“Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart.” -John Forbes Nash Jr.
A Beautiful Mind tells the story of John Forbes Nash Jr., from his time as a student to his journey through schizophrenia, becoming a professor and a Nobel Prize Laureate. Nash’s work on equilibrium in game theory is mirrored through his life’s journey.
Accomplishment and Innovation
Nash’s fixation with innovation and coming up with an original idea motivates his academic career and catapults his work on equilibrium. Although his competitive nature and need to achieve and accomplish is his motivating force, his work on equilibrium in negotiations and game theory is predicated on the basis of finding a center point on what is right for a group or partnership as a whole. His equilibrium focuses on a non-singular event where nobody loses.
This was counter-intuitive to game theory at the time: for instance, taking a look at the prisoner’s dilemma, a concept where every person does what is solely best for them without consideration for the consequences for the others involved. Nash equilibrium becomes altruistic, when considering there is a center point where everyone discovers a benefit from their negotiations.
Warmth and Familiarity
At times, Nash finds warmth and familiarity in his hallucinations. When he comes to terms with his condition, he finds warmth in his relationships. His condition allows for him to go deeper into his heart and to connect with others. This allows him to overcome his pride and competitiveness.
Since he pushes himself in his mind to be original and innovative, his coming to terms with his condition pushes him further in his heart.
Loss of Control and Surrender
Nash’s journey with schizophrenia consistently forces him to feel a loss of control and a newfound surrender. This mirrors his work in equilibrium in negotiations where players must give up control and surrender to what is best for the collective or partnership in order to have the best possible outcome. It is the ability to surrender that distinguishes the courage it takes to do what is best for all rather than what is solely best for an individual.
Nash’s journey and equilibrium requires that, surrender and courage. Having the faith to believe that what is best for all is a significant factor for an individual is part of the lesson of his story. Another part of his lesson is that love gives us the courage necessary to motive our altruistic decisions. Although love is immeasurable, the altruistic actions it leaves behind is noticeable. His relationship with his wife, challenges his tendency to think with his mind and calls for him to feel with his heart.
Running from Yourself
Nash runs from himself and the manifestations of his own mind. This forces him to face himself in a way that is avoidable under ordinary circumstance.
Who do we become when we face ourselves?