Individualism: the plague of the high-I.Q. community

© May 2014 Paul Cooijmans

Observation of the problem

I.Q. societies, especially those with higher pass levels than the 98th centile, are supposed to consist of intelligent members. This has made many ask the obvious question If they are so smart, then why do they not solve the world's problems? And indeed, I.Q. societies as groups rarely or never achieve anything in the real world, although individual members certainly do but are not always identified or willing to identify as members. Instead, what one sees within the societies is socializing, pleasure-seeking, self-promotion, megalomania, narcissism, endless discussion, infighting, badly functioning organizational structures, and schisms. Hereafter it will be attempted to explain a likely cause of this.

The individualist nature of I.Q. society members

Those who join I.Q. societies appear inclined to individualistic behaviour within those societies. They are not necessarily individualists outside of the societies, and it may be that their individualistic behaviour within the societies is partly caused by their not having anything in common with the other members besides a high test score. It is also plausible that intelligent persons in general are more disposed toward individualism than is the average person. The meant behaviour can be summed up as follows:

To observe these behaviours in I.Q. societies does not constitute a value judgement; it merely answers the question If they are so smart, then why do they not solve the world's problems?


For comparison, here are characteristics of collectivism, such as one typically finds in political or ideological movements, religious cults, religions, interest groups, some business enterprises, societies devoted to a shared hobby or field of interest, and so on:

Again, to observe these characteristics is not a recommendation to I.Q. societies; it serves to illustrate why other types of groups do get things done in the real world.

Individualism versus collectivism

When it comes to performing as a group, collectivist groups are stronger than groups of individualists. In the latter, intelligence and other positive abilities and traits are recessive: the group's output level is determined by the level of the least able members of the group. In the former, the members' individual qualities are combined synergistically toward a common goal.

It is worth noting that individualism has been actively promoted and become positively valued in the Western world, in particular since the 1960s. Collectivism, on the other hand, has been devalued and come to be associated with fascism. Were one bent on weakening or destroying the social fabric of a society in order to facilitate domination, precisely such promotion of individualism and demonizing of collectivism would be the the golden move, combined with retaining a collectivist structure within one's own group.