Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Dark Illuminati

Volant is the name of a secret society on Facebook, comprised exclusively of individuals who scored in the 99.87th percentile (3-sigma) on intelligence tests.

Brief Description

Volant aims to evolve into an organization for 3-sigma adults, similar to how the Davidson Institute is an organization for 3-sigma kids. People don't mind putting Davidson on their resume; they often are very hesitant to put a hiq-club on theirs. Volant will be like Davidson.

Long Description:

While we work on evolving into that Davidson group for adults, we're currently the optimal combination of insightful, active, and friendly discussions--even on controversial topics. Volant members are individuals who basically wanted a 3-sigma discussion group that was free of snarkiness, fighting, etc. (sorry, that's still not a lot of high-IQ societies, although many have improved), and also a place where members can network, make friendships, and basically help each other do great things.

Back when Volant was called HiQ-General, members were pooled from TNS, ISPE, OATHS, and adults who were a part of the Davidson Talented and Gifted Program. The high majority of the people in this group are members of one of these four 3-sigma groups. However, Volant also recruited from:

1. Mensa boards (only the people who were routinely insightful and well-behaved);

2. School friends whose test scores qualified them for 3-sigma groups but refused to join any of them.

3. And people who struck members as ridiculously brilliant and well-mannered from their posts elsewhere--including Facebook groups and Facebook itself, but who weren't members of any high-IQ societies.

Nathan Bar-Fields proposed to invite me into Volant on Facebook.  Since, at the advancing age 68, I had no records (or even of any personal recollection) of intelligence test scores dating from the 1960s, I proposed that he simply poll the members as to whether they had any interest in a retired academic such as myself.  I stipulated to Nathan that I would only consider accepting an invitation to participate in Volant if he secured unanimous consent from the current members, with no objections.  I also asked him whether Volant had a Social Contract setting forth the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Terms of Engagement. It emerged that Volant did not have any such Social Contract, nor even a collective understanding of the concept of an Intentional Community operating under a Social Contract Governance Model.

And so I was unanimously invited into Volant, unclear as to whether there was an implicit or tacit Social Contract that could be gleaned from participation, discussion, and dialogue.  Not long after I joined, another participant, Todd Bredbeck, a young red-headed chap who even looks a little like me, started a thread to explore the whole issue:

I'm taking Barry's blog post back up to a new thread. It brings us right back to Nth's initial question of a protocol. I'd be curious for Barry to point to examples of Social Contracts that he is referencing. So far the discussion is hinting at the question: Do we want written and documented rules of acceptable behavior?

And then there ensued a wild and exasperating ride which so divided, disrupted, and discombobulated the participants of Volant that the moderators abruptly and summarily decided to eject me from the group.  One observer from within the group disapproved of my freedom to tell the true story of my own life.

All I can say is, "Harrumph."


Blogger bkunkel said...


3:54 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Alas, the brilliant young members of Volant were not amused.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Right on, bro!

9:47 AM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

2:50 PM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

1:28 AM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

I Was trying to spare you the humiliation since that is a perfect description of you. But if you want it out there, got ahead. I like the truth being out there :) And sure I can even point out that you went so low as to claim that you were dying just not to get kicked out. Shows much about your character. Also you lied about your position in MIT. You are no longer a visiting professor there, and haven’t been one for a very long time. I can keep this up if you want more of what you have done to be out there.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

Oh, so the coward comes forth again! :D The last time I commented here you had to delete your little sad blog, and now that it’s back, I see you deleted my replies but no one else’s so let’s go for a 2nd round shall we?

• You lied about being a visiting professor at MIT. You no longer work there for reasons they do not want to say. Your website is not connected to MIT at all, and it’s very misleading for you to have that. You also kept saying that you were dying when you were being kicked out, to guilt the group into putting up with your nonsense. And why did you forget to mention that plenty of the members are graduates from MIT? Of course they had no problem understanding you. You were the one who could not keep up.

Just look at your pathetic little blog here, it is just silly. I will always come to wherever you write lies, and I'll set things straight. Now for some real quotes from what happened (I feel sorry for you, this must be utterly humiliating for you. I know I said I feel sorry for you, but I think it is important that you know I really just am laughing my sides out! It is fun actually being clever, then one gets to trip cheats and liars );

11:39 PM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

4/26, 9:47am
Barry Kort
Just so you won't be blind-sided, Nathan, please be aware that I have documented my experiences with Volant.

4/26, 10:03am
Nth Bar-Fields
Which I told you is fine. I also told you it's fine to use my name. However, you would need permission to use anyone else's name. If Todd gave you permission to use his, then great. If not, then make him anonymous.

4/26, 10:03am
Barry Kort
I lost the ability to communicate with members of the group.

4/26, 10:04am
Nth Bar-Fields
Then remove his name until you can communicate with him. Stop being childish.

4/26, 10:05am
Barry Kort
But I don't hold anyone responsible for what happened, nor do I intend to shame, blame, or hold anyone up for ridicule. I only intend to bear accurate witness, to tell the true story of my own life.
Nathan, even a child has an unalienable right to tell the true story of his own life.

4/26, 10:06am
Nth Bar-Fields
I am not ashamed. I thought that was clear, when I told you that you can post my name. I am also unimpressed with your attempts to get more attention. You cross the line when you post any other members' name in our group without their permission. Don't play stupid.

4/26, 10:08am
Barry Kort
I am entirely uninterested in attention, Nathan. Almost nobody reads my blog. I'm simply practicing the art of crafting memoirs that tell the true story of my own life. Nobody is obliged to pay the slightest attention to anything I write or say. And most people don't.

4/26, 10:20am
Nth Bar-Fields
If you're entirely uninterested in attention, we'll see how long you can go without contacting me again. Goodbye.

4/26, 10:24am
Barry Kort
Talk to you later, Nathan.
Try to catch today's podcast with Douglas Hofstadter on The Brain as an Analogy Machine.
You can listen to it live via streaming audio, or catch the podcast later.
Tom Ashbrook's guests for the hour are:
Douglas Hofstadter, Distinguished College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Cognitive Science and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. Author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book “Gödel, Escher, Bach.” Co-author of “Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking.”
Emmanuel Sander, professor of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology at the University of Paris (Saint-Denis), specializing in the study of analogy-making and categorization and their connections to education. Co-author of “Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking.”
• April 27, 2013

4/27, 7:45am
Barry Kort
Hi Nathan.
Any Saturday Morning Quarterbacking to report?
Are people still furious? Laughing? Confused? Exhausted?
Social Groups are remarkable creatures. Among the academics who studied them was a notable Cultural Anthropologist named Victor Turner. He observed the aftermath of a Breach of Expectations and modeled that aftermath in terms of a model he called Liminal Social Drama.
Has anyone gained any insight or become enlightened from yesterday's example of Liminal Social Drama?
Here, for your reference, is my summary of Victor Turner's model of Liminal Social Drama, in the wake of a Breach of Expectations:

Sociologist Victor Turner made seminal contributions to the process of modeling the dynamics of social groups in the wake of a Breach of Expectations with his pathbreaking notions of Communitas and Liminal Social Drama.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

It pays off to actually be clever, it is so easy to spot when someone is lying and cheating :)

11:42 PM  
Blogger Lawliet River said...

Oh, I also recorded your entire site this time. So when we come to round 3, I will just have to re-post this blog. The same with round 4, and so on forever until you give up.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Lawliet River, you appear to be hopelessly self-deluded.

This blog has never been deleted. Nor were your previous comments deleted. However, the first two comments you posted (some two years ago) had no content in them, and so they were trapped as "spam" (that being the category for irrelevant comments in general). I've exposed them, so that you can see for yourself that you initially posted a pair of empty comments.

The balance of your ranting and trolling is similarly indicative of arrogance, narcissism, and inexplicable self-delusion, and thus unworthy of serious consideration or response.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Update ...

Lawliet River, it appears you deleted the content your own initial pair of comments in this thread.

I went back to my notifications in GMail and found this item from 12/7/13:

Lawliet River has left a new comment on your post "The Dark Illuminati":

Wow, someone is a lemon. Bitter, that is. You got thrown out for misconduct and now you whine. Why not write here that you repartitioned into the group? You sure came crawling back after being "miss hard to get". Lose those delusions you have of yourself. You are nothing but an old man with nothing to offer to any community aiming to thrive in intellectual debate. Example you ask? Here you are, making a slander-site. Pathetic, and never worthy of being in that group. That much I can tell from your poor reasoning on this site, not to mention false information. Most impressive thing you ever did in your life is coning your way in, in the first place.

At the time, I had no idea who you were (actually I still don't) and concluded you had me confused with someone else, as your bizarre characterization, above, bore little resemblance to my brief encounter with the Nth and Volant.

Yesterday, I was puzzled over the origins of the dialogue you reproduced here. This morning it occurred to me that it must have been from a Facebook Chat.

And sure enough, you apparently have obtained and reproduced here a portion of that Facebook Chat between Nathan Bar-Fields and myself. I presume he shared it with the members of Volant.

Since you have taken the liberty of publishing a portion of that chat conversation, let me complete the process by publishing the entire (unedited) conversation from start to finish.

I have copied and pasted it from Facebook to my Google Sites pages at Burnt Umbrage here:

Volant Invitation from Nathan Bar-Fields

As you can discern from the totality of that conversation, your impression about how I came to be invited into Volant is perplexingly misguided.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Nth BarFields said...

Barry, This is Nth. I just Googled my name, and was surprised to come across my entire private conversation with you for anyone to read.

I had heard that you had posted private messages of mine and of innocent members in Volant who did not give you permission to tell the world they were members before back in 2013, but I didn't give it much thought, as it resulted in some people wanting to join Volant (And we kind of adopted the nickname "Dark Illuminati" after you called us that, as it is unintentionally funny :-) ).

But this whole blog entry and your follow up replies to Lawliet are incredibly disturbing in a pathological way.

I have no idea why you keep fixating on Volant. I'm sorry Volant didn't work out for you, but do you find it a little disturbing you keep posting private messages to express your discontent? Not that I have anything to hide, but you didn't ask my permission and that is a tremendous violation of civility and trust, which is--poetically enough-- what forced us to remove you in the first place.

Plus, I can't help but notice your efforts to share your "unadulterated biography" skip a lot of things, like you not mentioning you no longer work at MIT and haven't for a very long time (As far as I can tell, they let you go, though I don't know for sure), yet you still described yourself as such to me and others when I introduced you to everyone else in Volant. Why would you do that? We'd have accepted you either way? It wasn't your title as a "visiting scientist at MIT" that we cared about. It was your potential for thoughts and friendship we cared about.

I could go on and on, but you characterizing us as being too slow for you or too immature...well, anyone with basic reasoning powers who even reads what you selected to share can figure out that is inaccurate if they wanted.

And it had nothing to do with smarts, anyway (we have people in the group who got PhDs in physics from MIT at precocious ages). It had everything to do with you being quite rude to others and demanding so much attention and(as this blog entry indicates) validation from everyone else when we just wanted to treat you as an equal, not as our superior.

Volant simply cannot support people who behaved like you did. No hard feelings then, no hard feelings now.

I'm saying this not as a friend, because we both know friendship is unlikely between us, but as a person with a pretty balanced mind who wishes the best for everyone, including you: really reconsider your actions here. It looks quite disturbing from my POV.

Oh, and for everyone else reading this, please check out a radio interview we recently had about Volant and its umbrella group Elysian Trust. It's the best retort I can think of to Barry's view of matters.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Hi Nth,

You lost me.

I had totally forgotten about this blog post until I received a sequence of four e-mail alerts of new comments here from Lawliet River, all dated Feb 27, 2015.

The time stamps on the four e-mail alerts were:

Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:39 PM
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:39 PM
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:42 PM
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:49 PM

I didn't recognize the name "Lawliet River" as anyone I knew or had corresponded with before. However, I discovered that there is a user on Google Plus with that same name who has you a follower.

I also discovered that the name, Lawliet River, corresponds to a pair of characters in a Japanese Manga fantasy fiction series who are detectives, variously known as Nate ("Near") River and L Lawliet.

The series revolves around an artifact known as a Death Note (after which the entire series evidently named).

I don't know the real person behind the Lawliet River moniker, but he does have this profile picture and also this one (his "Rat's Ass" avatar, used here).

I have no idea why this curious individual posted four comments on this old blog past last February 27th, why he deleted two of them, and what this intrigue is all about.

My follow-up comments here on February 28 and March 1 were to document, as best I could, what this was all about.

Can you help solve the mystery of what this is all about? I dunno if it adds up to a pathology or just a really intriguing mystery (patterned after the Japanese "Death Note" Manga fantasy fiction mystery series).

You have a conference ("Volant") with some really smart people in it. Maybe they can all put their heads together and solve the mystery for me.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Nth BarFields said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Nth BarFields said...

I'm sorry you got lost again. I'm not sure what mystery needs to be solved. Lawliet is the user name of a Volanteer. As for deleting them, I understand from him he did not delete anything, and what was "recovered" by you is not all he or you wrote originally.

I don't care which one of you are telling the truth. What I care about--and you keep glazing over, which is bizarre to me--is why are you continually sharing private messages?

Actually, I suppose I already know. The same way I know why you conveniently did not address anything else I mentioned.
C'est la vie.

On the flip side, your blog did pique interest into Volant when it first came out. So there has been an unintended benefit.

Again, I encourage people to listen our radio interview.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

What private message are you referring to?

5:32 PM  

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