Alan Turing‘s story is a reminder of the importance of tolerance. After watching Benedict Cumberbatch portray Turing in The Imitation Game I couldn’t help thinking about the losses our world has suffered because of bigotry, intolerance and lack of empathy. Turing was, without overstating the fact, the inventor of what we know today as the computer. A brilliant mathematician, cryptanalyst and logician, Turing joined the military intelligence teams at Bletchley Park in the U.K. at the beginning of the Second World War. Tasked with breaking the secrets of the German coding machine known as Enigma, he overcame military narrow-mindedness and successfully built a machine capable of reducing millions of hours of manual code-breaking work into minutes.
Rewarded for his work with an O.B.E. he was later arrested and charged with the crime of gross indecency (being a homosexual) which until 1967 was a criminal offense in Britain. Subjected to government-enforced hormonal treatments to chemically castrate and cure him of his “crime” Turing committed suicide in 1954 at forty-one years of age.
The movie is a touching depiction of a tragic life. Benedict Cumberbatch was superb as Alan Turing and I’m surprised it took this long for his story to be told. Prejudice and hate often stem from lack of understanding. Imagine how much more peaceful and productive the world would be if haters and bigots turned their energies to understanding and building positive relationships for good.