Thursday, May 28, 2015

John Nash, Mathematician

Reading about the recent death of John F. Nash and his wife Alicia led to numerous revelations for me.  Yes, I saw "A Beautiful Mind."  I spent the following days of discussion with my spouse attempting to explain to her what we saw.  Blind leading the blind?  Perhaps.

John Nash who would want to be remembered as a mathematician will in all likelihood be as much if not more remembered as an economist.  It was in the field of economics in which he won the Nobel Prize.  Economists in large measure believe Nash's contributions to the field are at the minimum as important as were those of Adam Smith.

Everyone who has read the book A Beautiful Mind or who saw the cinematic production knows that Nash was brilliant almost beyond the comprehension of most people and moreover they know that he was a life-long sufferer of schizophrenia.  I shall make no attempt to detail his battle  It is to be noted that he and his wife left behind a son John, Jr. who holds a Ph.D. in his own right and who also suffers from schizophrenia.  It was one of his mother's major worries: What will become of Johnny when we are gone?

But one of the more sobering statistics I garnered in my reading was this.  Twenty-five percent of all Americans suffer from some form of mental illness.

The next time you are in a room with three other people look around.

In addition to John, Jr., Dr. Nash is also survived by another son, John Stier.

John Forbes Nash, Jr.  1928 - 2015
Alicia Lopez-Harrison Nash 1933 -2015


Secondary Roads said...

Just one question. You wrote, "Twenty-five percent of all Americans suffer from some form of mental illness." Does that mean the other seventy-five percent of us enjoy it? It think maybe that is the case. Your opinion?

vanilla said...

Chuck, Grandma used to talk about enjoying I'll health, so, yes, I suppose so.

vanilla said...

Chuck: ill. Spouse's phone thinks it is smarter than I, so back to old reliable.

Secondary Roads said...

It wasn't difficult to decode. Gotta watch that auto correct . . . it'll "eat your lunch."

Lin said...

I like Chuck's comment. :)

I was saddened to hear of their deaths this past weekend. Sad about their son having it too---wow.

Ilene said...

Isn't it wonderful that our society has recognized that mental illness is an illness and not a disgrace? Here is an interesting read.

vanilla said...

Lin, in spite of his battles with his inner turmoil, the man contributed greatly to society.

Ilene, Dr. Vonnegut's article is very interesting. I have read some of his work earlier, particularly since his father was a favorite writer who clearly "passed on" his own bent to "mental illness."

Mark's short paragraph here is very telling: "There are all kinds of statistics, but the bottom line is that no one among us is 100 percent crazy, and no one is 100 percent sane. The chance that you or someone you love won’t need help at some point with what we broadly call “mental illness” is 0.

Sharkbytes said...

Maybe I'm in the 25%. Maybe tonight I'd like to be (a fantasy world sounds pretty good)

vanilla said...

Shark, it may be the case that none of us are in perfect balance.