The Role of Movies in Circulating Urban Myths

A couple of days ago I watched Lucy starring Scarlet Johansen, it made me have two thoughts, first, how a good script can discuss an important idea, and in this film it was that we as human beings are not using our full brain potential to advance as a species, the second thought I had was; How movies can spread wrong ideas and theories. somehow, contradictory, but please bear with me.

I first had to dig the truthfulness of the main idea the film is based on, that is “We only use 10 percent of our brain”. As it turns out this is nothing more than an urban myth, it’s hard to establish how it started but it’s been circulating for a long time.

Research shows we use every part of our brain and that most of the brain is active almost all the time, according to the Scientific American website. Scientists were able to establish through imaging technology that most of the brain is continuously active, however, as Dr. John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, explains, “Even in sleep, areas such as the frontal cortex, which controls things like higher level thinking and self-awareness, or the somatosensory areas, which help people sense their surroundings, are active”.

So physiologically we use almost all parts of our brain. But I think reaching our potential is what does not exceed 10% for many people. That’s what separates highly productive and achieving individuals from others who are not.

The film “Lucy” taps on the notion of using our brain to its full capacity to unleash incomprehensible knowledge, which I have to say is a wonderful concept to discuss. The main idea of the film suggests important questions we need to ask ourselves, however, the theory it is based is untrue, it’s like having a research based on a wrong theory but the research methods are valid and accurate, the same happened here, the main idea that ‘we’ as humans use only 10% of our brain is an urban myth. Other movies had the same idea; John Travolta’s “Phenomenon”, and “Limitless” starring Bradley Cooper.

Movies are powerful mediums to present ideas and concepts to the public. Scriptwriters can get away with it, after all, as they see it, their work stems from fiction so they can’t be held accountable for it. It becomes our responsibility, as viewers, to be savvy enough as not to accept any piece of knowledge without checking them first.

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