A Beautiful Mind

Considering the Os Problem quad with Production, how do you view Protection and Inaction as Focus and Direction?

How would you feel about the Certainty/Acceptance/Nonacceptance/Potentiality quad?

I’m weak with focus/direction but my understanding is it is reflects symptoms of the real problem and the steps taken to address the symptoms …So with that in mind I’m going to look again at the quads and especially the one you suggested.

Think I’m going to have a chance to rewatch tomorrow. Be prepared for me to maybe have some better ideas about the problem element then!

Today’s been so busy for me too. But here’s my first thoughts for potentiality and certainty. The scene where he realizes Marcee never gets old as Certainty. He becomes certain she is not real. That sounds like certainty as solution. Potentiality is the problem then. Nash is driven by pie in the sky Thinking. He thinks he can ask for wheeler even while the character played by Judd Hirsch is trying to explain to him he has no chance for any placement, all things considered. He thinks it is possible the Russians are hiding coded messages in Life magazine no matter how out there that idea is. He thinks he can skip small talk with girl at bar to expedite getting what he really wants. Lots of pie in the sky thinking. Tomorrow i will condider the focus and direction elements. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts too.

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If potentiality is the problem element then maybe the inciting incident would be Hansen making John realize the potential John can lose…the game, wheeler placement, the arriving at an original idea. Charles comes into the picture after this stressing moment for John. Charles shows up at the bar when John strikes out with the girl right after he announced his odds at success were improving, and Charles is present again in response to John learning there is a real potential he won’t get a placement, that in fact he is about to lose it all. Later, as he is confined by his obligations at wheeler to live a mediocre life supervising a damn and teaching the eager young minds of tomorrow he meets Parcher, to restore John to his full potential John feels he has lost being at wheeler.

So i’m about halfway through watching it again. I’m having to do it in chunks because I’m also watching a little one with a fever today. But I think I’m seeing something about my own process that I hadn’t before. I typically feel pretty good about Domain and Class and much less confident with Issue and Problem. I think that once I get to that level, im no longer looking at the story as a whole, but looking for very specific instances within the story to find examples. I’m trying to watch it now with an eye toward Issue and Problem while keeping the whole story in mind and not just any two or three minute chunk at any given time.

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I’m about two thirds of the way through now and I’m thinking I’d like to go back to Issues. First, I really liked all the examples you came up with for Need and Expediency and I think that even if the Issue isn’t one of those, those examples still apply because a complete story will explore all four terms within the thematic exploration. And I could absolutely be wrong with where I’m about to try to lead the conversation, but I want to see where it goes.

So when you break all the scenes down into their respective throughlines such that you can point to a scene and say “that scene is meant to represent OS or MC or whatever”, then the OS scenes are, with a few exceptions, the scenes containing John and Alicia, John and the doctor, or John and Hansen. And when I try to keep the story as a whole in mind, what is it that these people are all dealing with in regards to John? Are they Permitting something, Needing something, viewing a Deficiency, or looking for Expediency? When broken into chunks they are all there, but overall, isn’t this OS story really about how everyone is trying to put up with John? And doesn’t “Putting up with” maybe sound a little bit like “Permitting someone or something”-that is, permission?
(Edit:left off half of it). Besides everyone permitting John or not permitting him, it’s also about what John is lacking. That is, a grip on reality. So the argument would be permitting Johns behaviour vs John lacking a grip on reality.

What do you think? Feel free to disagree. If that works, I’d like to look at the Issues for the other throughlines.


(“putting up with” also sounds a lot like Acceptance, if you want to consider the problem level at the same time… which does fit under Permission for the OS…) :popcorn:

(man it’s fun being in the popcorn gallery … no pressure!)


What if I said that seeing a Permission vs Deficiency argument (or possibly vice versa) made me feel a lot like John Nash when he starts seeing coded messages popping out of a random magazine? :joy:


Okay, I think I know the storyform now. Or at least, I’ve found one I’m confident in discussing.

@Rosie, you want me talk you through it or tell you what I’m thinking?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Go for it!!

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So here’s my line of thinking. The OS story, as a whole, is about how everyone, including John Nash, looks at what John Nash is lacking. He doesn’t like people and people don’t like him. He’s lacking an original idea. He doesn’t have a strong grasp of reality, etc. But should they all put up with him anyway? Should they permit him through to the next level even though he hasn’t published anything? Should they put up with him even though he’s kind of a jerk? So thematically, I think that looks like Deficiency vs Permission.

John’s MC story is about John looking for recognition, but he has moments of Doubt, like when he bashes his head on the window, or he is doubted by others, like Hansen who treats him like the waiter and then tells him he’ll fail. But that’s countered by his constant exploration of math, his constant search for answers to difficult problems. Doubt vs Investigation.

Charles and Parcher will be a bit more difficult to describe, but Parcher mostly has John attempting to break codes in order to find a bomb that the Russians plan to detonate over America. Charles tells John to go on, bust his head. Keep working. Whatever the scene, they are always pushing him in regards to Attempt vs Work.

The relationship is probably beyond me to try to explain, but it would be locked in at Preconditions vs Prerequisites. Preconditions. Maybe that John needs to be stressed to trigger his vision? Vs not taking his meds? I don’t really know. I want to say they feel right, but that’s not particularly helpful.

So back to OS. Everyone is sort of driven to evaluate John. Is he good enough? Smart enough? Does he have anything to offer? In the scene with the blond problem, they are evaluating previous mathematical theories. Nash evaluates the class as being a waste of the students, and, infinitely worse, his time. Alicia needs to know what’s wrong with him, doesn’t want to accept the evaluation of Schizophrenia. The problem is solved when John reevaluates the reality of his friends.

In the MC, John’s work is being evaluated at Princeton. He evaluates the others on the magazine cover as not worthy to be on the cover with him. And, of course, everyone evaluates him as crazy. This problem is solved not only when he reevaluates the reality of his friends, but when people like Hansen stop seeing him as a jerk and start seeing him as an old friend, or stop looking at how he’s crazy and at how his life’s work is worthy of recognition.

Charles and Parcher work through Reduction. Paraphrashing Charles-“It’s not your problem, it’s theirs. The answer isn’t here looking at the wall, it’s out there.” Parcher has him reducing paper and magazine articles to code to determine what they mean. They don’t want to be reduced/ignored out of Johns life.

That selection gives us the OS Plot progression you’ve already mentioned of Conceiving, Being, Becoming, Conceptualizing.

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Whaddaya think?

This is very well thought out!! I am going to read it again — between school pick ups, ortho appt, after school art lessons today. I do like how it all pulls together and puts the story into a nutshell argument that makes sense. I struggle with not keeping reduction the solution, but I think that’s because of my own subjective need for the story to go there lol. Clearly my taking a scene or two and producing my earlier argument for Temptation being the problem shows I can take a small thing and turn it (wrongly) into a much bigger deal than it is :). So I am happy with what you have here. Especially when I think of it as coming down to a “Stop Evaluation and you can Conceive” thematic argument. Any thoughts on how to fill in this “Stop Evaluation and Conceive” with more details?

And I have really enjoyed the opportunity to think through an entire story form, I have learned A LOT about how to sift through the scenes, identify the 4 throughlines , Find the issue, etc. YOur prompts were great, allowed me to really think it through, and all the patience …And pretty amazing it puts the signposts in the anticipated order .thanks!!

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Looks familiar… :slight_smile:



A good test would be to check the Focus and Direction of Probability/Possibility to see if they fit (along with Signposts). I know in The Princess Bride the Probability / Possibility was really obvious in a lot of places.

For RS Issue of Preconditions, just wondering if the idea of “playing by somebody else’s rules” affects the relationship a lot?
“Mathematician, fetch me those Soviet codes from the magazines” might be a lot like “Farm boy, fetch me that pail of water.” :smiley:

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Oh, cool. You already mentioned somewhere that we were close to that storyform, didn’t you? That makes me hope even more that I’m right.

Just because i came up with something else doesn’t mean I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m still wrong more than not. What we need now is for Jim to decide to watch an old Oscar winner in preparation for the upcoming awards. Maybe he’ll pick this one and then make some suggestions. :crossed_fingers:

Sure. We could look at specific scenes if you want, but overall, the story seems to be about John Nash and how people deal with him. There’s two noteworthy things about him. 1, he’s schizophrenic. And 2, he wins a Nobel. The OS seems to be exploring the question of “can we honor the intelligence of a crazy man?” And the answer seems to be “stop looking at his mental condition and you can see the value of his ideas”. Or something like that. Is that what you mean?


Perfect!! It’s all in focus now :blush:

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In an early scene, Nash and the guys are in a bar when a blond and her friends come in. They start talking about a mathematician who said something like the group does best when everyone does what’s best for himself. But John see’s the Probability that if they all go for the blonde, they’ll probably block each other out and then if they go for the friends, they’ll get turned down. The only Possibility for all of them to get a date, John says, is for every man to ignore the blonde and go for one of the friends. That way they don’t get in each other’s way. Then he Evaluates the original idea as being incomplete saying that everyone does best when everyone does what’s best for himself and the group…and then I imagine there’s a deleted scene when Chris and Melanie jump out and say that actually, the only way to know how the group will do best is for everyone to consider himself and the group and the opposing view and the relationship. :smile:


There a scene where Nash wants to quit working for Parcher because he feels he’s in danger. But Parcher tells him that he, Parcher, is the one keeping the Russians from finding out the Nash is working for him. You quit working for me, Parcher says, and I quit working for you. Meaning he’ll let the Russians find out about Nash and go after him without the Precondition of Nash doing what Parcher wants.