In 2001, John and Alicia Nash decide to marry after a nearly 40-year gap in their marriage. Nash is 73, but he “looks and sounds wonderfully well.” He is not embarrassed to talk about his past, and he now speaks to groups about reducing the stigma of mental illness. He has returned to mathematics and has a grant from the National Science Foundation; he has also reunited with old acquaintances, colleagues, and many of his family members.
Perhaps most importantly, Nash now enjoys some of the normalcy that many people take for granted: having a driver’s license, living in a stable home, buying meals for himself. After the publication of A Beautiful Mind, he has come to see the biography as a “good thing”: it has been helpful for him to “retrieve” and replay some of the memories presented in the book. He has also met Russell Crowe, the actor who played him in the movie based on his life. Just as Crowe had to undergo “transformations” to play Nash, Nash has undergone many incredible “transformations” of his own.
Nash leads a relatively “normal” life now, yet he takes none of this normalcy for granted. His is a story that proves that life as a genius means very little without love, kindness, and fulfilling relationships. Nash’s story also proves that individuals are capable of redeeming themselves and changing their behavior, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. By humanizing a public figure who suffers from schizophrenia, A Beautiful Mind helps to show that mental illness is not a stigma. Nasar’s narrative of Nash suggests that these illnesses cannot ever be truly “overcome,” since recovery is a slow, difficult process, but individuals can fight back against the confusion and chaos of their own minds, finding peace, happiness, and contentment.