Mathematics is not just a tool for analysis but a language of divine nature that was skillfully wielded by the acumen of ‘A beautiful mind’ to herald this world, the sanctity of togetherness and unity. Equations are what mathematicians combat with, to prove their theories and corroborate with evidence to make them facts. John Forbes Nash Jr. can be no exception. Embattling a schizophrenic encounter, he managed to come up with ground-breaking ideas in game theory to make our economic and other interdependent ideas move well ahead. His equations spoke the language of eternal truth, despite the controversies enshrouding his personal qualities.
Apart from his public life, a few argue that he is no cherub and a loving husband as portrayed by the motion picture adaptation of his biography by Sylvia Nasar; neither was his illness so complex as the film told us. The film is the most viable gateway of information about Nash for us- the modern generation- and hence cannot be even omitted from the obituary titles read by various breaking stories since his fatal automobile crash. But, did the movie do justice in not portraying the reality behind the protagonist’s feat and his life beset by a dreadful psychological disorder?
Being treated for paranoid schizophrenia for nearly eleven years, Nash stepped back into his academic pursuit and continued research on game theory. His revelations on this mathematical concept has made lives better ever since, making the mathematician one of the most gifted guardians of our society.
He could have been a ruthless man when he abandoned Eleanor Stier, who was then carrying his son John David Stier, for a reason that her status is inequitable with that of his. There were also allegations that he is a homosexual, an anti-Semite, which created an avalanche of controversy when the film was nominated for the Academy Awards in 2002 and for not portraying the real Nash but only a fictitious fairytale love story.
Even though the allegations, if true, are very much deplorable, the magnitude of prosperity his contribution has brought to our lives can justify the fact that the biopic chronicled only the positive side of his life with an emotional make-believe touch.
Thusly, what is this language his equations foretell us making it an immortal legacy that would endure ageless? Adam Smith, the father of modern economics argued that individuals when intend and act to pursue their self-interest, regardless of the intentions of fellow survivors as an individual or as a group, would bring common good. This self-interest is termed as the invisible hand that fuels the economic activities around us. What common good has this idea brought, even though is irrelevant to this discussion, it sounds a hoggish, self-indulgent ideology that can pose a greater threat as it overlooks the benefit of individuals thinking the common good.
This is where Nash walks in with his altruistic sort of ideology almost 150 years after Smith. Nash argues in contrary to Smith’s ideology that if every individual does what is good for himself along with the consideration of what is good for others, there could be a strategy that everyone could gain, with no one losing. The film quotes John Nash saying Smith’s theory incomplete.
The comparison is made only to establish Dr. Nash’s legacy, but not to undermine Smith’s theory of economics. Dr. Nash extended the game theory of John von Neumann in which ‘I-win-you-lose’ kind of zero-sum conditions are more prevalent to much complex yet favorable situations where everybody win or lose. This sense of social conscience has helped many present day conditions like Federal Reserve policies, auction theory, etc.
Thus, the sense of responsibility towards the cohabitants and the fight for common cause alone can give us better opportunities for stability and harmony in the future. This is indeed the eternal language of truth his equations spoke to us. This is what the biopic had portrayed- the message of togetherness and responsibility that we hold as individuals in creating a strong tomorrow. The movie quotes John Nash (played by Russel Crowe) saying the most important discovery of his life:
“It’s only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found”
The unspoken eternal language of a beautiful mind.
Watch speech of John Nash (played by Russell Crowe) in the movie A Beautiful Mind