Logicomix is a group of talented, innovative people who made up a comic book story with a twist. Who would say no to understanding mathematics and the intricacies of human nature in life through a comic book? That is exactly what ‘An Epic Search for Truth’ by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou (Logicomix) does.
It is an imaginary-tale biography of a mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and his pursuit to ascertain the valid basis of mathematics. In the story Russell narrates his story, beginning with his childhood. It starts with his atypical background in his grandparents’ house leading to his passion with his work, his relationship with Wittgenstein and his pacifism. It is set at the commencement of WW2 while he is giving a lecture at an American university. The theme of the lecture is the role of logic in human interactions while the audience is full of anti-war activists expecting Russell to take a stance along their side.
The audience insists that he explain how logic fits in with the global conflict at hand, but Russell’s story will clearly demonstrate that the issue is more multifaceted than anyone may at first anticipate.
Thus, the story consists of five themes: logic and madness, science, the quest, the hero and paradox. The creators of this comic tale have gone a step further and included themselves in the story. Set in Athens, it is where they present their pick of themes and comment on the storyline itself. By doing so, they allow the reader to enter the world of Logicomix-the minds and hearts of the creators themselves and listen in on their differences and reservations(the writers as mentioned above are Doxiades and Papadimitriou, and the artists are Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna).
The designers present the complications with which they’ve had to struggle and make decisions on a variety of subjects while creating the story, which makes for further appreciation on the part of the reader. It does not, however, create a stiff or complicated atmosphere; on the contrary, they have added humor. And in doing so have been able to present the theme of logic and madness (the connection between Russell’s genius and his record of mental illness) in a coherent, uncomplicated way. And it is his quest for absolute truth which inspires the reader to continue on the search along with Russell. His youthful soul is encouraged by the straightforward truth of logic, but as he matures and becomes more the philosopher he must make sense of the complexity of life that does not follow suit with logic.
Knowledge in this epic story is gained by paying a price through personal anguish. Russell is an insightful and pensive man whose personal conflicts, accomplishment and tragedy are shared by many great intellectuals of the 20th century (Poincaré and Frege are two among others that come to life in the story). Logicomix: a story, a teaching and an adventurous mission for the truth; one no self-respecting individual should miss.