ELissa Rudolph, Chair
American Mensa, Ltd.
cc: U.S. Dept. of Education
August 13, 2012
Dear Ms. Rudolph:
The recent Mars landing and the Rover explorer are examples of bright minds coming together and making a difference in what we do, how we do it, when it can be done, where, and why. It is also likely that every member of the team behind the landing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory could, if they were so inclined, become a member of the American Mensa , Ltd. organization. They are all that bright. They are also a small team and they are probably well-funded. But as achievers, they are not likely to be joiners of organizations that do not put achievement high on their list of objectives. You may recall that Abraham Maslow argued that achievement and self-transcendence are at the top of the human traits and fulfillment pyramid.
American Mensa, Ltd., in contrast, is an organization that has many more members from widely diverse backgrounds. But what, apart from handing out a few scholarships and awards, does American Mensa, Ltd. do?
It seems to me that very high up on your list of objectives you could be doing a lot of good in either a) actual problem solving, or b) showing mankind how, when, where, why, and which problems it could solve, where the money might come from, and the major steps in reaching limited objectives. I am not aware, for example, that you are involved in applying your members’ substantial brain power toward solving any of the following issues:
global warming; pollution of our lakes, streams, and oceans; epidemics such as HIV-AIDS; worldwide terrorism; hunger; human rights abuses; depletion of nonrenewable energy sources; global water shortages; deforestation and land use degradation; population growth issues;wealth and income inequality; slavery, child abuse, poverty, or space exploration.
If limited resources are at the heart of the matter, why not at a minimum, survey your members to find what they believe are the most compelling issues that need to be solved? And what do they think is the one issue that can have the most positive effect now at least cost?
For what it’s worth, I believe that every school in America could and should be teaching critical thinking skills beginning in kindergarten and continuing onward without an end. If American Mensa, Ltd. got behind this one idea, just think of the potential for good that could be unleashed.
Edward Phillips, Ph.D.
Bradenton, FL 34203