an active thought


Exerpt from an interview with Gene Rickmer, one of the world’s smartest men.

[The following is a transcription from a record cut by the Trust Group in 1999]

“…as for that…it’s high enough that they move to letters at some point, and mine is apparently eight standard deviations above the highest numerical IQ, so you can say I have an IQ of H.

I’m not terribly attached to it—I mean, it’s meaningless, of course, just a number—that is to say, just a letter, in my case. But I understand with terrible clarity that someone with an IQ of 187 or 203 or 220 has to laugh at this point, lest they begin to study and comprehend that they are pitied in their own way by some group largely unknown to them, like the brightest of little lab rats.

Back in grade school we used to joke around, sort of play tricks on each other to establish our own little intellectual forts, pack them with enough brick to protect our fragile little egos. Now, my trick was playing stupid for roughly 8 years until I graduated from high school, so as not to give the impression that I thought myself worth much. Really, though, I pitied the world and had no desire to reveal my letter to anyone outside of the immediate family.

Mum and Dad though, seemed to pity me. I still wonder if one of them was an I or a J or an S, or perhaps both of them were somewhere in the T-Z range, though I’ve surmised through sundry investigations that this range and a good portion of the greek alphabet may be reserved for a higher species as yet unknown to the general public. Civilians, that is. Which brings me to my service to our country.

It is well known that military officers love to lord their privilege over everyone in their employ, and after plumbing the depths of one general’s experience through a series of jokes and simple back-and-forths on military trivia, I ascertained that he saw me as a sort of potential serf. Which, one thing about us “H”-types (or just myself, since there are no others I’m aware of) is that we’re quite independent, have our own theories about things that aren’t confined to mathematics or the arts or philosophy, and generally cannot bear to be lorded over by people who would confine us to one sandbox or another.

It is a well-established fact that even the four-star generals get to where they are by compromising their integrity through a laser-like focus on “what really matters,” that in most cases being the apparition of power. I lack the patience to explain the danger of this pattern, except to say that you’ll notice I began this sentence with an admission that would simultaneously pain a general to utter publicly without shamelessly summoning enough public praise to cover it up, and privately excite him nearly enough to exercise his martial facilities and somehow strike down his most patient friends, family, and acquaintances. Such is the character of military might as exercised in our country’s most hallowed battlefields, the hallways of the Pentagon. It feeds itself, it winds itself, it is the perpetual motion machine of political power, fairly vibrating with power swimming its way to the mains.

But I was required to give service, and after joking with Charlie about the janitors’ ranks being filled with A-E types, decided to find a small, out of the way research command, take an O6 under my wing, and dream up projects that required one or two components based on undeveloped technology. One of these—perhaps the project of which I am most proud—was a matter transportation device which at first glance seemed revolutionary, but was in fact simply an evolutionary follow-on to the current best guess at quantum computing’s state in the 2050s.

To my everlasting joy, the fundamental building block of this technology, a device which I cannot venture to describe without risking prison, required a single stamped component which would consume roughly twice the U.S. annual defence budget to produce. And it required twelve of them. You can imagine how my little O6 felt after this discovery. As far as the look on his face went, I might as well be describing the second coming of our Lord, or attempting to sign on Amway as a military contractor.”