Pet Peeve #1357

I just watched the movie Lucy. Unfortunately, as good as the action scenes might have been, the entire premise of this movie irritated the shit out of me.  Had I known beforehand I never would have picked it up.

There is a common misconception that we only use 10% of our brain.  The movie plot involves a drug that lets Lucy tap into more and more of it, giving her all sorts of wild abilities.  There’s a ticker on the bottom of the screen that keeps going up until she’s using 100%.

That is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

When someone first told me that use such a small percentage of our brain I laughed in their face.  Someone would have to have a single digit IQ to believe that nonsense.  We evolved from apes, built a world wide civilization, sky scrapers, and sent men to the moon operating on 10% efficiency?  Really?  We argue that our big brains are what separated us from ‘lesser’ animals but then turn around and say that we’re only using a small percentage of it?

If you believe that nonsense, why don’t you let me give you a lobotomy and remove the 90% you’re “not using”?  Or let me shoot you in the head.  After all, there’s a 90% chance I won’t hit anything important, right?  It’s for science, people!

Why are head injuries such a big deal?  We’re barely using it, right?

Gah, stupidity!  Idiocracy seems more and more like a real glimpse into our sad future.

It is true that only a small percentage of our brain is active at any given moment.  When you’re remembering something that part of the brain lights up, when you’re looking at something the visual parts of the brain are activated, etc.  But that doesn’t mean that the inactive parts of the brain are redundant, it just means they aren’t being used at that specific moment.  We use all of our brain, just not at once.

There’s a good article about the science here:

If the movie plot had been about increasing the efficiency, or activating more parts at once, or increasing the connectivity between portions of our brain that would have been perfectly fine.  But it wasn’t.  I might have been able to move past the flawed premise and just watch the action but there was that stupid ticker at the bottom that was a constant reminder.  OMG, she’s using 80% of her brain!  She’s telepathic now!  Geez, why are the rest of us stuck at 10%?

A dumb movie that just adds to the already too common, ridiculous misconception.

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