Archive for November 14th, 2010

The Mensa Mantra Problem

Mensa, which is the Yiddish word for the German Menschen, is an organization you have to have a high IQ to enter. You may be familiar with the Nazi word Untermenschen, subhumans.

If a German organization called itself Menschen and limited its membership to high IQs the ADL would go berserk.

One thing that is noted by reporters covering Mensa meetings is that there is a fair sampling of blue collars and non-college grads there. Each of that fair sampling represents a far higher share of the high-IQ population, since very few workers or dropouts KNOW their IQ.

These are people intelligent enough to get through school and who hold responsible jobs, like repairing the subways all those college grads go to work in.

So if they are smart and if they are good workers, why couldn’t they make it in school?

I have told you here repeatedly that, if the University of South Carolina had not been the only institution of higher learning in America that let anybody in who made in the top quarter of the scores on the National College Entrance Exam — the old SAT — I would have been a high school drop out.

My grades were awful in high school. They also had a national test to compare students in high schools around the country as to how much they knew of the subjects they were taking or had taken. I ALWAYS got in the top five percent and often in the top one.

In fact, one teacher said I was quite a help in keeping Columbia High School high in the subject knowledge tests. In the course, she gave me a D.

It was general knowledge in the school that I was at the top of subject knowledge tests.

It never OCCURRED to anybody to be concerned as to why, if I knew the subject, I was making Cs and Ds.

I am not saying that no one could figure it out. I am saying that no one ASKED it.

I think we should label this a Mantra Problem. It goes in with not just understanding, but taking it for granted that no one in the education establishment is at all concerned as to why, if IQ scores were generally known, Mensa might have a majority of members who hold responsible jobs but lost out in the present school system.

A Mantra Problem is one which everybody knows about, everybody takes for granted, everybody may even take a moment to be amused at an example of it, but nobody THINKS about.