Saturday, May 22, 2010

To Be John Nash Or Not To Be

Last night, I watched the Oscars-winning movie, A Beautiful Mind, a biopic of American mathematician, John Nash, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly (winner of Best Supporting Actress for her role here). It focused on his life and how he struggled with paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness.

For those who don't know who is John Nash, he is the Noble prize winner for his works in developing game theory. Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is widely used in the social sciences, economics, evolutionary biology, and so on. It even can be applied into our daily lives. In fact, game theory will be incorporated into my final year project.

The movie was rather entertaining as it showed how he came up with the theory, how his delusions ended up ruining his career, and how he overcame his mental illness and got back into the limelight. But, as movie tends to dramatise a lot, it's hard to know whether everything that's in the movie is true or not. So, I Wiki-ed it (whenever in doubt, go Wiki it) and it appeared that he really did suffer from schizophrenia.

One interesting fact is that the movie depicted him as a mathematical genius but with social disadvantages, as in he's not people-person. How true is it I do not know but a lot of geniuses are of such disabilities. I mean, the minds of the geniuses are too complicated that they sometimes find it hard to mix with ordinary peoples. Therefore, being genius is not really all shiny thing.

Take John Nash for example. He's amazing, being able to generate such theory with his mind but, if based solely on the movie, he's a socially awkward person. He doesn't understand the necessity of social conducts. And in his later life, he started to have delusions that he was part of a secret mission and that there's people out there trying to kill him. Being a genius is a hard thing.

If we were given a choice before we were born, would you choose to be born as a genius whose life works will win you all the prizes in the world and greatly influence the world but with a poor understanding of social conducts? Or who you rather be born as an ordinary person who does not have any impact on the world but can mingles with people? I would rather be just a normal person for being a genius comes with a lot of baggages. How about you?


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Ultraman Jino said...

i would want to be a half half then. part time genius, full time ordinary boy... hope you dont suffer that disease. i have not met you lol.

[Jino] - A man's not a man unless he knows how to shoot