The Glia Society

Glia Society tenth anniversary lecture

Paul Cooijmans

The history of the Glia Society

[This is the text of the lecture by Paul Cooijmans on October 6, 2007, in Brussels, at the tenth anniversary of the Glia Society.]

When I began joining high-I.Q. societies in the autumn of 1993, my life changed much. From the start on I wrote articles and placed advertisements in magazines of these societies, and got many responses from all over the world. I was able to publish my ideas before an audience that could appreciate them.

Here are some examples of these early advertisements. [Example of Glia Society advertisement]

[Examples handed around.]

Later, especially after founding a society myself in 1997 and trying to make it work, I learnt that not everyone benefits from membership like I have benefited from it. Many members do not see the opportunity an I.Q. society offers them, and remain passive, consumptive, negative or complaining. Some are disappointed after joining, but do not realize they have mainly themselves to blame for that.

Another thing I have learnt is that selecting people by I.Q. scores, no matter how strictly, is not enough to get a group of good people. Personality aspects besides intelligence must be taken into account too, as well as creative output; although on the other hand one should not require members to produce work especially for an I.Q. society, because then that society becomes a leech on that member's time and energy and will hinder that member in functioning in the world outside the I.Q. society.

Here is a photo of a leech.

[Handed around.]

My first test design activities were not with intelligence tests but with a guitar playing ability inventory called the Graduator. This psychometric instrument could express a guitarist's advancedness on a scale from 0 to 300. I scored over a hundred guitarists on it; the all-time top score is 237.

Here is the certificate to go with that.

[Handed around.]

In addition, the Graduator was an artificial composer who created a musical composition to each possible score profile out of 2 to the 300th. The algorithm consisted in pencil on paper and had to be executed by hand for each score profile; this was so much work that I only managed to complete it for one score profile: my own. A recording thereof is available on my web site. The title of the piece is For who loves truth, the garrote called 'life' is daily tightened a turn.

Here is a depiction of a garrote.

[Handed around.]

I had intended to play the recording of this composition at the end of this lecture, but I changed my mind and will play on my guitar instead. While I am playing, the correct answers to all of my intelligence tests will be handed out to everyone present.

In 1994, my work on the Graduator for guitarists led to experiments with intelligence test problems, which I began to try out on volunteers soon thereafter. I quickly discovered my problems were much too difficult for almost all who tried them, and more than one candidate gave up on my tests after being thus advised by a psychiatrist unlacing a straitjacket. [Video fragment of this paragraph]

Here is a photo of a straitjacket.

[Handed around.]

The test activities and correspondence with members of several I.Q. societies led to the foundation of the Glia Society in September 1997. Since then, membership has grown slowly to about 300; but not all of those are active. Initially, the main activity was the journal, named after an ancient Egyptian moon god.

Here are the front pages of the first and latest issues.

[Handed around.]

Oh, what I just said about handing out correct answers to my intelligence tests was a joke.

In February 2001, I made a web site for the society, and an e-mail forum was established. The journal has appeared in digital form ever since, next to the paper version. The paper version of the journal is about to be phased out as there are only five subscribers left and producing it is too labour-intensive; the digital version is free but the paper version was not.

Communication on the e-mail fora — there are two now — is different from that in the journal. Because of the easy nature of e-mail, those who could never write a journal article through of lack of ability are now able to rise to the surface and become prominent. Before the e-mail era, such members would have remained invisible. Now, they become conspicuous billboards for the society, signalling to every new member: stupidity rules here. This is a destructive phenomenon that has yet to be exterminated.

Here is a photo of a billboard.

[Handed around.]

Meanwhile one of the members has designed a logo to replace the old one which was on the cover of the first journal issue.

This is the new logo; I think it looks best on a black background.

[Handed around; see top of this page]

People have told me though that on a black background it looks like a logo of a sex club or pornographic web site.

Here is a photo of a sex club.

Hm, I forgot to bring that photo.

The member who designed the logo has also been the editor of the society's journal for a year, from 2005 to 2006.

Here is the front page of one of the issues he made.

[Handed around.]

Finally a few words about possible improvements to the Glia Society, or I.Q. societies in general. The quality of communication and activity in a society depends mostly on the quality of that society's membership, which in turn depends on the admission policy.

As said before, selecting by I.Q. alone is not enough; additional assessment of personality and creative output or productivity is needed. So for improvement, either the admission policy of an existing society has to change, or a new society has to be formed with a better policy.

The latter is constantly being done, especially since the advent of the Internet which made it easy for every Tom, Dick, or Harry to start its own super-high-I.Q. club, so that there is now an endless proliferation of societies that each think they have invented the wheel.

I myself tend to prefer a reform of the existing society and avoid this needless multiplication of organizations. Reforming an existing society is difficult though, because you have to deal with the current membership which is partly incompatible with the possible new admission policy.

One of the changes I might make in the future is to keep my tests, or most of them, exclusively for Glia Society members, and use for admission other people's tests and maybe just one or two of my own, in addition to assessment of personality features besides intelligence and assessment of creative output.

Apart from improving the admission policy in several ways, this will have the advantages of protecting my tests better from the general public, and of protecting myself better from the general public. I will probably have to charge a fee then when members take my tests.

Now to end this lecture I will play a bit on my new guitar.

[Video fragment of guitar performance]