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In Search of a Beautiful Mind

Seymour Papert is a living legend, having exerted tremendous influence in numerous fields, including artificial intelligence and education. In 2006 he was struck by a motorcycle and sustained a severe brain injury – a devastating condition for anyone, but perhaps even more so for one of the world’s leading thinkers about learning. In Search of a Beautiful Mind is a touching article about the challenges of a genius like Papert learning to perform the most basic functions of humanity: speech, walking, reading. The article provides a powerful reminder that our humanness is not a function of how any single person is more gifted in a particular area than any other person. The thin veneer of intelligence that briefly raises one person to heights of recognition above others can quickly be stripped away. In the end, family, friends, and colleagues form the most basic source of strength for even the most brilliant members of society. But it’s a bittersweet story – someone like Papert receives enormous support in his recovery (at a cost of over $15,000 per month) while many people with similar injuries have a vastly diminished prospect of recovery.