If you’ve had the TV on anytime in the last month you’ve probably seen commercials for the new Luc Besson movie Lucy. In it Scarlett Johansson plays a woman who accidentally ingests a new wonder drug that allows her to access 100% of her brain. The same general concept has been done a few times before, the first one popping into my mind being 2011’s Limitless starring Bradley Cooper. The only real difference between the two is that Bradley Cooper’s character takes the drug voluntarily, whereas in Lucy our heroine has it forced upon her.

That’s all beside the point. The point is, they unlock the key to the vast expanses of their cerebral capacity where the mysteries of the universe dwell to redefine the meaning of life, spirituality, and awaken the subject to a new, uncharted level of humanity. As a result, hilarity ensues.

Imagine, if you can, if this happened to you. Someone walks up and presents you with a blue pill and a red pill. Take the blue pill and the story ends, you wake up in your bed and have the same brain power you had when you went to sleep yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and so on. Take the red pill and your brain becomes your Wonderland and you get to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if after all that hype of opening up the billions of neurons in my brain I decide to take the red pill or get struck by lightning or whatever and I can’t do any of the incredible things they have in the movies!? Scarlett Johansson is levitating bad guys. Bradley Cooper is cracking open stock market patterns. Keanu Reeves is stopping bullets. John Travolta is learning Portuguese! (1996’s romantic fantasy Phenomenon, you guys).

If I ended up only being able to finally understand Algebra, I’d be livid (and slightly embarrassed). All I’m saying is that if I ever get the full power of my grey matter it better deliver. If I can’t figure out an easy way to rob a bank without breaking a sweat, then something’s not right. Not saying I’d do it, of course. It’d just be nice to know the option is out there.


  1. The best plot point in “Limitless” (minor spoiler here) is that he ends up smart enough to figure out how to not get caught. Too many of these guys have people becoming suuuuuper geeeeeniuses, only to act about as bright as a drunken five-year-old.

    What worries me about all of these “super brain” scenarios is that I’ve seen “Charlie” too many times since “Flowers For Algernon” is one of my all-time favorite books. The ending still rips me up every time.

  2. The whole “we only use 10% of our brains” myth has been debunked so often and so thoroughly but somehow manages to keep popping up. It came from a quote from a neurologist who said back in the 1960’s that only about 10% of the brain had been mapped–no scientist has ever claimed that humans only use 10% of their brains, just that medicine at the time only knew with certainty what about 10% of the brain does. Brain maps have improved considerably since then, so the original statement isn’t even true anymore.

    Sorry, pet peeve.

    This having been said, I’ll probably see “Lucy”. I love both Luc Besson as a filmmaker and Scarlett Johansson as an actor. I’m willing to forgive the absurdity of the concept.

    • Movies and books are so often based on downright outrageous plot lines. It sure does make for some decent science fiction entertainment though. Heyyy…wait a minute…so you’re saying that even if I get struck by lightning or take some experimental pill, I’m never going to levitate? Or read minds? Or get past basic algebra?? I’ve been standing out in storms and flirting with pharmaceutical sales guys for no reason whatsoever? Well, thanks for bursting my bubble. 🙂

  3. This is the kind of post that one yearns to make every day ! – nothing complex, but totally thought-provoking. Goodonyer !!!!! 😀

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