Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Beautiful Mind

Warning: Do not read this post if you haven’t seen the movie “A Beautiful Mind” and you don’t want parts of it ruined for you.

The power of the human mind—unbelievable! In a sense, it is almost impossible to fathom the power of the mind, if you think about it. It’s capabilities…wow! It’s beautiful alright!

John Nash from the movie A Beautiful Mind illustrates the power of the mind in so many ways.

Oh how easy it is for any of us to view our self as a “genius.” Many of us at one point or another have had these thoughts. Nash was no exception. And in the true sense of the meaning of genius—“Extraordinary intellectual and creative power”—there is no denying that Nash was a genius. Even after Ron Howard and the others made their attempts to stupefy Dr. Nash’s theory for the producing of the film, it still was unattainable for the likening of myself, as well as most others who saw the film I’m sure. But as the film wonderfully illustrates, even a “genius” can’t have grips completely on the power of the human mind.

In a sense, the mind is so powerful it is scary. Put yourself in Nash’s shoes…

Nash’s psychiatrist put it perfectly when he was explaining the intensity of John’s situation to Alicia, John’s wife. He told her to imagine waking up one day to find out that some of the people that mean the most to you, the ones that offer you so much support, the ones that are there for you when no one else seems to be, imagine being told that they are not real. They don’t exist. A figment of your imagination.

Think about it….

I can’t imagine it.

And did you know this is all true. This is not made up. THIS happened to John Nash. This is not just another “made-up” Hollywood story; it’s a true story. For John Nash it was the mental illness known as schizophrenia and it all centers around the power of the human mind. Paranoia haunted Dr. Nash. Many schizophrenics experience it, as it is a symptom for some other forms of mental illness as well.

We all can become paranoid in one fashion or another. Take the movie “The Truman Show” for example (gosh, Ed Harris sure has a thing for appearing in these paranoia-related movies…HA!). Have you ever wondered about that whole scenario? What if we really are the only “non-actor” in our life and the rest of everything and everyone else around us is aware of the “bigger picture” and we are just living along in our life totally unaware, not necessarily that we are part of a big television show, but that everyone else is just aware of something about life that we are totally ignorant too.

That one I can almost guarantee paranoia if you think about it long and hard enough. ;)

Here’s one more…back to “A Beautiful Mind.”

Can you ever think of a time when you were described as “weird?” Maybe even by one of your closest friends. Well, I have. HA! So, back to the movie…that was exactly how John’s close friends described him to his wife when she came and questioned them about his behaviors at work. Rather upset, she demanded of them answers as to “why” they didn’t say or do anything to anyone about the behaviors they saw John demonstrating while at work (i.e. pasting newspaper and magazine clippings ALL over his office). Their only response to her was “well, John has always been a little...weird.” So, if that is how a schizophrenic man is thought of or described by his close friends, could our “weird” behaviors that are referred to by our friends be symptoms of schizophrenia? Maybe we’re schizophrenic and have never even been aware of it till now….

It’s this power of the mind that seems so unstoppable that is so interesting. And the more I think about it, the more the story of Dr. Nash explains it so well. The only thing I can think of that seems more powerful than the human mind itself would be the power of love, as was so nicely illustrated in this movie. As the director himself put it in the “Inside ‘A Beautiful Mind’” segment at the end of the movie, he stated, it was love that saved this man, and if you’ve seen the movie, I don’t think you could agree more!

The love that Alicia Nash showed John was so powerful. It was her love that helped John be able to overcome the powers of his mind. It was her love and support that gave him something real to refer to when he was being overcome with the unreal.

And you know what else is so amusing? The fact that it takes the power of the mind to overcome itself. Let me explain. For Nash, it wasn’t until he was able to turn his mind on itself and question what was real and what wasn’t that he was finally able to see the problem.

She never gets old.

That has always been one of my favorite parts of that whole movie!

It is then, when Nash has run outside the house and stops his wife from driving off in the rain, and he says, “Marcie can’t be real. She never gets old.” [And you know what? To be completely honest, I think it would have taken a “genius” like Nash himself to figure that out; to pick up on that, the whole idea that Marcie wasn’t getting older. I’m sure the first time you saw the movie, you were just like me and didn’t pick up on the fact that as the years passed she wasn’t getting older. Wow!] It was at this point of the movie that you as the audience know that Nash has hope! He is finally able to see it! His mind has been able to overcome its own powers and see through the unreal.

Wow…two of the most powerful forces in this world if you ask me—intelligence and love. They just leave me in thought…and oh how I love it! ;)

1 comment:

Holly said...

And so it is said "God is love." Powerful. All knowing. Fathomable yet still more unfathomable. I really liked reading this post. I've thought about such things as these quite often -- the power of the mind, incalculable. Sometimes I think the mind can become so powerful, so analytic, that it often plays tricks on the person who possesses it -- Ever heard of the many crazy geniuses in history? Anyway, I have definately felt that paranoia before: (a) driving down the street wondering just why the birds happened to stop by for a land just as I was passing (b) thinking maybe people know something more than I do -- then discounting it, then reconsidering it, and so on (c) Conspiracy theories -- enough to make anyone paranoid and (d) ever since "The Truman Show" it has been hard not to wonder why a car pulls infront of me in traffic -- is God trying to keep me from somewhere I am not destined to be? Once again, good post!