Oh, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy…
As proposed in the previous blog, I did go on to view the highly suggested film, Lucy. It was a bit weirder than anticipated. Luc Besson seemed to enjoy wrapping the insanely weird around the incredibly intellectual. At least, it was greatly accomplished in this film. However, there is one thing that really bothers me about the structure of Lucy. There are some potentially great concepts that get ridiculously overshadowed by strange and over the top imagery. Maybe this is the problem these days. When it comes to the attention span of the average person in our current state of social and entertainment consumption, compelling philosophy has to be hidden within ludicrously bright and shiny packages to even see the light of day. I get that movies have to be written as entertaining in order to make money but Mr. Besson had something beautiful under all of that fluff. It just got a bit… buried. The theories behind the percentage of brain usage are not entirely his idea but it is an interesting way of presenting a common argument.
The idea is this; human beings only utilize ten percent of their brain’s capacity. First, it was only a certain ten percent and then it became ten percent at a time but who cares about specifics at this point? All that really matters in this argument is the theories that float around about the possibilities of using all of our brain at one time. What would we be capable of if we could utilize one hundred percent? This movie delved into the idea that once the percentage started to climb, we would not only gain control of our entire body but also the environment around us. At one hundred percent capacity, we could control time and space.
Okay, sure but let’s start at the beginning. After a questionable substance gets released into her bloodstream through dirty drug trafficking gone array, Lucy suddenly gains the ability to “turn on” the rest of her brain. How her body actually sustains such consumption is never really understood but this is not the point. It all starts with her simply becoming aware of her entire cellular makeup. Each cell is aware of the others and she even becomes aware of their… well, memories, I guess. At one point in the film, she states how she can remember the feeling of growing pains and goes on to describe it with a little bit of detail. The question that gets raised at this point is that if this is possible for us to understand, what would become of diseases or deformities? Say that every human being on the planet is suddenly able to control each cell within his or her body to the point of eradicating every bad or diseased cell. What would be the need for healthcare anymore? The idea of frailty would go out the window. Everyone would gain the ability to live forever. However, immortality would seem to pose a different kind of threat. Overpopulation would become rampant. Each individual would gain a godlike mentality causing faith and religion to become meaningless. Humanity would cease to exist. The beginning stages of Lucy’s development alone are enough to cause fear of human extinction. We would still exist on this planet but the laws of humanity would not.
The next stages of Lucy’s development go into a little more of a mystical side of the theory. As the film progresses she gains the abilities to control other living beings as well as matter. Towards the end, she becomes telepathic, psychic, and a bit of a time traveler. Through a conversation with scientists, she begins to explain that even though we have always understood that the laws of mathematics help govern humanity this is not the case. She states, “One plus one equals two. That’s all we’ve learned, but one plus one has never equaled two. There are, in fact, no numbers and no letters. We’ve codified our existence to bring it down to human size to make it comprehensible. We’ve created a scale so that we can forget its unfathomable scale.” We, as human beings, cannot begin to understand the depth of our own existence. We have developed certain laws to help us to comprehend some form of control. Without this, chaos and disorder would ensue. However, what we gain from her statement is that this is a basic understanding on the human level. If we take this to a “godly” or more developed standpoint, this idea just does not matter. She later goes on to, essentially, explain that time is all that matters and is the only real definite factor of our existence. Through Lucy’s evolution, however, she has almost completely lost her sense of humanity and simply becomes a relic of greater knowledge and understanding.
Where does this leave us? Lucy explains to us that the ten percent functionality of the brain is the limit of humanity. Without that limit, humanity is lost. What is the point of existing if total knowledge and the complete comprehension of self is everything that the brain can accomplish? Once we know all, there is just being. That thought is beyond reason of humanity and is, therefore, the defining factor of our percentage limitations. This should end the argument, right? Well, maybe but it is just a different theory. Someone else will either disprove this or formulate another theory. This is the beauty of philosophy… or the confusion. Sometimes the difference is hard to understand.
What is my point in stating all of this? For me, it comes back to the structure of the film and that bright and shiny package. The fast paced lifestyles that we all seem to have now and the overuse of technology seems to have flat lined the ability for people to have conversations like this, especially our youth. It is all about social media instead of simply debating a topic over a liquid substance in a face-to-face scenario. I am not saying that the imagery in Lucy is unenjoyably used but it just goes a bit over the top. If you have seen the film, what is it that you remember about it, the imagery or the philosophy? There is no greater debate than trying to understand the reasoning behind our existence. Even if we never find a definite explanation, why should we stop the conversation? With the way our youngest generation is growing up, this seems to be a growing problem. This is my plea for people to stop searching for the answers on the Internet and just imagine a possible answer for themselves. Creating a theory and a debate should not need a bow tied around it to develop interest. As long as the idea is not half-assed then it should be given some light. An idea presented is not an idea wasted.
On a different note, why can I not go back to just enjoying the entertainment of a film without analyzing everything about it?! I love that some films challenge my thought process but, at times, it can be a curse. The amount of time that I have spent writing all of this down could have been spent generating revenue to support my movie addiction… AND my child AND general ability to live but, mainly, my movie addiction.
Anyway, I do it all in good fun. Just a little something I offer to spark some thought in you. Now, I shall spend some time with mindless violence on film! The ten percent of my brain that has been used is tired.