Saturday, June 29, 2002
A Beautiful Mind1984-Big Brother is Watching

A Beautiful Mind

Return to 1984

John Nash is Winston Smith from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Don’t worry, Winston. Big Brother is here to help you.



I deeply object to this interpretation. Do you contend that mental illness is some kind of freedom? Do you think it’s “normal”, just a different normal than most people experience?

This is a typical philosophical conceit—the reality question. “How do we know that what we think we perceive is actually what is there?” It goes all the way back to Descartes. Truth be told, we cannot know whether the absolute, objective reality matches up with our subjective reality, or whether there exists an absolute reality at all.

But all this philosophical posturing is beside the point. The truth is that people *suffer* from mental illness. See how film-Nash grew increasingly panicked by his delusions; see how they became increasingly violent. See how he could not control them—he could not determine his own reality. He was not “free”, and the psychiatrists et. al. who tried to help him were not analogous to Big Brother. If there is a Big Brother, it was the schizophrenia itself—that which twisted Nash’s perception of what most of us consider to be the real world, that which took away his freedom to live life as he liked and as he saw fit.

To sum up: you have mixed up your villains.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 26 Jul 03 at 04:39 AM

Liro, I think you may have missed the point of the article.

According to the author, the psychiatrists ARE analogous to Big Brother—it’s whether or not Big Brother is so bad that’s challenged by A Beautiful Mind.  Orwell depicts Big Brother as the cause of restricted freedom and implies that any restriction of freedom is bad.  A Beautiful Mind contends that some restricted freedom (in this case ‘restricting’ Nash to the realm of sanity) is necessary for true freedom.  Maybe we are making Big Brother (government, authority figures, organized religion, laws, rules, 10 Commandments) seem worse than he really is through our paranoia, and ultimately, he is our friend.  But I’m glad you are, like Nash, asking yourself, “WHO is Big Brother?” 

I think in the world today where everyone is so eager for freedom, especially sexual freedom, people need to stop and ask themselves why the “virtures of our grandfathers” existed.  For example, why is premarital sex a ‘sin’ between two consenting adults?  There may be hidden costs to these freedoms that we so vehemently cling on to.  Such as?  Well, for one, heartbreak.  I see the majority of you now, cackling, ” ‘Heartbreak’?  Get real!”  What is real is that most people today are so much like Orwell in viewing the world in a one-sided manner, extolling freedom and losing our humanity in the process. 

Maybe Big Brother is not such a bad guy and knows something we don’t.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07 Dec 03 at 10:12 AM

If you can’t beat them, join them?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04 Jan 04 at 02:01 PM

But take that one degree further. What if you entered a world where everyone was blissful, and knew absolutely nothing. First of all, wouldn’t you find it unnerving? Wouldn’t you become agitated and attempt to inform these stupid, happy people? Secondly, wouldn’t you already appear agitated to them? If you tried explaining to kids that they shouldn’t beleive commericals, they would find your ideas disturbing, because it’s nice to not think about that. You’d probably become distrubed yourself at the idea that these kids are happier being blind consumers. The thing is, people suffer from mental anguish, and I understand that some causes, like sever mental illnes, cause unecessary amounts of pain and suffering. But if the logic is internal, who’s to say they aren’t right to be unhappy?

Watch the film The Corporation, then tell me if you’re comfortable with American culture.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 24 Aug 04 at 06:15 AM

Believe me Ben K Big brother is a bad guy,and don’t just take my word word for it, perhaps its best you take another year of high school to refurbish your history skills. But to give you a quick jump start let me give you guys some examples of Big Brothers gone bad. During the colonial period Big Brother felt it best to screw over the colonials with unfair representation. Now if the colonials were to listen to your primitive-like self they wouldn’t be the superpower they are today. Centuries later Some time during 1933 The Germans let big brother Hitler do all the work around Europe(we all know how that worked out for them) need I say more. Ok fine i will. I’m not sure if your familiar with civil rights but during the 50’s and 60’s and way before then the Big Brother of the united Sates felt it essential under the tradition of their forefathers to treat African Americans In the most awful and impudent ways. had some Winston’s(such as Dr.King,Malcolm x)not decided to show up and make some change god knows how powerful Big Brother would still be. My point is Orwell brilliantly portrayed the possible evils of not just a totalitarian government but any government. Not that i am for the abolishment for governments, but people should be politically informed/involved or else the day might come where the rights you take for granted are taken away.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 26 Feb 06 at 05:40 AM

Looks like this gets a comment every couple of years. I’m so glad someone else saw this.  We were forced to watch this garbage in its entirety in a graduate course…yes this is education people.

This film cannot be compared to John Nash’s life on any level.  Even if John enjoyed the attention of it, it is a ridiculous characature of mental illness.  So, it is not mental illness in question here as stated by a commenter above.  And, the fact that psychologists and psychiatrists are not outraged by the nonsense, but they are self righteously amused by the film shows all the more the real presence of Big Brother’s effect in our society right now.

The fact that Nash was depicted as perceiving some kind of coherent “delusional” story is what calls the whole thing into attention and makes it very comparable to 1984.  Schizophrenics do not ever have a coherent story to tell.  That is the antithesis of the disorder.  It is incoherency that makes it a disorder.  Nash’s real delusions were general, fleeting impressions that did not tie into a whole story.

This movie was a cleverly disguised propaganda piece.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03 Apr 09 at 04:57 AM
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