A Lesson from John Nash


[a beautiful mind]

Watching the movie of “A Beautiful Mind” starred by Russell Crowe as John Forbes Nash Jr., remains giving such a deep impression. It is not only because Russel plays perfectly as Professor Nash and the make up which was nearly perfect, but also because the movie offers such a deep inspiring lesson.

The movie is based on a real story about the life of a math professor at Princeton University. The main figure of the story is a professor, John Forbes Nash Jr., who suffered a mental problem but through an amazing long tiring struggle, finally succeeded to win a Nobel Prize in December 1994.

An Illogical Logic

John Nash is a brilliant mathematician who suffered a mental disorder called schizophrenia. As a mathematician, he always does anything based on a reasonable logic. Unfortunately, the logic he applied was triggered by particular occurrences that only happen in his imagination. Mental disorder he experienced provides him imaginations that he actually never experienced. Every single occurrence challenges him to respond, once again, based on his own logic. It is obvious that what he assumes as something logical is illogical to other normal people. His efforts to protect his family from a crime’s attack, for example, in contrary endanger his wife and son because the baddy never exist, indeed. His action touching the face of a little girl he cares about, of course, was an odd doing and surprises everybody sees it because the little girl was actually not there. It was really silly seeing the great Professor Nash touching an empty space as if he touches a little girl’s face. It was strongly confirmed that he is crazy.

A normal person would never understand that what he has done was actually a “truth” as well, at least according to Nash. Every single movement he did has its own reasons, even though nobody can interact to the reasons he believe.

Far from the case of mental disorder, we might not realize that we, ourselves can experience a similar thing. Lack of empathy to what other people do, often turns us into fool who rush in, easily judge and blame other people. Sometimes, I think it is a good idea to be crazy so I can understand others and be wiser.

Compromise, Compromise and Compromise

Nash’s worse health, once again according to normal people, forces his wife to convince him that a hospital-treatment is necessary. As predicted, Nash refused to be taken to the hospital. His refusal definitely strengthens people’s belief that Nash is indeed crazy. Once again, with his standard logic, he explained the negative impacts of the medication. The medication that gives a soothing effect, according to Nash, unexpectedly kills his creativities and slows his response to any occurrence.

At this stage, his wife fully supports him. With her countless patience she understands what have happened to her husband. She, for once again, gives Nash a chance to stay home, instead of being treated in a hospital. This is also an unbelievable compromise; she has shown the real meaning of trust. Finally, with a big trust given by his wife, Nash tries to deny the imaginations coming to his mind. He tries had to convince himself that the imaginations are not real. In the movie, it was told that there are three people who always come and follow wherever Nash goes. The three people tell him to do or not to do something. Most of the time, Nash follows their instructions. That is why Nash looks like a fool to everybody sees him. From the time on, Nash, for sure, denies every single instruction the three people give. What a very hard struggle, indeed. Nash was forced to kill his existing belief and convince himself that neither instruction nor whisper from the three people he should follow. What an amazing compromise. Having been compromising for long time, Nash looks like a normal people. People around him start to think that he has been cured.

Understanding this, it is clear that John Nash has actually never been cured. Unlike what people expect, he is not cured, only compromise. What he does is denying his own belief and tries hard to do what other people expect him to do. He has been done a wonderful compromise: ignoring the three people in his mind just to fulfil the desire of the ordinary people around him. He has to follow their standards. His strength and seriousness to ignore the imagination, finally, leads Nash to be a “normal” person. Undoubtedly, Nash is a tough struggler.

To me, Nash is a guru of life. I wish I can learn from him. To compromise such a complicated problem might be too hard for me. Even to finish a lecture assignment, sometimes I surrender. Ideally we must not surrender. However, compromise is an important part of a struggle. Temptations will always be there. They will never disappear from our life. Only compromise and strong heart can minimise their influences. Once again, they still exist, but give no bad impact.

When Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize and asked to deliver a speech, he still could see the three people sitting at a particular place in the hall. The three people stared him hopelessly. Once again, the three people never disappear from Nash’s life. With his strength and belief, Nash can only convince himself not to interact with them, not to listen to them and not to follow what they ask him to do. That’s it!

At Last, It is the Power of Love

The movie is also about an admirable love. Nash’s wife is a tough woman and extremely patient in living the life. Her heart is fully filled with loves, the unconditional loves that strengthen her to be able to live with his husband, a man with a mental disorder. Loves are the reason why she finally decided to give Nash a second chance to prove that he can escape from the handicap. It is very difficult, in real life, to make such decision. Giving away all the love we have with no condition and dedicating every single step to the wealthiness of the people we love are the true loves themselves. Love gives us belief to the magic of GOD. The unconditional loves liberate Nash’s wife from disappointments. Nash in his speech said that he has finally come to the real discovery in his entire life: LOVE; a discovery that always be the reason for not to surrender.

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Author: Andi Arsana

I am a lecturer and a full-time student of the universe

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