Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
A Brilliant Madness
The Film and More
Special Features
Online Poll
Game Theory
John Nash
Behind the Scenes
Online Forum

People and Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Interview with John Nash: Hearing Voices

John NashInitially I did not hear any voices. Some years went by before I heard voices and -- I became first disturbed in 1959, and I didn't hear voices until the summer of 1964 I think, but then after that, I heard voices, and then I began arguing with the concept of the voices.

And ultimately I began rejecting them and deciding not to listen, and, of course, my son has been hearing voices, and if he can progress to the state of rejecting them, he can maybe come out of his mental illness.

The consequence of rejecting the voices is ultimately not hearing the voices. You're really talking to yourself is what the voices are, but it's also parallel to a dream. In a dream it's typical not to be rational.

I had some philosophical ideas that were involved. I found myself thinking in political terms, but then I found myself able to criticize this thinking -- that it wasn't very valuable to think in political terms. Even now, I sometimes have a new realization that it can be not so good to think in political terms about some of the current issues. One can leave that to others.

So in rejecting some of the political ideas, that had a relation to the voices, so I could think of a voice maybe as presenting what was analogous to a political argument, and then I could say, I don't want to listen to that.

previous | return to questions | next

Site Navigation

Special Features: Online Poll | Game Theory | John Nash
Behind the Scenes | Online Forum

A Brilliant Madness Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Gallery | People and Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search & Site Map | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1999-2002 PBS Online / WGBH

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: