Marilyn Vos Savant Is The Smartest Person In The World

Some are unimpressed by what the IQ queen has done with her life. Shouldn't she be curing cancer?

Anyone who reads Parade Magazine is familiar with Marilyn Vos Savant, possessor of the world's highest recorded IQ (228.) For the past 20 years, Savant (it's her mom's maiden name) has answered readers' trivia and logic questions. She lives a comfy existence in Manhattan with her husband, Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart. And? Ask critics. This is what you do with the smartest brain the world?

To others, Savant's relatively modest achievements just go to show that as an indicator of achievement, IQ doesn't mean much. (We're not sure why they care so much — and certainly not sure why one guy spends all his time maintaining a Marilyn is Wrong! website) But has IQ ever really done that? In theory, sure, but can't the knowledge of all that potential be just as great a handicap? I come from a family where there are a bunch of "brilliant" types who have apparently felt it was sufficient to have been born smart and didn't see the need to do much more with themselves. A couple of weeks ago, CBS Sunday Morningran a piece on Mensa's annual convention and the results were kind of sad: far from the organization's original goal of running and improving the world with their combined brainpower, the piece showcased a lot of people hampered by their own sense of superiority, clinging to numbers, and blaming their unhappy social lives on their elevated intelligence. One couldn't help but thinking, watching it, that a lot of them might have been happier if they hadn't had the number looming over them.

The notion that Vos Savant has an obligation to humanity to "do something" with her brilliance is at best bizarre, at worst smacks of eugenics. But the fact that she has a good marriage and social life, friends and career in spite of being "the smartest person in the world" — one hopes that this, at least, can serve as an example to others. "Brilliance" need not be isolating - even if the knowledge of it probably can be.

Is A High IQ A Burden As Much As A Blessing? [FT]
Meeting Of The Minds [CBS]