In Which I Tell Mensa to F*ck Off in the Politest Possible Way

Thank you for the email.

Overall although I enjoyed my time as a member, and you're welcome to pass along my kindest regards to any who might remember me, I saw no need to continue my involvement in Mensa past a certain point and have no interest in resuming now.

Perhaps unlike many in the group, who didn't grow up in a country of 300M+ where even 1% constitutes a large number of people, almost as many as the total who call themselves Kiwi, my intelligence is not especially remarkable to me. My father was a brilliant man, he married a smart woman, and I was always expected (but never pressured) to excel academically. Lo and behold I did.

Although as all smart people do, I despair at having to deal with the truly thick, I despair even more at those who lack basic human kindness, generosity, and compassion, characteristics which if anything correlate most poorly with the material success many of extraordinary aptitude can achieve. I also feel actual, useful, multi-faceted intelligence of the kind needed to understand and fix this world only coincidentally coincides with the test results required to be considered Mensan. I feel that flaunting such one-dimensional achievements, even if only via a seemingly innocuous membership in Mensa, can alienate me from others at a time when humanity needs more solidarity than ever.

I have other pursuits that I feel more urgently require my talents and I have other ways of fulfilling my need for companionship and understanding. Since I have not been a member for several years, it's possible my email has been dug out of the archives in a campaign to shore up dwindling membership and involvement. If this is the case, might I suggest another angle that could prove more fruitful would be to re-examine the purpose and aims of the organisation.

Thank you again for reaching out to me.


An American expat living in Auckland since 2000, Julia Schiller is a graduate of Washington University in St Louis, a former ESOL teacher, a Labour Party volunteer, and a self-employed entrepreneur.