were in the past. As a human being, we are constantly bound to imperfection within our very nature. Try for example to draw 5 precisely equally sized circles next to each other by hand on a piece of paper (without aiding tool). Do you think they will appear precisely the same? To put it in a funny frame, while serious, I would argue that perfect human beings only exist in fairy tales. The good intention and desire to improve as a human being is more than enough. Here are some quotes to give people something to think about.

For me the struggle to reach perfection as a human being is comparable with the same madness and despair similar to catching your own shadow.

R. Sagirbay

It is a prejudice to think that morality is more favourable to the development of reason than immorality.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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

Sagirbay: Transhumanism.

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

Sagirbay: Libertarianism.

Jacobsen: What worldview-encompassing philosophical system makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Sagirbay: Trying to progress humanity in the right direction and to achieve a more intelligent citizenry, so that we might alleviate the condition of human suffering and make the earth a better place to live.

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Sagirbay: To constantly try to evolve as a human being and be occupied every minute of my life, this is how I keep the depression away and get my kicks. Learning new things has become my great passion in life. For instance, nowadays, I am learning Spanish. Later, I have plans to improve my German that I learned during primary school. I also enjoy theatre lessons, mind games, memorizing a deck of cards, digits, etc. I also exercise physically on a regular basis both weightlifting and running.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 1, 2021:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 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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