The Mega Foundation was conceptualized and created in the summer of 1999 by neuropsychologist Gina Lynne Langan and blue-collar cosmologist Christopher Michael Langan as a hopeful haven for the severely-gifted. They were aided by other members of the intellectual community including theoretical physicist Robert N. Seitz (formerly of NASA), who agreed to bring the fruits of his long history of interest and involvement in issues of severe giftedness to the Board of Directors.
The Foundation was incorporated in December of 1999 and was awarded tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization by the IRS on June 1, 2000. The Foundation moved its headquarters to the Green Hills area of Missouri in 2004 and is incorporated as a nonprofit organization in that state. Although the degree of involvement of some of the participants has waxed and waned – such is the nature of volunteerism – the Board has remained stable, and the Mega Foundation today enjoys the participation of a core group of volunteers working on a variety of exciting projects, including conferences and retreats held in cyberspace and on location.
The impetus behind the creation and selection of such a group was simple. Noting that many of those whose real-world accomplishments reflect enormous intellect and creativity lack the time and interest to sit still for an IQ test, they concluded that the profoundly gifted should be classified not only on the basis of standardized testing, but real-life intellectual promise and achievement. They reasoned that by carefully applying such criteria to the general population, they could develop a hand-picked core group of high-caliber intellects into a lively and productive organization dedicated to the practical furtherance of genius and its supporting ideals.
Soon, however, it became clear that a more worthwhile goal would be to help the “severely gifted,” who often fall through the cracks of an educational system which is unable to satisfy their rage to learn… a system geared to the average student and often held to the pace of the slowest. That such people exist is beyond doubt; Christopher Langan, profiled in the November 1999 issue of Esquire Magazine as “the smartest man in America,” provides an instructive example. After being failed by the academic bureaucracy, he had to satisfy his intellectual hunger in nearly total isolation from the wider intellectual community.
The greatest additions to the intellectual wealth of mankind are often the greatest departures from orthodoxy; yet, orthodoxy is the mainstay of educational bureaucracy. Although the arts and sciences were born in the minds of people without formal training or certification, such minds still languish in isolation, misunderstood and stigmatized by those of more common bent; for some of them, merely buying a needed book can entail major financial hardship. With luck, many of these minds could be tentatively identified by means of standardized testing. But in a substantial number of cases they cannot, and other means must be used to find them. The goal of the Mega Foundation is to locate and nurture them regardless of formal educational background or academic credentials.
A variety of approaches are taken by the Mega Foundation in its efforts to help the severely gifted. One is to provide intellectual fellowship through which the profoundly gifted can overcome their natural tendency to become isolated in a desert of misunderstanding. Another is mentoring, whereby those of great promise can receive the kind of specialized personal guidance that will bring their gifts to flower. Yet another will be direct financial assistance designed to ease the financial burdens of research – obtaining books, study and communication aids like computers and Internet access, and living space near research centers (in the future, we hope to offer a retreat compound for creative development and intellectual stimulation).
In the realm of the intellect, a little can sometimes accomplish a lot. Due to their focus on the intellectual rather than the material side of life, the severely gifted are often skilled in the art of living on a shoestring; to many of them, a hundred dollar grant to buy books would be a windfall, and a fast new computer would seem like a gift from heaven. The intellectual history of humanity, to which modern academia is a relatively recent and sometimes ineffective addition, offers ample evidence that there is a need for the Mega Foundation…a need that academia, due to its rigid bureaucracy, cannot fill. The motto of the Mega Foundation is “Change the Worldview; Change the World.” Our brightest minds are our greatest and most cost-effective resource, and the chance of helping even one “real genius” whose work is of critical benefit to the world justifies helping a thousand of extraordinary promise.
Copyright © Mega Foundation. All Rights Reserved.