In the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, mathematician John Nash struggles with
schizophrenia forcing him to re-evaluate his beliefs and how he actually comes
to know anything. Some observations:
Nash holds to reductionism to justify urges:
Nash: I don’t exactly know what I am required to say in order for you to have intercourse with me. But could we assume that I said all that. I mean essentially we are talking about fluid exchange right? So could we go just straight to the sex.
Beliefs are based on evidence:
Alicia: How big is the universe?
Alicia: How do you know?
Nash: I know because all the data indicates it’s infinite.
Alicia: But it hasn’t been proven yet.
Alicia: You haven’t seen it.
Alicia: How do you know for sure?
Nash: I don’t, I just believe it.
Alicia: It’s the same with love I guess.
All that is real and true is not necessarily based on scientific data:
Alicia: You want to know what’s real? This…
[putting her hand on his heart and his hand on her face]
Alicia: … this is real.
Can we trust our minds to produce and hold true beliefs?
Dr. Rosen: You can’t reason your way out of this!
Nash: Why not? Why can’t I?
Dr. Rosen: Because your mind is where the problem is in the first place!
Nash eventually accepts that the most significant things in his life, and those things which give his life significance, are beyond scientific explanation:
Nash: What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you
[looking at and speaking to Alicia]
Nash: You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.
In the next post, I will discuss A Beautiful Mind in relation to God.