What is Mensa?
Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which was a high IQ. The original aims were, as they are today, to create a society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population, with the objective of enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.
Visit Mensa International here.
What does "Mensa" mean?
The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. Mensa is a round-table society, where race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant.
What kind of people are members of Mensa?
Generally, Mensans share the following characteristics:
- Highly intelligent (thinking)
- Autonomous (being)
- Many-facetted emotional life (feeling)
- Passionate and curious (wanting)
- Highly sensitive (perceiving)
- Creation-directed (doing)
- Sparkling, original, quick, intense and complex (interplay)
However, there are no prevailing characteristic of Mensa members other than their higher IQ. There are Mensans for whom Mensa provides a sense of family, and others for whom it is a casual social activity. There have been many marriages made in Mensa, but for many people, it is simply a stimulating opportunity for the mind. Most Mensans have a good sense of humor, and they like to talk. And usually, they have a lot to say.
Mensans have ranged in age from 2 to more than 100, but most are between 20 and 60. 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--the diverse list goes on and on. There are famous Mensans and prize-winning Mensans, but there are many whose names you wouldn't know.
Have a look at our list of prominent Mensans here.