Alan Turing: The Enigma

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post, but I plan to get back into it regularly – summer made me lazy 🙂

I recently watched this movie called The Imitation Game. I’m sure many of you have heard of it! This movie focuses on the story of an English man named Alan Turing, who cracked the German “Enigma” code during World War II, allowing the English government to save millions of lives and end the war two years early. He is hailed as the father of the computer. In modern-day, his inventions, such as his Turing machine, are widely used for the development of computer science and artificial intelligence. Essentially, he was a brilliant man.

However, the movie not only recounts his intellectual abilities, but also the personal hardships Turing faced during his lifetime – which were quite a few. Alan Turing is the perfect example of what it means to be resilient in the face of adversity.

Who was Alan Turing as an individual?

This is not known for a fact, but modern-day analysis suggests that Turing had Asperger’s Syndrome – he seemed rather oblivious to social cues and others’ feelings, couldn’t communicate his emotions, ask for help, or even tell the difference between a joke and serious discourse.

In addition, Alan Turing was a homosexual, which in itself was a criminal offense during the time of WWII. This, very sadly, only further ostracized him from much of society.

One can say for a fact that Alan Turing was not what society (especially at that time) would define as normal – anyone can see that. His unusual social behaviors did not fare well for him: he was bullied in school, and during his adult life, he was misunderstood, alienated, and disliked by many. After his notorious achievements, he was imprisoned for being openly gay and then given hormonal therapy, intended to alter his behavior, particularly his homosexuality.

I think this movie is relevant to mental illness because I’ve seen, from personal experience and observing others, that feelings of not fitting into the world can markedly contribute to depression and anxiety. I suspect that this might have been the case with Alan Turing, as he, a man of an unprecedented amount of brilliance, committed suicide after several years of being punished for being ‘different’, whatever that word means. This breaks my heart because no one should be driven to a breaking point, where they would rather not live than be mercilessly robbed of everything that makes them ‘them’.

To be honest, I have felt different to the world on multiple occasions. I always felt, and even now, feel that I was wired differently – maybe something went wrong while I was developing, or maybe it didn’t. For a lot of my life, I tried to defy what nature had given me, which led me to feel depressed and anxious and frustrated with myself. I remember scolding myself for not fitting in with most people at school.

But, for the most part, I’m done doing that. In college, I’m not what you would call a ‘typical’ college student. I don’t go to frat parties or hang out with a humongous group of friends because I don’t find joy in those things – maybe I never will. I’m just wired that way.

I often get bewildered, shocked, or even mocking faces when I tell people that I don’t do a lot of things that most college students do. And yes, to be honest, I feel a little bad. I begin to question myself: “Am I abnormal…?” But then I remind myself that “if abnormal means preserving your individuality, then yes, I am abnormal.” But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing; in fact, often times, it can be just the opposite. Being my own person prevents me from sinking into depression – it keeps me happy.

And the wonderful, probably best part is that there are a few individuals in my life who will never not love the things about me that are unlovable to most people. Alan Turing also had those people in his life – people who didn’t reject him for his uniqueness.

My mom always says that human-beings are incredibly different to one other, but you, as an individual, will always find at least one person who appreciates you for your uniqueness. And for the people who reject you, screw them. You don’t need them in your life.

Even more than for his remarkable intellectual achievements, Alan Turing should be remembered for his unfaltering conviction – he embraced the fact that he did not mold into the image society expected him to mold into. He fought a hard battle, and eventually ended up surrendering, which makes me so sad, but I hope, by reading his inspiring story, others will see how crucial it is to preserve their individuality, regardless of how ‘different’ it may make them feel.

It’s OK to not fit into the world, to be an aberration, to not conform to others’ expectations. It’s amazing how much you can prosper despite how negatively the world reacts to your unusual character, as you can see with Alan Turing. So, embrace your true self – your mental health will appreciate it. 🙂

Alan Turing’s words:Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.

If you want to read more about the extraordinary Alan Turing:

4 thoughts on “Alan Turing: The Enigma

  1. Jai says:

    Loved this! I feel like I can relate to not being a typical college student. I feel those same emotions sometimes as an introvert, too. Your words are always inspiring! I can’t wait to see you write more posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theoverthinkingwriter says:

    Loved this! I can relate to being not being a typical college student and such due to me being an introvert. I couldn’t agree more that we should embrace who we are because the right people will love us unconditionally as we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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