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<b><i>A Beatiful Mind</b></i> Leads to Realization

from A Beautiful Mind

By Sam Rule

Jamestown – My wife and I went to see the movie A Beautiful Mind last week. It’s the story of Noble Prize-winning mathematician John Nash’s battle with schizophrenia, and his decision to stand up and fight it. Walking out of the theater, I stumbled over something frightening enough to be true: we aren’t much different from Dr. Nash or the -- millions of people haunted by the terrifying disease.

We suffer from schizophrenia of the masses.

What else could it be? What else could make us act, react, demand, beg, weep, need like we do? What else could drive a delusion to the status of reality? What else could make a 12-year-old girl stare at a mannequin with a look of absolute resolve to someday, someday soon, look exactly like this life-sized, Styrofoam manifestation of a Barbie doll? What else could make students flock in herds to buy clothes from stores that advertise their new lines with naked people? What else could make a 22-year-old believe that there really isn’t a better way to spend three months’ income than on a stone? What else could make lovers tie into a 30-year indentured servants program for the sake of an atrium and a Spanish-tiled mudroom?

The pandemic has been raging for years – remember those stories in the nineties about kids killed for their shoes? – and it seems to be gaining momentum. From our pleading president asking us to do our duty and save our country by buying it out of a recession, to tasty product placements on our favorite cooking shows, we ignore the glaring reality that we’re lost deep in an illusion.

We’re sick and we won’t admit it. We can’t. Because if we aren’t what we wear, if we aren’t what we drive, if we aren’t where we live or even what we eat, then what are we? If, like Dr. Nash, we decide to stand and stop the madness, we’re suddenly nothing.

We must suddenly choose, believe, live. We’re suddenly free.

Listener-Commentator Sam Rule lives outside of Jamestown.