Sunday, 6 November 2011
John Forbes Nash Jr.- Broken Genius
A figure of intrigue caught in the midst of predicament after predicament. Yet yearns to crack the conundrum teasing the likes of the most eminent figures in the realm of logic, mathematics and computation. John Forbes Nash remained in the public spotlight as a charismatic mathematician, climbing the ever growing ladder of success and recognition, that is on the surface of course. Deep inside this eccentric alpha-male is a bitter battle with the odds, one spanning the course of decades. Currently, this individual has been fixed into my thought, having started his biography by Sylvia Nassar, A Beautiful Mind, I seek Nash from the inside out. His specialty, Game Theory, is at the cutting edge of human rationality on the mathematical level, seeking calculated instances to taste the very fruits of success. This concept made him a pioneer of modern mathematical logic and won him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. His breakdown is nothing short of breathtaking, with human rationality on one side the other held a bizarre and radical twist. Firmly, adamant regarding his mathematical wisdom as a revelation from extraterrestrials, he was diagnosed with a mental disorder, Schizophrenia. An ordeal spanning the course of decades, having been committed to the custody of mental institutions. For a man who achieved so much, his tale seems far-fetched, a fabrication to some minds, a mythology to others. Nash is the predominant proof of the mind's shortcomings. His passion for mathematical logic and age old conundrums drove him to discover conventional wisdom for himself, pushing away the literature. The biography first published in 1994, provides an ever revealing insight into his psychology, the mentality that drove him to be what he was and achieve was he aspired. Nash is a figurehead, not of the mathematical or philosophical fronts, but of the mind and the very consciousness encapsulated within it. His disorderly twist often breeds stigma, encouraging perspective to dwell on the psychiatric fronts rather than the computational lanscape he rules, when one thinks John Nash, they think Schizophrenia. The esoteric view is one I personally commend, indiscriminate of the circumstance,; Nash is a visionary, a pioneer with an uncanny twist. A very conservative point in comparison to the near five hundred or so pages of Nassar's biography. What drives individuals like Nassar to document in depth the lives ans times of such individuals still dumbfounds me, in the sense that such eccentric exploits do not fit into the categorisation of 'beautiful' as the title suggests, rather 'subtle' as the lexicon proposes. Nash made his way into this not as a result of his wisdom and flair, rather the intrigue that lies within his psyche, that is what interests me as an Academic.