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Thursday, October 17, 2002 - Beneficial Mistakes.



Thursday, October 17 20002 - Beneficial mistakes.

                        Mini-briefing on meeting: Theodore Natsinas


(This is Dimitri Boscainos finally translating this page on behalf of Theodore Natsinas. Theodore asked me to translate this page, myself being a professional translator, so that Konrad would cherish Theodore's reporting of the meeting in which Konrad was a participant. Unfortunately, Theodore's style in reporting the events struck me as odd at best so I decided against it at first. Finally, considering Theodore's high expectations of me, I relented and here is the result. Theodore hopes that these elements of his style that repelled me will be extinct in the future, so you will be reading professional-grade translations out of his hand. He reckons that this page about mistakes made him stand out as a mistake champion. He hopes indeed to break the world record, trying his hand on a French translation, when he has not worked on a French text since 1972 when he graduated from the Lycee Leonin in Nea Smyrne -New Smyrna, Athens- and he has never beeen good at it...)

Change in the location of Thursday meetings.

ATHENS PLAZA is at Syntagma Square, at the corner of Stadiou Street. It is near a Metro station (on the same side of the street with the Metro entrance). There are many rooms with adequate lighting so we can take a look at the Club's magazine or one of Dimitri's tests...

 ATHENS PLAZA. (The hotel page on the Internet...)

Beneficial mistakes.

I suppose that beneficial mistakes are those which we do not make again. One of the mistakes I had been making until April 1986 was smoking. It proved beneficial because instead of "quitting" smoking, I substituted creative effort for it. In this way I avoided a relapse up to the present day, as well as the unconscious substitution with something as or more harmful. I will check on Thursday to see if we are in the mood during conversation to refer to other beneficial mistakes.

I can now report, the Thursday meeting over, that the only mistake we discussed was one brought to my attention by Christos Samaras: "You saw Vana Barba, and you didn't see Zoe Lascari?" As you might well imagine I was watching Zoe Lascari's back and I didn't recognize her last Thursday. I was however particularly impressed by Christo's ease in recognizing her.

I expect to put here some information on a mobile phone exposition that Christos will send me.

Last Thursday we also had a guest from France, a member of the council of Mensa France, born in Germany, Konrad Hinsen who is a research biophysicist of the French Ministry of Research. I expect a reporting of him too, which will be entered here.

At two in the morning when I left the hotel, the meeting was not over yet.

Yorghos Papadhemetriou was impressed that a self-standing Ministry of Research exists in France, while I expected it but had to be sure.

There was something which I heard from Konrad that particularly interested me. He said that he had bought the book of a famous university professor of Biology in France, who among the subjects he is dealing with in his book, mentions Mensa as well, saying that IQ tests have no meaning at all and that associations such as Mensa make no sense. Konrad added that he believes that the professor in question would pass the test if he attempted it and with high marks. Then I humorously said that if this professor had been with us I would say that we have powerful indications from Biology that Man has no capacity for photosynthesis, he depends entirely on the consumption of plants and animals in order to live and he is a parasitic being, therefore there is no sense in the study of Biology by such a being, so if the existence of man is already something without meaning, there is even less meaning in someone studying and teaching his Biology. Of course I said all that humorously, based on a principle of Psychology that we see in others our own attributes (defense mechanisms of projection) and guessing from that that in order for the professor to deal with a negative way with IQ tests and Mensa, he would not be in good terms with himself. Konrad's laughter made me feel that he not only understood the game I made up in order for us to laugh, but probably made further thoughts...

An exceptionally interesting coincidence was that the first two friends that came to the meeting, spoke exceptionally well Konrad's mother language, German, and conversed with him in it flawlessly. Those were Alekos Kyrillopoulos who has lived in Germany and Tasos Mesikhrones who is an interpreter!

In the end for the good of all present, we all spoke in English, because that was the language we could all speak. A little later Yorghos Kleitsas came. He had met Konrad in Zagreb and learning that Konrad would stop in Greece on his way, updated him about the meetings.

It was a funny happening, when Konrad arrived at the hotel and he was looking for Yorgho, who hadn't arrived yet. Watching him look, I made a "hesitant" nod towards him. He noticed it but because of its hesitancy he thought that I had made a mistake and had understood it. We immediately and discreetly examined each other from a distance and were certain, each on his own, that "he can't be a Mensa member". I then thought that I would not let a member of our association in trouble, just because I wanted to keep my dignity, and I nodded for him to come forward in order for us to meet and speak. at the same time preparing what I would say in English: "I'm sorry but we expect someone we haven't already met...". The rest would be simple. But he cut me short: "You are the members of Hellenic Mensa." It seems that members of this associations do not "show" visually, we don't possess something different which would demonstrate that we are Mensa members. But during the conversation it soon showed that we have points in common, such as directness, simplicity, a sense of humor, a good mood and satisfaction out of quick communication.

I learned with interest that Konrad had left his home at the age of 4 because of his father's work obligations. His father stayed in every place for about 8 years. Konrad has an older sister, who settled permanently in Germany and is a lawyer while he is working abroad, employed as a researcher by the French government. Above all, I enjoyed all that was said by all that were present, even what German I heard which I didn't understand, to which I laughed not at the jokes that were said, but at the expression of the talkers when they laughed at a joke. This was in contrast to particular moments when someone of us missed something from what was said in English, but laughed sheepishly pretending to understand, something that none of us could "stomach", but made allowances for the others. There was at least one time when we laughed exactly at this ability to distinguish what was not essential from the conversational tone and not ask for a repetition of what was said in order to understand it better. Surely now that I am writing these lines I secretly laugh at the realization that we might have missed something good by this tactic of ours... However the good of communication and mutual keeping up-to-date was in abundance for all.

We concluded that it would serve to notify all Mensa members throughout the world about our interest to welcome and talk with them (at one moment Alekos turned around and said that after a year and a half the English SIG was back in operation...) With more than 100,000 members in all countries of the world, there must be some members from other countries in Athens every day, they just don't know that we have organized the Thursday meetings.

As a first step I will send to the webmasters of every country a link towards the English page that Dimitri has translated which provides instructions on how to contact us.

Monday, October 21 20:20 - Started sending emails "Invitation to Thursday meetings for International Members that happen to be in Athens".

20:49 Last email was sent.

Text of email:

Open invitation for Mensans visiting Athens Greece


1st Right after my message!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Theodoros,

Thank you for your invitation!
I will post it on our internal member-pages.

Best regards

Henrik Johansen,
Advisory IT specialist

hostmaster / webmaster
MENSA Danmark

To be continued...

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