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Norwegians of the High-Range Discussion with Erik Haereid, Eivind Olsen, and Tor Arne Jørgensen: Statistician & Actuarial Scientist; Chair, Mensa Norway; 2019 Genius of the Year – Europe, World Genius Directory (2)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/12/15


Erik Haereid is an Actuarial Scientist and Statistician. Eivind Olsen is the Chair of Mensa Norway. Tor Arne Jørgensen is the 2019 Genius of the Year – Europe. They discuss: some common sentiments in Mensa Norway or commentary around Mensa International on the first point of “the positive social club aspects”; the common sentiments about the “harsh social environment”; two divergent trends in Mensa International and in the high-range communities with the high-range communities exhibiting many of the same symptoms; the FB-forum and social media in general for these various communities; edge the trends more towards mutual respect; individuals within the high-IQ and high-range communities; the catastrophes of WWII; motivation for its existence changed over time; more than a social club; and serious and more fun outgrowths of Mensa Norway.

Keywords: Erik Haereid, Eivind Olsen, IQ, Mensa, Mensa Norway, Tor Arne Jørgensen.

Norwegians of the High-Range Discussion with Erik Haereid, Eivind Olsen, and Tor Arne Jørgensen: Statistician & Actuarial Scientist; Chair, Mensa Norway; 2019 Genius of the Year – Europe, World Genius Directory (2)

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

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Some have commented on the positive social club aspects of Mensa International for them. Others have commented on the harsh nature of the social environment for them. What are some common sentiments in Mensa Norway or commentary around Mensa International on the first point of “the positive social club aspects”?

Erik Haereid[1]*: I am not active in Mensa, but my impression is “that very intelligent people meet peers”; meeting people that think and talk like themselves, and that’s rewarding. Some, maybe a lot of people with IQs over 130 feel different compared to the general population. Mensa provides an environment where it’s ok asking odd or complex questions about anything. At least concerning most issues.

Meeting Mensans from abroad enriches Mensans in every country; meeting other cultures and maybe pinpoint some common features independent of nations.

Eivind Olsen[3],[4]: Several members have said it felt like they “found a home.” For some members, the social aspect is important. Others are happy enough just to get the membership magazine.

Jacobsen: What about the common sentiments about the “harsh social environment”?

Haereid: Free speech is not free speech. It’s quite obvious that some are more liked and popular than others. There’s some discrimination and racism inside Mensa. It’s to some degree about likes and who you want to discuss with, and not what is discussed. It’s about how you comment depending on the other person; who is who. That infects the environment, unfortunately. Talking bad about persons behind their backs, building friendship through establishing social hierarchies, defining some as more worth than others. This is, to me surprisingly, a part of Mensa, as in the general population. It should be banned in a community like Mensa. Mensans should solve conflicts, not create them. Mensans should reflect on their emotions and expressions, not only live unconsciously with them.

Olsen: There are several different Facebook groups, each with its own “community standards” and environment. When you have a high number of people interacting, you’re bound to have people with incompatible personalities. There’s always someone going on about their “freedumb of speech” being violated when it’s suggested that perhaps their comments are missing the mark. Most manage to get along just fine.

Jacobsen: What seems to explain these two divergent trends in Mensa International and in the high-range communities with the high-range communities exhibiting many of the same symptoms?

Haereid: Personal or emotional insecurity. Need for power (over oneself) and identification with one’s high IQ. Differences among individuals seem to be a plus in general if you accept yourself as different. People who show others that they are different or unique, and are substantially proud of it, are often charming and accepted as different. We are all different in many ways, and everyone wants to be themselves among others, removing the masks and just be without all the restraints. If people clap and stay when the fat lady sings, without being ironic, she has hit some need in the audience that is important for everyone.

Tor Arne Jørgensen[2]*: As I have given a blank reply on the two previous questions by reasons of not being a former nor a current member of Mensa Norway. I find myself curious about this and the two previous questions, and the respective answers that will then appear in the comments from both Erik and Eivind as this is more their expertise.

Olsen: That’s a good question, which I don’t really have a good answer for. Perhaps Mensa and the other high-IQ communities cater to different needs, for different personality types. As observed from the outside, I get the impression that for at least some of the high-IQ communities it seems to be more about competition and prestige, with the personal goal to become a member of as many communities as possible. “Gotta catch ’em all!” If it’s more about joining an organization for the social aspect, it often makes more sense to join one with members in your region.

Jacobsen: Is some of this made worse with the FB-forum and social media in general for these various communities?

Haereid: Yes. Social media has the tendency to remove personal responsibility and feelings of empathy and sympathy towards each other; it makes us into hollow objects, and potentially into the worst part of ourselves. A precondition for a functional society is mutual respect.

Jørgensen: I believe it’s important to embrace the diversity of personalities, opinions, and backgrounds, following the tenet of “live and let live.” See the others as individuals too. They can still be good people even if they’re not your identical twins.

With regards to the FB-forum/social media and the «harsh social environment», no I have not personaly felt this in any way, of course, there is some healthy competition between the members within the high-range community, but not something that can be characterized on the basis on the question topic.

Olsen: Some of the aggressive and nasty behavior comes from people that are really nice persons in real life. Perhaps it’s too easy to dehumanize your “opponent” when you’re in the middle of a “battle of keyboards.” The information flow on Facebook also means that whatever someone posted a few hours ago might be drowning in the feed, which also encourages quick remarks over longer, deeper answers.

Jacobsen: What might edge the trends more towards mutual respect and away from occasional disrespect producing pockets of a “harsh social environment”?

Haereid: Avoid talking behind each other’s backs; avoid building mistrust and planting lies about each other to gain power oneself. To be open-minded. Avoid ignoring those you don’t like; to let everyone get a voice, and respect and listen to it. To discuss topics instead of bragging about oneself.

When you don’t like a person, use your intelligence asking why instead of following your emotions without asking. Every time the answer is replaced by another emotion, continue asking.

Jørgensen: Through cross-disciplinary collaboration, where a unified goal is based on community understanding and respect, will by that enable us all to cement the basis for a strong foundation where bridgebuilding and innovation can take place for the common good.

Olsen: I believe it’s important to embrace the diversity of personalities, opinions, and backgrounds, following the tenet of “live and let live”. See the others as individuals too. They can still be good people even if they’re not your identical twins.

Jacobsen: What inspires individuals within the high-IQ and high-range communities to make full use of talents and temperaments within the general cognitive profile for themselves?

Haereid: By evolving more acceptance, safety, and mutual respect inside the communities. To dare to speak outside these walls, one has to feel certain about one’s abilities. This could be like a family. If this is the case, that the environment confirms you and your abilities, you will dare to express your thoughts and ideas outside this environment.

Jørgensen: I have made my own test site;, this is a test site where individuals can try out my high range tests for no cost. This was an idea I felt I needed to explore by using my inherent creative abilities, and the utilization thereof based on the entertainment value of the principle. I have now made twelve high range test, had between 250-300 attempts on these tests. Also when I won the World Genius award back in 2019, I saw the need to promote the community out to the general public, I have now reached out to 50 000+ readers and listeners with my articles in newspaper and radio features.

The basis for this is due to my natural curiosity and exploratory being. The discovery of my talent as to intellectual abilities, just gave me the boost I needed to pursue my dream of an even more understanding world where the gifted can have their rightful recognition of the opportunities they have provided the world with.   

Olsen: I’d say that varies greatly, probably based on a combination of personality and what your situation is. Some are “nerds” (I use that as a positive word), being able to focus on areas they’re interested in, whereas others need encouragement.

Jacobsen: Mensa International was founded after the catastrophes of WWII. Why?

Haereid: Because of the cruelties; someone wanted to gather the most intelligent minds on the globe to solve war-related problems, included racism, fascism, fundamentalism…

Some thought that solving peace-war-related problems should be addressed to the intellectual, cognitive side of humans and not the emotional one.

Jørgensen: Mensa International was started by the following merits of acting as a conflict prevention measure, with the clear intention of avoiding futher worldwide conflict, which had almost managed to overthrow the pillars of the structural world community during the second world war. The idea was that these highly intellectual member staff would then act as advisory reference contacts for the leading authorities of the English state at that time, thus inspired by its own core value with reference to the basis for the foundation of Mensa International.

Olsen: I guess most of you have heard the story about how Roland Berrill and Lancelot Ware met on a train, and during a conversation they decided they should start a “high IQ club”, a think-tank meant to give advice to governments and ensuring that we’ll not have a WWIII. Now, I can’t guarantee that the story is accurate. We do seem to be doing fine at preventing WWIII though, since it hasn’t happened yet 🙂

Jacobsen: How has this motivation for its existence changed over time?

Haereid: It seems that it focuses on the social club aspect, i.e. making very intelligent people feel at home somewhere, and finding the right tools to measure intelligence. MI claims “to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity”, as it is written in one of their three stated purposes today. But what, how, when, and where?

I think there is a lot of potential inside Mensa, but that the connection with the general population is slim. You have to be heard. You have to connect to the real world. And you have to understand what is important and possible to do something with, and not. As very intelligent you should know that moving mountains is a question of time and methods, and not if it’s possible or not.

It’s a difficult task, because some parts of science have decided that humans are absolute and unchangeable evil or brutal and that it’s impossible to do something with our aggressive sides. If you choose to believe in that, you are an idiot if you use your time to promote peace. Then you focus on meeting peers in a social environment, drink your coffee and beer, watch the sunrise and sunset and cross your fingers for the best.

It seems that there are some issues that humans won’t touch, and one of them is human aggression. It’s within the “war and love”-realm; outside any law. Maybe this is the case, that even the smartest men and women on the planet can’t deal with these issues. It’s easier to play board games and brag about your IQ.

As long as “being someone” and “creating a safe environment” apparently are opposites, it seems impossible to avoid wars and severe conflicts. The day we internalize that the value of sharing is higher than not sharing, we will evolve beyond the limit of pathologic egoism. To reach this level, we have to experience it as more valuable; we have to trust in it. We can’t remove “What’s in it for me?”, but we can hopefully make “What’s in it for me?” compatible with everyone else’s.

Jørgensen: This question is best answered by Erik and Eivind, who are both active members themselves of Mensa Norway. What I have as a non-member of Mensa Norway is then best replied solely based on what is written on the official Mensa Norway’s homepage, where the following fact is pointed out about the possibility of active gatherings where one can share thoughts and ideas, also where events with subsequent excursions are possible to do as a type of «social happening».

So to the point of «motivation for its existence», the possibility of an ideological continuation of the lifelong origin, then the undersigned is believed based on the facts that emerge, hereby stated as a clear reply of no for me, by reasons as to the fundamental basic principle of renouncing its ordinary proclamation in its entirety. Transferable into allowed the organization to be guided on a siding by referred social events, thus subsequently not stick to the program’s origins, has by that allowed itself to fallen away as to both origin and credibility.

Olsen: I wasn’t even born in 1946, and I didn’t become a member until almost 70 years later, so my understanding here could be wrong. Due to our apolitical stance, we’re not meddling in politics. I do have the impression that the topic of gifted children has gained more focus in the last few decades.

Jacobsen: Liljeqvist aims to have Mensa International evolve, as he has claimed, into something more than a social club with proclaimed successes in this manner. How has this vision expanded to Mensa Norway? How has this, if at all, expanded into the high-range communities too – or originated independently in the high-range environments too?

Haereid: I like to read that there is a vision, and hope the leaders both in Mensa International and Norway will take their responsibility to the next level. The opportunities are there, for sure. And it’s is the leader’s job to motivate, establish goals and find ways to achieve them.

Jørgensen: Based on its most fundamental function regards to evolving intentionality with the desire for optimal growth through the means of uniformity, the implicative has not been «optimal» within the incorporative societies. Here it has only achieved its validity to influence for the purpose of measuring the basic intentions by and for its inadvertence due to its past to present result only. As to the future, only time will tell if this will be any successful path or not to follow.

Olsen: For some of our members we’ll always primarily be a social club, but we do remind our members that we also have goals that are for the benefit of society. We have a “gifted children program”, where we try to improve the knowledge about gifted children/youth. We have an annual award where we give acknowledgment to a person or organization that has done something good related to our external goals. And we’re in the process of setting up a research foundation, intended to provide funding for projects related to intelligence.

Jacobsen: Mensa International is enormous comprising more than enough members to perform plural functions based on international status and operational capacities, as well as unprecedented and by far unmatched membership size. What can be these serious and more fun outgrowths of Mensa Norway now, and the high-range communities for that matter?

Haereid: The potential is huge, and people have to be led. Intelligent ones too. If you have an army you have the basics, but an army can make both peace and war. Humans can manage to do the very best and most intelligent kind of good work and can destroy what seems undestroyable. We are strange creatures. We have to understand who we are and how we are built to build the society that we need and want and that is fruitful for everyone.

I think that if you can gather the brightest minds into one task, establishing the optimal motivation, gaining the right harmonic effect from every individual, it’s barely no limit. One way is to view humans as leaders of nature; we can choose if we want to be egocentric leaders amplifying our own value by exploiting nature and see other species as inferior to us, or we can be modern leaders that take responsibility for our “employees”; being aware of that the leaders job is to make the employees do their best and not making them feel like slaves.

Jørgensen: My personal hope for the future is to be able to provoke a possible coexistence of these functional movements towards its current existential uniform outlook. This is understood as a universal common understanding of one’s own future-oriented search for unsolved tasks, which must be met by all the world’s foremost intellectuals in a united front by reasons alone as to preserve the unintended future outcome.

Olsen: That depends largely on our volunteers. Having a higher number of members doesn’t guarantee that you have the volunteers for a project. An example I’ve used before is related to Mensa Norway’s annual gatherings. They are mainly organized by our regional chapters, and even the smaller chapters can pull that off if they have a handful of people willing to put some time and effort into it.

I believe we can always do more regarding to gifted children/youth. And we have initiated some research-related activities; one which we hope to go public with very soon, and one which is in the earlier stages of planning.

As for the social aspect, we try to increase the membership numbers overall, but also put an effort into having tests done in locations where we want to help build a critical mass. Even though many activities and social interactions can be done online, it’s not a complete substitute for having members nearby. An online dinner or pub crawl just isn’t the same as meeting local members face to face.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1]  Erik Haereid has been a member of Mensa since 2013, and is among the top scorers on several of the most credible IQ-tests in the unstandardized HRT-environment. He is listed in the World Genius Directory. He is also a member of several other high IQ Societies.

Erik, born in 1963, grew up in OsloNorway, in a middle class home at Grefsen nearby the forest, and started early running and cross country skiing. After finishing schools he studied mathematics, statistics and actuarial science at the University of Oslo. One of his first glimpses of math-skills appeared after he got a perfect score as the only student on a five hour math exam in high school.

He did his military duty in His Majesty The King’s Guard (Drilltroppen)).

Impatient as he is, he couldn’t sit still and only studying, so among many things he worked as a freelance journalist in a small news agency. In that period, he did some environmental volunteerism with Norges Naturvernforbund (Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature), where he was an activist, freelance journalist and arranged ‘Sykkeldagen i Oslo’ twice (1989 and 1990) as well as environmental issues lectures. He also wrote some crime short stories in A-Magasinet (Aftenposten (one of the main newspapers in Norway), the same paper where he earned his runner up (second place) in a nationwide writing contest in 1985. He also wrote several articles in different newspapers, magazines and so on in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He earned an M.Sc. degree in Statistics and Actuarial Sciences in 1991, and worked as an actuary novice/actuary from 1987 to 1995 in several Norwegian Insurance companies. He was the Academic Director (1998-2000) of insurance at the BI Norwegian Business School (1998-2000), Manager (1997-1998) of business insurance, life insurance, and pensions and formerly Actuary (1996-1997) at Nordea in Oslo Area, Norway, a self-employed Actuary Consultant (1996-1997), an Insurance Broker (1995-1996) at Assurance Centeret, Actuary (1991-1995) at Alfa Livsforsikring, novice Actuary (1987-1990) at UNI Forsikring.

In 1989 he worked in a project in Dallas with a Texas computer company for a month incorporating a Norwegian pension product into a data system. Erik is specialized in life insurance and pensions, both private and business insurances. From 1991 to 1995 he was a main part of developing new life insurance saving products adapted to bank business (Sparebanken NOR), and he developed the mathematics behind the premiums and premium reserves.

He has industry experience in accounting, insurance, and insurance as a broker. He writes in his IQ-blog the online newspaper Nettavisen. He has personal interests among other things in history, philosophy and social psychology.

In 1995, he moved to Aalborg in Denmark because of a Danish girl he met. He worked as an insurance broker for one year, and took advantage of this experience later when he developed his own consultant company.

In Aalborg, he taught himself some programming (Visual Basic), and developed an insurance calculation software program which he sold to a Norwegian Insurance Company. After moving to Oslo with his girlfriend, he was hired as consultant by the same company to a project that lasted one year.

After this, he became the Manager of business insurance in the insurance company Norske Liv. At that time he had developed and nurtured his idea of establishing an actuarial consulting company, and he did this after some years on a full-time basis with his actuarial colleague. In the beginning, the company was small. He had to gain money, and worked for almost two years as an Academic Director of insurance at the BI Norwegian Business School.

Then the consultant company started to grow, and he quitted BI and used his full time in NIA (Nordic Insurance Administration). This was in 1998/99, and he has been there since.

NIA provides actuarial consulting services within the pension and life insurance area, especially towards the business market. They was one of the leading actuarial consulting companies in Norway through many years when Defined Benefit Pension Plans were on its peak and companies needed evaluations and calculations concerning their pension schemes and accountings. With the less complex, and cheaper, Defined Contribution Pension Plans entering Norway the last 10-15 years, the need of actuaries is less concerning business pension schemes.

Erik’s book from 2011, Benektelse og Verdighet, contains some thoughts about our superficial, often discriminating societies, where the virtue seems to be egocentrism without thoughts about the whole. Empathy is lacking, and existential division into “us” and “them” is a mental challenge with major consequences. One of the obstacles is when people with power – mind, scientific, money, political, popularity – defend this kind of mind as “necessary” and “survival of the fittest” without understanding that such thoughts make the democracies much more volatile and threatened. When people do not understand the genesis of extreme violence like school killings, suicide or sociopathy, asking “how can this happen?” repeatedly, one can wonder how smart man really is. The responsibility is not limited to let’s say the parents. The responsibility is everyone’s. The day we can survive, mentally, being honest about our lives and existence, we will take huge leaps into the future of mankind.

[2] Eivind Olsen is the current chair of Mensa Norway. He has scored “135 or higher” (SD15) on the test used by Mensa Norway. He has also previously been tested with WISC-R and Raven’s. He recently took the MOCA test and aced it. When he’s not busy herding cats, he works in IT. He sometimes spends time with family and friends.

Eivind Olsen is a member of Mensa Norway since 2014, having filled various roles since then (chair of Mensa Bergen regional group, national test coordinator, deputy board member, and now chair).

He was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1976, but has lived in a few other places in Norway, including military service in the far north of the country.

Since he got bored at school and didn’t have any real idea what he wanted to do, he took vocational school where he studied electronics repair. He has worked in a different field ever since (IT operations).

He is currently residing in Bergen, Norway, with his significant other, 2+2 offspring, 2 cats and a turtle.

[3] Tor Arne Jørgensen is a member of 50+ high IQ societies, including World Genius Directory, NOUS High IQ Society, 6N High IQ Society just to name a few. He has several IQ scores above 160+ sd15 among high range tests like Gift/Gene Verbal, Gift/Gene Numerical of Iakovos Koukas and Lexiq of Soulios.

Tor Arne was also in 2019, nominated for the World Genius Directory 2019 Genius of the Year – Europe. He is the only Norwegian to ever have achieved this honor. He has also been a contributor to the Genius Journal Logicon, in addition to being the creater of, where he is the designer of now eleven HR-tests of both verbal/numerical varient.

His further interests are related to intelligence, creativity, education developing regarding gifted students. Tor Arne has an bachelor`s degree in history and a degree in Practical education, he works as a teacher within the following subjects: History, Religion, and Social Studies.

[4] Individual Publication Date: December 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.


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