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Subject: Mensa - FAQ: What is Mensa? [BiWeekly]

This article was archived around: 15 Feb 2001 15:13:30 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: mensa
All FAQs posted in: rec.org.mensa
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: mensa/faq Version: 1.3 Last-Updated: Jul 17, 1993
These are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) in rec.org.mensa. Before posting a message asking a question, read this article. Chances are the answer is in here, or one of the other Mensa FAQ articles. This article includes answers to: 1) What is Mensa? 2) Who is Mensa For? 3) Why Should I Join Mensa? 4) What are Members of Mensa Like? 5) What does "Mensa" mean? Other articles include the answers to: Question Archive-Name Posted -------- ------------ ------ 6) What are the Qualifications for Mensa? mensa/join BiWeekly 7) How do I apply for Membership in Mensa? " " 8) How do I Re-Join Mensa? " " 9) Where do I get more Information? " " 10) What other High-IQ Societies are there? mensa/high-iq Monthly 11) What famous people are in Mensa? mensa/famous Monthly 12) What is the Mensa test like? mensa/test Monthly You may retreive copies of this article and the other answers to Mensa FAQs by anonymous FTP from rtfm.mit.edu. Those without FTP access should send e-mail to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with: "send usenet/news.answers/finding-sources" in the body to find out how to do FTP by e-mail. Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? Send e-mail to rom-faq@miracle.com ======================================================================== 1) Who is Mensa For? Mensa is for those who rejoice in the exercise of the mind. If you enjoy mental challenges and revel in the interplay of ideas, Mensa is an organization that will stretch your mind and expand your horizons. Mensa is an international society that has one - and only one - unique qualification for membership: you must score in the top 2% of the population on a standardized IQ test. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2) Why Should I Join Mensa? There are many intelligent reasons to join Mensa. Whether you actively attend Mensa meetings, or simply relish the intellectual stimulation that membership promotes, you'll find the benefits of Mensa membership to be numerous indeed. * JOIN FOR THE INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION. Think-two-three, think-two-three! Mensa provides intriguing ways to flex your mental muscles. You'll find intellectual resources in the Mensa Bulletin, in local newsletters, in Special Interest Group (SIG) newsletters, and at our annual and regional conventions. * JOIN FOR THE SOCIAL INTERACTION. Mensa meetings are anything but dull! Local groups meet at least monthly... for dinner and drinks on a Friday night, get-togethers featuring a speaker, or a lively, free-wheeling discussion. All with fellow members who share your intellectual interests. Some groups have special get-togethers or activities throughout the month. Others, especially the larger groups, have events on practically every day. Of course, participation in local group activities is always entirely at your option. There's also a widely attended annual convention offering workshops, seminars, and parties. Plus, some 50 regional gatherings are held around the country each year, offering social and intellectual excitement. * JOIN FOR YOUR SPECIAL INTERESTS. Whatever your passion, there's almost certain to be a Special Interest Group (SIG) filled with other Mensans who share it! Mensa offers approximately 200 SIGs, in mind-boggling profusion from African Violets to zoology. Along the way you'll find microbiology, and systems analysis, but you'll also find Sherlock Holmes, chocolate and Star Trek. There's the expected: biochemistry, space science, economics -- and the unexpected: poker, roller skating scuba diving, UFOs and witchcraft. There are SIGs for breadmaking, winemaking, cartooning, silversmithing, and clowning. Heraldry, semantics and Egyptology co-exist with beekeeping, motorcycling and tap dancing. Sports SIGs cover the classics (baseball, basketball, football) and the not-so-classic (skeetshooting, hangliding, skydiving). And any Mensan who can't find a SIG to join can easily start one. * JOIN FOR THE PUBLICATIONS YOU'LL GET. Ten times a year, you'll receive our interesting and thought- provoking magazine, the Mensa Bulletin. It incorporates the "International Journal," and both publications contain views and information about Mensa, as well as contributions by Mensans on a wide variety of subjects. Also, you'll get lively local newsletters informing members of local activities and events, and other items of interest and announcements of special interest. "Interloc" (also published ten times yearly) is free to officers--and for other active members on request. It contains news an information about various society administrative and internal matters. The "Mensa Research Journal," published quarterly by MERF, reports on Mensa-supported research. It also publishes original articles in diverse fields of interest, and is available for a small subscription fee. "Isolated M" is a popular and informative newsletter sent to those members who are geographically or otherwise isolated from a local group. It, too, is available at nominal cost to any other member. The Mensa "Register," published every other year, lists all the members and includes such information as geographic location, areas of expertise and/or interest and other professional and personal data. In addition, Mensa books, gifts and other materials are available to members. * JOIN FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS. Mensa sponsors a members-only credit card and insurance program. There's also a program that aids traveling Mensans. * JOIN FOR THE GOOD OF YOUR COMMUNITY. Mensa members also find opportunities to contribute to the betterment of society through programs such as: * The American Mensa Education and Research Foundation (MERF) MERF is a philanthropic, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization funded primarily by gifts from Mensa members and others. MERF awards scholarships, sponsors colloquia, grants research awards, and publishes articles. Of particular interest to MERF is the study of the intellectually gifted. Research projects in the social and psychological sciences supported by MERF have included: measurement of the upper levels of intelligence, psycho-social adjustment, identification of cultural differences, educational strategies and neurophysiological attributes of giftedness, and intelligence and aging. Scholarships are awarded to approximately 60 students nationwide each year. More than 5,000 students apply for these awards, which range from $200 to $1,000. Awards are made to applicants enrolled in degree-granting programs at accredited American colleges and universities based on a competitive essay. There are also awards made from several endowed funds, including awards to women who re-enter academic study after a period of employment or family management, and awards for the study of engineering, mathematics, medicine, the physical sciences, and history. MERF also sponsors weekend-long meetings on serious issues. Authorities are invited to speak and discussion follows. Themes for past meetings (Colloquia) have included "Science and Society: Our Critical Challenges," "The Impact of the Arts on Civilization," "The Gifted in Society," and "Forecasting a Valid Tomorrow." * The Gifted Children Resource Program. Which compiles and provides information for gifted children at the national and local levels. * Mensa groups also get involved in many volunteer activities within their communities. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 3) What kind of people are Members of Mensa? Mensa: We Think, Therefore We Are. Mensans are the kind of people you meet every day ... except that they enjoy using their minds more than most. And they have IQ scores that would impress their neighbors! Today there are some 100,000 Mensans in 100 countries throughout the world. There are active Mensa organizations in 18 countries in Europe, North America and around the Pacific Rim. American Mensa, Ltd. has some 150 local chapters with more than 50,000 members. Founded at Oxford University in 1946, Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members. There is simply no one prevailing characteristic of Mensa members other than high IQ. There are Mensans for who Mensa provides a sense of family and others for who it is casual. There have been many marriages made in Mensa but for many people, it is simply a stimulating opportunity for the mind. Almost certainty most Mensans have a good sense of humor and they like to talk. And, usually, they have a lot to say. Mensans range in age from 4 to 94, but most are between 20 and 49. In education they range from preschoolers to high school dropouts to people with multiple doctorates. There are Mensans on welfare and Mensans who are millionaires. As far as occupations, the range is staggering. Mensa has professors and truck drivers, scientists and firefighters, computer programmers and farmers, artists, military people, musicians, laborers, police officers, glassblowers - you name it. There are famous Mensans and prize-winning Mensans, but there are many, many whose names you wouldn't know. * MENSA DEMOGRAPHICS (USA) 64.4% male, 35.4% female (0.2% won't say) 54% between 30-49 years of age, 14% under 29, 0.32% over 80 31.2% in first marriage, 29.82% never married, 13.32% divorced once, 9.53% in second marriage after a divorce Just over half have no children, 12.4% have one child, 18.66% have 2, 9.95% have 3, 4.37% have 4, 1.29% have 9+ about 30% earn $20-40,000, 10% earn $50-75,000, 9% earn $40-50,000 and about 0.5% earn more than $250,000. 17.93% Master's degree or equivalent, 17.56% four year graduates, one in 11 are Ph.D.s. 41% work in private industry, 13% in government, 13% self employed. 88% European ancestry. 49% Christian, 3% Unitarian, 9% Jewish, 7% agnostic, 3.6% atheist, 9% no religion 14% only children, 19+% older of two, 12.5% younger of two, 11.5% oldest of three, 6.8% middle of three, 5.8% youngest of three, 9.7% oldest of more than three, 10.8% middle of four or more, 4.4% youngest of four or more Computer related occupations 10%, 3.75% own their own business, Electrical Engineers are 2.6%, 7.5% are in education, 3% lawyers, 0.11% judges, 0.02% are in astronomy. * WORLDWIDE NUMBER OF MEMBERS Country Members USA 50483 New Zealand 327 UK+Ireland 35608 Denmark 295 Canada 2546 Austria 287 Malaysia 2181 Channel Islands 257 Germany 1204 Spain 251 Finland 1107 Singapore 245 Yugoslavia 1100 India 200 Australia 961 Sweden 146 Netherlands 922 Belgium 117 Czechoslovakia 715 Japan 101 France 708 Switzerland 101 Poland 700 Hong Kong 100 Italy 400 OTHER 320 South Africa 395 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Total Worldwide Membership 101813 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4) What are Mensa's dues? Current dues are only $45 a year. There are special student, family and lifetime memberships dues when membership is offered. This includes a subscription to the national newsletter (The Bulletin) and a subscription to the newsletter for the your local group. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5) What does "Mensa" mean? The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. The name stands for a round-table society, where race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant. Officially, Mensa's stated purposes are "to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members". Mensa takes no stand on politics, religion or social issues. Mensa encompasses members from so many different countries and cultures, and with many different points of view. For Mensa to espouse a particular point of view would go against its role as a forum for all points of view. ======================================================================== The answers in this posting apply mostly to American Mensa. It is the only organization I have experience with. If you can answer these questions for any other national Mensa, please send me your responses. Corrections, suggestions, and additions to rom-faq@miracle.com