A Brilliant Madness
UP John Nash, Princeton mathematician, proclaimed genius, madman, Nobel
laureate, originator at 30 of the Game Theory that revolutionised economics by
its understanding of the point of equilibrium at which conflict gets resolved,
has his own theory on the schizophrenia that shattered his life.
``Madness can be an escape," he says. ``If things are not so good, you may
be able to imagine something better." He listened to the voices.
``I thought I was the most important person in the world and people like the
Pope would just be enemies who would try to put me down." The Pope was a
fixation. Nash insisted that it was his image and not that of Pope John XXIII
that appeared on the cover of Life magazine. It had to be so, for 23 was a
Unlike his descent into madness, which was sudden, the return to lucidity in
1980 had been slow. Eventually he returned to Princeton, the Nobel prize for
Economics followed in 1994.
Nash, the recovered man, is the most important person in this program not
for the obvious reason that he is its subject, but because experiencing this
gentle man with the smiling, slightly twisted face is in itself a pleasurable
experience, despite the extended tittle-tattle of the things he did and said
when his hallucinations first took hold.
Those who thought they knew Nash well admired his recovery, attributing it
to the success of newly developed anti-psychotic drugs. The truth was that, by
his own decision, he stopped taking medication 10 years earlier. He had reached
his own point of equilibrium. The voices could be switched off, just like an
intrusive radio show.
If you have seen the film A Beautiful Mind or read Sylvia Nasar's book on
which it is based, this piece by Randall MacLowry and Mark Samels will appeal,
though one hopes not for its prying analysis of Nash's increasingly eccentric
behaviour as illness took hold.
If these reconstructed moments are frequently replayed merely to underline
simple truths, then that seems unfortunate.
UP Pete and Jo are getting married maybe so the gang comes to Sydney for
the event and bumps into all the usual monuments, the bridge, the Opera House,
the beach, the wharves and Gary Sweet. Unlike any of the other seemingly
compulsory Oz adventures to which British TV panders, this one presents a
superior storyline while soaking up the views. Gary Sweet is a nice surprise,
well directed by Ciaran Donnelly. So too, Kimberley Joseph.
UP One-eyed, flea-ridden, rascally, burping cat falls off rubbish truck and
lands in the lap of goodness that is Angela Throgmorton. ABC input with Yoram
Goss in these cheeky cartoon stories. A trifle old-fashioned with its constant
bounce-back action, but this may prove to be its appeal.