John Nash, RIP

Sad news this morning of the car accident death, at age 86, of Nobel Prize winning economist and mathematician John Nash, made more publicly famous (if not entirely accurately) in A Beautiful Mind.

A psychiatrist friend posted the following note on Facebook about the news:

Let me try, surely in vain, to set the record straight as there are so many subtle but horrifying myths that the Left has created about Nash to suit their purposes. (1) His name has entered science largely through his theory of balance in conflict—the Nash Equilibrium. The first movie to get this wrong had him as a reclusive professor whose computer, Joshua, arrived at the conclusion, “Don’t Play” to avert nuclear armageddon. In fact a stable Nash Equilibrium that averts a nuclear holocaust is attained via Mutually Assured Destruction—peace through strength. This idea was previously lampooned by the Hollywood Left’s caricature of Nash’s mentor, John von Neumann, the mad man with the autonomous glove in “…How I Learned to Love the Bomb”. (2) The bar scene in “A Beautiful Mind” likewise gets it 180 degrees wrong—going for the non-beautiful girl is NOT a Nash equilibrium. The setup cannot produce a Nash equilibrium at all. (3) Nash almost certainly did NOT have “paranoid schizophrenia” as he remained productive until the end. He almost certainly had bipolar disorder, a condition that may yield transient psychotic episodes. I know many brilliant scientists with this condition. He may have been diagnosed with schizophrenia upon his initial admission to Maclean Hospital, but that would have been before Harrison and Pope, at Maclean, in 1984, later reviewed all the previous records and discovered that 50% of such “schizophrenia” diagnoses were in error and were actually manic-depression (bipolar). (3) During his manic/psychotic episodes, Nash would become paranoid (this happens in mania) and would then begin spouting crazed LEFTWING fantasies. When he was normal, he was politically conservative. The movie “A Beautiful Mind” deliberately reversed this because of its obvious implications. (4) To this day, Paul Krugman admires and looks up to Nash—because Nash was in fact von Neumann’s heir. Krugman does not allow this to be much known.