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Behind the Scenes: Cold War Paranoia

Play VideoThe paranoia that Dr. Nash expresses are symptoms of his illness but the context or content of that paranoia is rooted in the background of the times. And it is not unusual that someone suffering from paranoid schizophrenia would draw on those elements around them in terms of placing that paranoia. For him feeling that the communists were schemers and that there was a conspiracy against him, or that the pope might be someone who is opposing him -- these are elements that were part of the time period that basically became the background of his paranoia. He was at Princeton and M.I.T. during the rise of the Cold War. Even when he was at M.I.T. there was a scare at that time. Several members of the math department had to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. So there was definitely elements surrounding him and others that would have informed how he would view the world in that respect.

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