Would it be helpful to engage Mensa International in Bringing Wisdom to Life?

Mensa International is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. Part of their stated mission is to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International#Mission

Would it be wise to engage their organization or interested members more directly in Bringing Wisdom to Life? Perhaps we could begin a dialogue on the common interests of a our two groups, the distinction between “smart” and “wise”, and identify what more they can do to increase and apply wisdom.

They have about 110,000 members world wide. If we could mobilize them in making wise decisions and taking wise action it could be an important force for doing good. See: http://www.mensa.org/

Do any of the Global Circle members have direct experience with Mensa? What ideas do we have for approaching them on this topic?

7 thoughts on “Would it be helpful to engage Mensa International in Bringing Wisdom to Life?

  1. Dear Lee,

    Thanks for the post and the thought-provoking suggestion.

    Einstein once observed, “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.”

    As far as I can guess — and it is a guess — the stuff that MENSA measures is probably mostly about means — about solving problems once the problems are presented, and of course these are intellectual problems that they solve. The people in MENSA who ALSO have empathetic concerns about the problems of the world, and who ALSO have the deep interest to try to get involved and address them, are probably already deeply involved in various initiatives, and it should be easy for them to find the MAHB and/or us and/or others.

    That said, it wouldn’t hurt to do something — perhaps a simple notice in the MENSA Gazette or the MENSA Genius e-mail list (I’m making those names up, of course) — to announce the Global Circle to MENSA members and invite them to participate here, if they like. But our task does not require MENSA-level problem-solving genius. We are still avoiding — accidentally, as a matter of the typical ways many of us philosophers think — talking about the sorts of things that will be both helpful and necessary, the courageous and active blocking and tackling that will be necessary to invite and gather more and more people to the cause, including and perhaps especially in philosophy and in academia. Perhaps we still need a ‘Declaration of Wisdom’ or a ‘Wisdom Manifesto’ or a hit song titled ‘Love and Wisdom Are All You Need’ — I don’t know — but beyond that, more action and not too much more intellectualizing is probably the order of the day. No, I should say that both are necessary, but we are still placing too much emphasis on one and far too little emphasis on the other, I think.

    That said, reaching out to MENSA in a simple and intelligent way might be a good thing, and probably can’t be a bad thing. Perhaps you, Lee, in conjunction with Nick, could reach out to them?

    Cheers and Be Well,


  2. Hi Lee, yes I mentioned “IQ” as one of those misleading qualities that risks focussing on a narrow objective view of intelligence and intellect in my comment on the earlier post – so yes, this looks like a good suggestion.

    I don’t have any prior connection with Mensa, so maybe I’ll take a look at their web site, and see where I / we could maybe inject suggestions.

    Good idea.

    • Ian,

      The concepts of IQ and EQ are well established. I would like to see us advance the concept of WQ, a “Wisdom Quotient” which may be a blend of IQ, EQ, and “doing good”.

      The proposal to measure wisdom is a start. See: http://www.globalcircle.org/blog/?p=200

      If we can help high IQ people apply their gifts to bringing wisdom to life I believe many can benefit.

      • As I noted on that previous suggestion, the idea of reducing wisdom to a single number is scary, as indeed are IQ and EQ themselves. I see any “measures” as more dynamic profiles – maybe like some of the more enlightened psychometric assessments, but even they suffer from prescriptive objectivity. Something “wiser” than a single quotient anyway.

        • Ian,
          I agree it would be unwise to attempt to reduce an assessment of wisdom to a single number.

          The concept of EQ continues to be explored, debated, and refined, two decades after Daniel Goleman popularized the term Emotional Intelligence. There is no consensus on any single number, and the measures being explored include several subscales. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence

          While IQ is a single number, its meaning continues to be widely debated. As one response, the Theory of multiple intelligences acknowledges the importance of considering a much broader range of talents and abilities. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences

          While measuring EQ continues to be debated, there is wide consensus that some general concept of Emotional Intelligence is important and desirable. I would like to see an analogous popular conversation on the concept of wisdom. If using the shorthand of “WQ” helps promote discussion it is a good thing. I used the term with that intent. (Searching for “Wisdom Quotient” returns results, such as: http://www.victoryubelt.org/wisdom-quotient.html so it clearly is not original with me.)

          If we believe that wisdom can be learned, wisdom can be taught, and Mensa members are likely to have the ability and interest to bring wisdom to life, I’d like to see us reach out to them.



          • Hi Lee, we’re getting into “tell me something I don’t know” territory …. debating I, E and W is fine, it’s the Q that’s suspect. So, as I said:

            (a) Reach out to Mensa. Yes.
            (b) Propose reducing Wisdom to a single number, No, in fact the opposite.


  3. Dear Lee,

    I think your distinction between ‘smart’ and ‘wise’ is very significant here.

    We inhabit a culture in which the former blocks out the latter. If smartness could open itself up to wisdom – by way of appreciating the true nature of reality – that would be a breakthrough in more ways than one.

    I believe that RD Laing spoke of ‘High IQ imbeciles’…not exactly PC, but recognizing a restrictive kind of intelligence associated with a capacity for extreme rationalistic abstraction and vanity. Perhaps not the best place to find a source of natural creativity and empathy?

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