Why do we keep holding onto things that aren't true?
'Lucy' and the 10 percent brain myth
Somewhere in the untraceable unity of time someone postulated that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. With dolphins using 20 percent, it kind of puts the question to us of who is actually the top of the evolutionary ladder. The problem isn’t that this hypothesis is wrong. Hypotheses are proposed like marriage in Vegas and discarded just as easily. The problem is that this idea has persisted far beyond its useful lifespan.
Until Lucy, I was happy to believe that people only used 10 percent of their brains. It explained why people do dumb things and also gave them the potential of growing their intelligence to do things that are a little less dumb. It was a balm in two ways. The first comfort was that people could be smarter, and the second was that I could become smarter. The Stephen Romney posted this review of Luc Besson’s Lucy.
I wanted to challenge Romney’s assertion that people use most of their brain, but rather than jump right in and say something that may or may not have been true (turns out direct refutation would not have been true), I went to the source of all information, the Internet, where I found this article from Scientific American that upheld Romney’s assertion and made me sad.
In a world without the ability to use more of the brain, we all must suffer people remaining as dumb as they are with no real opportunity to progress, and it is quite possible as we look through history of war and violence that it is true that humans will remain what they have always been. However, confronting the truth should never be a bad thing, even when it causes the individual to have to give up long held beliefs. Confronting the truth is the only way to solve problems. As long as the truth remains hidden, we cannot use any percentage of our brain to solve them because we do not know they exist.
Knowing that we use all of our brain means that we are better equipped to choose how to use it. If we want to use it watching TV and learning falsehoods, we can, but we can also use it to postulate the most wild and absurd of all hypotheses. Then we can test them out. Learning and becoming more knowledgeable isn’t about how much gray matter you use, but how you choose the gray matter that you have.
Read my review of Lucy