A Beautiful Schizophrenia [was: Re: AI Eureka!]

Charles R Martin crmartin at indra.com
Tue Apr 9 12:24:14 EST 2002


"Geoffrey A. Landis" <geoffrey.landis at sff.net> writes:

> > use.my.name at acm.org (jimirwin) wrote:
> > > After seeing "A Beautiful Mind" I've begun to wonder if some of these
> > > "cranks" are merely deluded.
> 
> I've recently been struck by the fact that great parts of Usenet (and
> the web) are uncannily similar to the conspiracy ravings of paranoid
> schizophrenics.  It occurs to me that there's no prohibition against
> schizophrenics buying computers, and many of the wacky parts of the web
> probably *are* the work of paranoid schizophrenics.  (Unfortunately, the
> web seems to serve as an amplifier.)

I'll go a step further with this: I've wondered (eg with conspiracy
theorists) if there isn't some kind of "subclinical schizopheria"
involved.  Schizophrenia appears to be pretty completely an organic
problem now; the last I read anything about it, the theory that it was
caused by some malfunction of NDMA glutamate receptors was popular, or
more loosely by some kind of limbic defect.  As such, it's entirely
likely that there's some kind of "spectrum" there; it'd be easy for
there to be subclinical manifestations of the same _kind_ of defect.


> 
> howard at brazee.net wrote:
> > I loved that movie - but it was a movie.  Delusions don't work the way we
> > saw them in the movie.
> 
> In some ways yes, but in one way it was quite accurate: Nash's delusion
> about being the crucial player in a vast conspiracy of urgent import was
> a realistic paranoid delusion.
> 
> Nash's actual delusions, however, were screwier, more convoluted, and
> made less sense.  (And also didn't show up as tangible-but-imaginary
> people, of course: voices are more common).

Two or three reviews I read said something to the effect of "brilliant
artistic mechanism to make the effects of Nash's schizophrenia
concrete for the audience."  I haven't seen the movie, so I can't comment.

-- 

War is an  ugly thing but not  the ugliest of things; the  decayed and degraded
state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is
much worse.  A man who has  nothing for which  he is willing to  fight, nothing
which is more  important than his own personal safety,  is a miserable creature
and has  no chance of being  free unless made and  kept so by  the exertions of
better men than himself.                                    -- John Stuart Mill
_______________________________________________________________________________
Charles R (Charlie) Martin                              Broomfield, CO 40N 105W




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