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Why Mensa Sucks

Do you know what Mensa is?  It’s Latin for “table”, and it’s also a club for people with an IQ that is within the top 2% of the population.  Right now, I think that means an IQ of 142 or better, with 100 being average.

If you do not meet that requirement, you cannot be a member.

If you do meet the requirement, you now have a very nice reason to believe that you’re better than everyone else out there because they aren’t as smart as you are.

I don’t really want to get into the whole “IQ isn’t intelligence” argument here.  I think we can all agree that although IQ tests are not empirical scientific tools, they do show abilities and aptitudes that would serve you well in life.  That, and people who score low on such tests are usually very different than those who score high.

What this does is bring together a group of people who are joined by their common belief that they are better than the average person.  By gathering together, they validate and reinforce each other.

Back in 2000 or so, I sat the Mensa test.  There were 2 tests; the Wonderlic and the SCAT.  I did very well on the Wonderlic but not quite good enough…the SCAT I apparently did very well on, so I was invited to join.

Join I did, and then I went to a couple of meetings.

And that’s when it fell off the rails for me – right there.  Here I sit, surrounded by people who are obviously very much in their element.  There were some in the room that obviously believed they were superior to everyone, and others that believed they were only superior to people not in the club.

The problem is that the single requirement for entry is a high IQ.  This gives everyone the very false belief that they are better than other people, and I just don’t like the smell of that.

All of the other clubs, groups, societies and such that I have been a member of over the years have only your interest as a requirement.  People gathering to share in a common interest is always a good thing, and you can make real friends this way because at least you have somewhere to start.

A club that founds itself on its members being in some way better than all others is unjust.

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5 Comments

  1. Lee Lee

    Hahahaha I have had the exact same experience with Mensa. My membership runs out 3/31/09 and I will not be sending them any money to renew. If I wanted to hang out with a group that thought they were better than everyone else, I’d hang out on FreeRepublic.com.

  2. Tim Tim

    I’ve never been to a mensa meeting but that’s exactly the way I pictured it. People with high IQ’s often have social defects and can be incredible boors. I think hanging out with “dumb” people is much more fun!

  3. Anon Anon

    I was semi-interested and a friend and I took the test. We were both invited and I decided not to join. 2 meetings later, he stopped going for the same reasons you mention and the same reasons I did not want to join.

    Mensa, for him, was a proverbial penis-size contest which amounted to little more than a complete waste of an evening.

    I don’t show any favoritism toward people in Mensa. In fact, when they bring it up themselves, out of the blue, it makes them look like braggarts.

  4. Sherilynn Sherilynn

    Perhaps your chapter acts that way, but I have had a completely different experience.

    It is refreshing to be able to sit and chat about everything from politics to bunnies and not worry about dumbing down.

    I don’t make it to many gatherings, but every time I attend I feel like I am welcome.

    Membership has its privileges, and in my Mensa chapter, that privilege is unquestionable acceptance.

  5. Sherilynn :

    It is refreshing to be able to sit and chat about everything from politics to bunnies and not worry about dumbing down.

    Thanks for illustrating my point so clearly.

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