My enlightenment - John F. Nash

"There's over-dependence on rationality, that is my enlightenment"
- John Nash 2007, in The Trap (episode 2), a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis.

Adam Curtis: And in mathematics, the man who had created the equations that lay behind the simplified model of society was also expressing doubts about the assumptions on which his work had been based. He was the mathematician John Nash. Nash, who has now recovered from paranoid schizophrenia and still works at Princeton, has come to believe that the purely rational, calculating creatures in his model, what he calls 'the human as businessman' have little connection with the complexity of real human beings.

John Nash: I have had some trouble myself on the psychological level, I have been in mental hospitals so I have .. I may be developing a pattern of.. rationally, I realize that what I had said may have sometime overemphasized rationality, or some type of thinking. I don't want to overemphasize rational thinking on the part of humans. Human beings are much more complicated... the human being as a business model. Human behaviour is not entirely motivated by the self-interest of each human.
Adam Curtis: The underlying assumption of game theory is that it is -
John Nash: Game theory works in terms of self-interest, but it was like - some game theory could be unsound, but there is over-dependence on rationality - that is my enlightenment.

BBC | The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom? | The Lonely Robot | Episode 2
2007 - 59 min.
Director: Adam Curtis

first published at

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"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)