Conducted by Krystal Volney, February 2013
The Giga Society

"Membership of the Giga Society is ideally open to anyone outscoring .999999999 of the adult population on at least one of the accepted tests. This means that in theory one in a billion individuals can qualify. Please do not confuse this criterion with popularly published scores on childhood tests (which are mental/biological age ratio I.Q.s that are not comparable with deviation I.Q.s and tend to be much higher), estimated I.Q.s of famous people, or self-claimed I.Q.s of megalomaniacs. You cannot join by simply listing your real-life achievements, diplomas and the like, even though you are of course of greater value to society because of those than you would be because of a high test score.

Main goal of the Giga Society is to further the establishment of mental ability test norms in the very high range. This is done by recognizing high-scoring candidates for their effort in taking the tests (not for being intelligent), Giga Society membership being one of the incentives for test-taking. Into the bargain, this also promotes the general goals of high-range I.Q. testing, as well as the study of creativity. Inspired by the prospect of membership, many take the tests, thus bringing in much research data. This is explained so explicitly in this paragraph because experience has shown that some otherwise misunderstand the nature of the society, and mistake it for a cult of megalomania.

The society was founded in 1996 by Paul Cooijmans, who has served as its Psychometitor since, and has a journal named Nemesis which appears after every enrollment, the first of which occurred in 1999."- Giga Society's Website

Interview with Paul Cooijmans


1. How would you best describe yourself?

I would describe myself as an honest, ethical, conscientious, intelligent person who was born such that he can only see and deal with the essence of things, rather than being superficial and dealing with appearance. This necessarily leads to doing things that are rare or have not been done before, and to being an autodidact.

2. What motivates you?

My motivations are to learn or discover how the universe and parts of it work - so, "curiousness" - and to make things of a high and lasting quality that will get through to people and help them become truthful and righteous. To end unrighteousness and evil is a motivation too.

3. What makes a good team leader?

I do not believe in the concept of "team leader", and reject the social dynamics supposedly connected to such a concept, do not acknowledge them as a bona fide part of human interaction. The only kind of leadership I recognize is leading by example, showing the way.

4. What is your perspective on fashion in today's world?

While fashion is not my core business, I do observe an internal contradiction or inconsistency in it: On the one hand, fashion, or at least some of it, is meant to be beautiful, esthetic, even art, but on the other hand, fashion is by definition that what is popular in a given period, and therefore is transient. But what is beautiful now should be beautiful always; if one accepts that beauty is an objective quality, which I believe. So, fashion that is truly beautiful is by definition not fashion after all. I myself am not very much affected by the transient aspect of fashion, but I can see what is truly beautiful.

5. What are your biggest strengths?

Persistence, perfectionism, and other aspects of what I call "conscientiousness"; intelligence, with high ability in both "alpha" and "beta" fields, and therefore versatility. To name a more specific ability: writing clear and understandable text. Many other strengths could be named that are inherent to the already mentioned, such as humour and being able to deal with double functions, which - double functions - create multiple levels of meaning and synergy in a work.

6. How do you handle stress/pressure?

I aim to handle stress in a rational way and avoid giving emotional responses to it. It is not possible to avoid stress altogether. Examples of methods to deal with stress are "counting to ten", or using the cause of a particular instance of stress to one's benefit, for instance by writing about it in a story or article. It also helps to formalize one's response to particular stressors, so that one can handle each occurrence of them without being affected.

7. What do you define as genius and intelligent with regards to personality?

In terms of personality, genius is the high end of creativity, and creativity in turn is a synergy of conscientiousness, ability, and associative horizon. There exists also another type of definition of genius, which says a genius is someone who makes a lasting contribution in any field, but that is of course an "after the fact" definition. Two of the three elements in my definition are related to psychiatric disorders; conscientiousness to neurosis, associative horizon to psychosis. The trick is to have exactly the right amounts of those, so that you stay just below the threshold where you would have a debilitating neurotic or psychotic illness.

Intelligence, when that term is used in relation to human personality, is the cognitive aspect of personality, the aspect that comprises mental ability. The word "intelligence" is unfortunately often used in a number of other meanings too, so that is it not usable in scientific contexts; the best term for it is probably "g", the general factor in mental ability. In the above definition of genius, intelligence would belong to the ability element.

8. What is your greatest annoyance with people?

A number of annoyances could be named, but since only the single greatest one is asked for, I would say bully nature. Some people have the inclination to, when confronted with someone who is good, pure, and innocent, hurt that person as much as they can. They are simply intolerant of good and are compelled to destroy it. It may be physical violence on one end of the scale, or it may be highly refined forms of psychological torture disguised as kindness. But make no mistake; the goal of the bully is always the death of the bullied.

9. What do you consider the main personality traits to have in a person for a better world?

High conscientiousness (including ethics, in my definition) and high mental ability are the main traits needed for a better world. All other positive traits that people often cite in this context will follow, being intrinsically related to these.

10. Do you believe in aliens and extra-terrestrial life?

Yes, I believe extraterrestrial aliens exist. Whether they have visited Earth is a different matter. I think that would be known worldwide instantly, and not possible to cover up. I also think the vast majority of civilizations in the universe are at a lower level than current human civilization (but those smart enough to travel here would be at a higher level, naturally). I have estimated the average I.Q. of civilizations in the universe at about 80. When rising far above that, forces of a decadent-degenerative nature become active that pull society back toward that more primitive level. This can be observed throughout the history of Earth humans - all civilizations have fallen so far - and it seems reasonable to assume it will be no different on other planets. The development of civilization is not a straight upward line, but is discontinuous in time and space. While theoretically some civilization somewhere in the universe could reach the point where interstellar travel becomes feasible, we have not seen that yet, and it is not a priori certain that such is possible at all. In any case it is very naive to think that the current rate of technological improvement in our civilization will always continue.

11. What quality do you value most in your friends both male and female?

Being able to communicate rationally and verbally, being able to understand clear intelligible language and not reading between the lines when there is nothing there.

12. What is your current state of mind?

My current state of mind is a productive one as I am enthusiastically working on something. While creative work is much of the time a painful process and a struggle, it also gives energy and has an anti-depressant effect.

13. What do you get complimented most about?

About my tests, in the sense that people notify me of having derived large quantities of enjoyment from taking them, and about the articles on my web locations, which some say have helped them greatly.

14. What is your greatest joy?

My greatest joy is in making things and in learning things that have not been known before. There is no greater sensation than the realization of just having created a masterpiece that will withstand the ages and grab people by the throat even centuries from now, or acquiring insight into some pattern, connection, or causal mechanism that had been hitherto overlooked.

15. If you had one personal wish (which you alone can benefit from hence world peace, etc not applicable) what would it be?

Technically I cannot answer this, since anything I can think of that would benefit me would inevitably also benefit humanity on the whole, which is disallowed by the question. But what comes closest is probably to stay in good health for as long as possible, preferably forever, as in not dying.