Main Entry: sot·to vo·ce

Pronunciation: "sä-tO-'vO-chE
Function: adverb or adjective
Etymology: Italian sottovoce, literally, under the voice
1 : under the breath : in an undertone; also : in a private manner
2 : very softly -- used as a direction in music

Thursday, August 19, 2004

a beautiful mind | sparks of genius

The real John Nash, from the Nobel Museum Web site.

I keep watching the film A Beautiful Mind because I have this idea that to see it only once is to miss a great deal and would prevent any real understanding of The Great John Nash! It’s a phrase that is repeated often in the film – a film adapted from Nasar’s unauthorized biography, and it’s a phrase used by persons real and unreal and always mockingly.

The truth, the truth that would finally be acknowledged a great many years later in 1994, was that, in fact, John Nash is indeed great and a true genius. Winning the Noble Prize was simply the public acknowledgement of this and by then, no one was mocking John Nash anymore. It's hard to imagine though that anyone who took the time to know John Nash, could not see his brilliance, the beauty in the very way in which he thought. The film does convey this - that much one can say, but still, there is that underlying mockery and although this supposed to be, one gather's a "sympathetic" portrait, that's just it; it seems to look down on Nash, as though he were a child, incapable of taking care of himself and oh, gosh, thank god for Alicia, were it not for her, he'd never have achieved greatness. There's a real martyr thing going on here and at a price to John Nash.

I have to confess too, that part of my atttraction to the film is that all too often i've felt as i imagine Nash must have felt at times, because although the origin and cause are different, temporal lobe epilepsy can often make you "different" in ways that others cannot quite pinpoint. And although epilepsy is a neurological illness often caused by mesial lesions in the brain (such as I have), the effects are similar. More - when researching Nash for another article, I found a relation between Nash and my friend Ian, also a mathematician and also with roots in the South (suffice to say he not only resembles Nash, particularly in the ears, which i happen to like, but also in the way he thinks,) and so here I am, drawn in. More - click link