A Brilliant Madness: John Nash

A Brilliant Madness: John Nash

Psychology  -   93 Comments
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Ratings: 7.98/10 from 84 users.

A Brilliant Madness - John NashA Brilliant Madness is the story of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by a descent into madness. At the age of 30, John Nash, a stunningly original and famously eccentric MIT mathematician, suddenly began claiming that aliens were communicating with him and that he was a special messenger.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Nash spent the next three decades in and out of mental hospitals, all but forgotten. During that time, a proof he had written at the age of 20 became a foundation of modern economic theory. In 1994, as Nash began to show signs of emerging from his delusions, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics. The program features interviews with John Nash, his wife Alicia, his friends and colleagues, and experts in game theory and mental illness.

Go beyond the Oscar-winning drama "A Beautiful Mind" and learn more about the life of troubled mathematician and Nobel Prize-winner John Nash and his struggle with mental illness in this PBS "American Experience" documentary. Exclusive interviews with Nash and wife Alicia are included.

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Douglas Goldfarb
Douglas Goldfarb
2 months ago

Can I douglas goldfarb be all I can be with debbie ann kearney

Douglas Goldfarb
Douglas Goldfarb
2 months ago

Would russell crow like to play a game

Douglas Goldfarb
Douglas Goldfarb
2 months ago

Yes can russell crow design a sequel to beautiful mind with John nash junior knowledge can john nash junior equilibrium dynamics princeton university knowledge model from key equations

ASF
ASF
6 years ago

Is the repeat @ 35:00, 38:00 to give a taste of madness

MadBrit
MadBrit
6 years ago

I believe in God - I don't believe in Bitcoin

Che45
Che45
7 years ago

Im not sure if you people are all nuts or genius? Forget a beautiful mind watch the movie "pi"

Leigh Atkins
Leigh Atkins
7 years ago

The Eagles sang it best - "So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we had the key"...
We as humans deny our own power every single day in one way or another. John Nash always had the ability to 'decide' to force himself to 'think' rationally all along, but he chose to deny his own ability to do it for his own reasons (I believe that one of them was "freedom from conformity" among others no doubt). But one thing I've learned about humanity is that we NEVER EVER do something (or not do something) unless there's a payback - even if it's self-destructive, there's always a payback of some kind & whatever his reasons, he let it go on that long almost by choice. There may have been a stage where it didn't even occur to him that he had a choice. But once he realized it, he made a decision & that was that. It was that simple - a decision. I've seen people do it a hundred times myself.
We have a startling amount of personal power & control over the way we think & behave, but the world is telling us that we don't & it's a gigantic lie, because once you discover it, your whole world changes. And you only have to DECIDE that you want to know about it, to 'see' it. We are the only creatures who have the ability to switch our own epigenetic switches through choice & sculpt our own minds through choice & to neglect or deny that power is terrible.
Every thing, every second, every action, every day is a choice, and every single one of us has it.

bluetortilla
bluetortilla
8 years ago

Our condolences on their passing so suddenly. It would seem that life gave the poor Nash family many unwelcome surprises.
Nash's mathematical contributions were great and there can be no doubt of his genius, but paranoid schizophrenia is a horrifying and completely debilitating disease. It ruined the genius he had and destroyed not only his own life for a long time but also the lives of those around him. It is a happy fact indeed that he went on to regain lucidity and his memories. There is no genius in psychosis, only very painful and frightening suffering. Those who think Nash went on to discover something deeper in his illness, or that he was prosecuted for 'being different' have no clue on the nature of the disorder. With great compassion I would say that Nash is as famous as he is because of the stigmatizing nature of his illness, and that aspect of him has been exploited many times over by the media, including in this documentary.
Whether or not he deserved the Nobel Prize I cannot say- my understanding of math is way too puny to even began to understand what he was doing.

josephbstewart
josephbstewart
8 years ago

With sadness; Dr. John Nash and his wife, Alicia, died yesterday [05-23-2015] in a MVA on the NJ Turnpike.

Oz
Oz
8 years ago

John Nashis not alone in hismental delusions.
My question is howis it possible so many others have had the same dillusion?

I AM SURE JOHN NASHCOULD WORK IT OUT MATHEMATICALLY

Pysmythe
Pysmythe
8 years ago

John Nash and Louis Nirenberg were just announced co-winners of the Abel Prize in Mathematics for work they did in the fifties. ;)

awful_truth
awful_truth
9 years ago

An excellent documentary regarding John Nash that epitomizes the fine line between genius, and insanity. His statement that 'rational thought is a form of conformity; is insightful in itself, when you consider the idiosyncratic behaviour of people such as Albert Einstein, and Sir Isaac Newton. Interestingly, I have seen another documentary after the 2008 economic collapse where Nash himself admits that the experts in the economic community placed too much importance on the mathematics of game theory. Perhaps his journey down the rabbit hole and back has exposed his inherent strength in thinking itself. Definitely worth checking out!

Kimberley
Kimberley
9 years ago

Thank you so much for this thoughtful depiction of Mr. Nash and mental illness. Well done!

kali97
kali97
11 years ago

what year was this documentary made? please help, need to reference it for a paper

abdulwalee
abdulwalee
11 years ago

He was possessed by a Jinn...

oppose09
oppose09
11 years ago

Obama winning the nobel peace prize would point to some sort of organized conspiracy which has nothing to do with this doc.

You cant claim there is no organized plot for power and domination over others!

A Aristodemou
A Aristodemou
11 years ago

a perfect mind, a perfect man

Hemen Evul Talib
Hemen Evul Talib
11 years ago

I believe this man NEVER became ill, I can not explain everything, but...
A genius becoming "ill" just the time of his best days, and the times he began wondering about a conspiracy connected to the magazines, and the pope, and subliminal messages telling him things, THIS man was genius enough to almost discover the secret society called (illuminati)....

This man became the victim of all the theories of how illuminati gets rid of people that threat their secrecy, or undercover society, ( this man didnt know how to explain it, There maybe wasnt any aliens connecting with him ) but there were things he couldnt explained, things that were as mysteries as aliens, things as Illuminati, this also explains MUCH of his illness in the brain, THATS where illuminati always points, they destroys our minds, This is what they did to this genius, They made a scandal out of him because he was a threat to them and their undercover..

Everything makes perfect sense, just think about it, NONE of his relatives could explain his (sudden illness), and when he arrived home from the treatments, he couldnt explain the hard level of medications on him, and he also spoke of amnesia, forgetting his memory, "slower mind thinking was also mentioned of happening after his treatments, I beg to those who know much about the illuminati to watch this again and think about it. It makes perfect sense, at first they didnt know about John nash, till john nash was about 30 years old and his success reached the magazines, meaning, the illuminati found out about this genius, and they took nash down because nash alone couldnt stop them, he was too unaware of the secret society of the bavarian illuminati...

HOW COME that he didnt get a nobel prise for his work that actually helped the monetarisystem , The monetarisystem is "totally 100%" controlled by the illuminati nowadays, and by knowing that nash was a genius and came up with the strategy-games , they used his work for their own profits and nash was forgotten about.... Please dont ignore the facts...., I'm totally convinced by my theory, it makes more sense the more u think about it...

James Kirk
James Kirk
11 years ago

power that can tip over the edge if not controled from within

wt1776
wt1776
11 years ago

Powerful documentary of a great man.

Mistymoo
Mistymoo
12 years ago

Fantastic doco

John Krisfalusci
John Krisfalusci
12 years ago

wow hes like me, i studied advanced mathematics in middle school and i entered the us navy as a nuclear reactor operator electronics technician when i was 18, and i too went through delusions and fear that the government was spying on me; and i too, just recently, at age 29 realizing how beautiful life is after quitting meds cold turkey. it is a wonderful thing, and i still refuse to get a job because of w2s. ^_^

Aldo Solari
Aldo Solari
12 years ago

An exceptionally good documentary. We are lucky there are docu producers who know how to grasp the souls and works of others. Thank you.

Aldo Solari
Aldo Solari
12 years ago

It is amazing (and it happens, frequently) that people dislike brilliant mathematicians (and theorists, in general) while functional analphabets who appear on the TV screen are cheered up by the hundreds of millions ...

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

"I am not thinking anything crazy but there are different possibilities. I don't know what the future holds exactly, even if it's not such a long future...(pause) for me. Of course the future in general is presumably long, unless things really got bad, unless a miracle happens"
Those are the last words that were chosen for this film, they are very profound and calculated on his part, we can feel the hesitation in the pause, the perception that lives inside of him, a dialogue he has learned to keep quiet to the outside.
And then he puts the dot on his " i " board, right in the center.
az

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

After following this conversation between you three, i decided to give this doc a viewing. I found it to be amazing. I too had seen the Hollywood movie but this is so much better with the addition of interviews of the real Nash.
I like when he says something in the line of "those thoughts came the same way math solutions came, so i believed them".
So many attrocities were performed on people who were considered insane in those days (and perhaps it is still happening in different ways), i remember hearing a lot about the asylum St Jean de Dieu in Montreal, lobotomies was their specialty.
Despite the wide abuse, Muniz received a nobel prize for his work on lobotomies in 1949.
az

knowledgeizpower
knowledgeizpower
12 years ago

@Pysmythe I just watched this one and I liked it thanks.... I remember watching the movie based on his life. This gets into more detail like his first marriage and older child. His wife loved him dearly I was happy to hear they got remarried again. But I like the ending how he personally says he recovered schizophrenia he says he just willed it and decided to think rationally that is touching. I don't suffer from this disease you already know because I shared with you about my bouts with depression/anxiety which we have in common. I just don't want to be medicated anymore so I just quit taking meds that was hard as hell to do because of the withdrawls how it makes you feel.

But as I have gotten older and understand of hows and whys I feel this way and how I can deal each day I had to look back some years. I think it started with me when I was 15 years old. Things that were happening in my life with family and deaths that occured just alot of compacted events stacked on top of one another that is like too much pressure and i start breaking down you know. So its more of like my environment and what is happening around me that I like feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders type of feeling. I don't have to allow these things right so I have learned that over time. And I also have learned that I choose situations choose my environment sometimes in order for me to stay sane I have to seperate myself from negative people and situations no matter what like choosing the right relationships choosing positive friendships even staying away from family members that cause me stress thats a Big one For Me Lol... I have this bad thing about thinking I can fix everything like if someone has a problem like I can help and with situations that I have no control over and stuff I have that real bad I have to catch myself. Like I have always been responsible person but I Am Not Resposible For Anyone But Myself and My Children. People can come and talk to me about Their Problems like certain friends and Family and Their Issues for comfort and support I like want to help them but really Their Problems or Constant Problems they are having I can't fix and that stresses me out...It sounds crazy right... But anyway I have to stop that and think about myself but I just don't want to be selfish if that makes sense. So thats why I should choose friends choose to be around family choose to have relationships that are positive because I really want to be positive as well...In a way maybe you might act this way too or have some of the same feelings you are a good guy I like Ya..Gawsh Was That a Load?? lol okay anyway Pysmythe I"ll check back with ya later....Peace

Epicurus
Epicurus
12 years ago

I love this documentary and this man. he is a great case study for schizophrenia and how a stubborn logical mind can sometimes defeat even psychological delusions.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Its a real shame that we don't see more of these stories, showing the other side of 'madness'. Unless your life is in some way affected by it, its all to easy to assume the worst or avoid the issue completely. My family has its fair share of sideways thinkers and though it can be difficult at times it can also be a joy, and in its own way very liberating. It can be a lonely world for these people, would it hurt to stop and chat now and then instead of shying away? They don't bite, (well not always!) its not catching and it does help :)

Aaron King
Aaron King
12 years ago

Liev Schreiver is an excellent narrator. Highly underrated.

Hodd
Hodd
12 years ago

No doubt they lock him up then and give him Thorazine, a chemical lobotomy. Gimme a break. No wonder he had such a hard time recovering.

ProudinUS
ProudinUS
13 years ago

Sorry "Nobel" prize I meant to say

ProudinUS
ProudinUS
13 years ago

Great doc. I Got kind of emotional when he received the Noble prize.

I could have used his mind last week when I lost a hundred bucks playing poker!

debbye
debbye
13 years ago

this was wonderful & i had several tears in my eyes when he received the Nobel.

thank you Vlatko, for this site!

Druidia
Druidia
13 years ago

Truly one of the greatest exponents of the old saw that "there is a fine line between genius and madness." An awe-inspiring story.

sara
sara
13 years ago

love this doc

rationallyinsane
rationallyinsane
13 years ago

people, go read "Inherit the Wind" solves the oppositional opinion on science and religion

Hyde
Hyde
13 years ago

What I'm trying to get across is that both scientists and preachers have an irrational sense of superiority, thus, the never-ending battle between the Christian and the analyst is redundant in the first place.

I never argued that they didn't differ in other aspects ( such as findings ). I'm arguing the irrationality of a person who has decided that everyone must think they way he does... Else wise face his "internet tough guy" act.

danzoes
danzoes
13 years ago

Hyde you dud... reread kyles message.
Kyle wasnt upset about religions pushiness (even though it is), but rather its irrationality.

How dare you compare a preacher and a scientist. The mere fact that you do conveys your own ignorance.
Preachers and scientists differ in the way one can prove their findings (i.e. truth) :)

Go and learn a thing or two about science.

Hyde
Hyde
13 years ago

How ignorant of you, Kyle.
You call yourself rational yet you attack someone who believes differently. You're upset that someone is pushing their belief on someone else, then you turn around and do the same thing. I'm impressed at your overwhelming hypocrisy.

Preachers and scientists alike are bigoted narcissists.

Farabi
Farabi
13 years ago

okay,no need to answer that, I've read the previous comment. :p

Farabi
Farabi
13 years ago

well said, kyle.

His situation seems very much similar to the mathmatician in the movie 'the beautiful mind', as far as I can remember. the role was played by Russel Crow. was it based on John Nash's life?

Survey Berbayar Manif
Survey Berbayar Manif
13 years ago

Saw this after (re)watching A Beautiful Mind. Have to say that its quite different from the hollywood version. Nevertheless, quite an inspirational story :)

Oh, n btw Karen, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) was not God, he never even claimed to be God in the bible, nor did he mention anywhere for him to be worshiped. He was however a great prophet, but still a man... I think it's better if you stick to the concept of God being one... and he never did become a man :)

Which brings me to the question... what happened with John Nash's 'quest' of finding God?

Kyle
Kyle
13 years ago

Karen, Karen, Karen... How ignorant of you to assume someone besides yourself, cares with one cell of their body about "god"... Doc Nash is a Scientist, us rational people cannot put faith in a fairy tale... Which unfortunately the traditional Christian god from the writings in the bible is fictional. Maybe you will FIND that some day, or better yet maybe it will find you when someone shoots your husband in the head for the 20 in his pocket so the crack-head can buy his fix, where you will ask "where is God???" yeah. You'll know right then. No God. or at least not one that gives a f*ck about any of us. Please refrain from ever telling someone about them finding "God".

Karen
Karen
13 years ago

I wish that I could assure My. Nash personally that his efforts to prove the existence of God were noble even though fruitless. God does exist. He is Jesus Christ. Mr. Nash, I pray that you find Him or better yet, He finds you.

Tom
Tom
13 years ago

A beautiful documentary. Very inspirational.

ann walsh
ann walsh
14 years ago

This is the first film I ever saw that a person with Mental Illness of his type was ever cured. Along with his nobel prize his second greatest achievement was overcoming his mental illness. All of the years of medication and hospitalization never helped. Would love to know what was the turning point that made John decide to be well again??

c shark
c shark
14 years ago

Obama got the nobel prize at the age of 48. he is better than nash!

skater
skater
14 years ago

i'll look into The Trap, CMcF. i love John Nash. despite the early arrogance--or maybe in part because he overcame it--there's just something so deeply good about him. it's difficult to watch him accepting the Nobel Prize without welling up. just so much hope about him. :)

CMcF
CMcF
14 years ago

If you are facinated by John Nash I recommend the documentary The Trap, available on this very site.