Why I Believe that ‘Lucy’ is Misunderstood

After months of an internal conflict between watching the movie ‘Lucy’  for psychological curiosity purpose and not watching it because it is based on a scientific myth (that we used only 10% of our brains), I finally gave it a go and YOLO, I watched it, not expecting anything extraordinary.

Well, erm. Verdict…

Okay so I really don’t know how to express my opinion about the movie without ending up in a rant. For those who follow me on Twitter (@DaphYin), you may have noticed a glimpse of it in the 3-4 continuous tweets I wrote just after the movie was over.

Because, yes, I actually find that ‘Lucy’ is a great movie.

For my taste, it was a little too fast-paced (haha I’m a literature geek, so…) and the scientific myth sometimes gets me confused because I am aware that it’s false but I still play along and stick to the plot.

But the whole concept of it was beautiful!

Basically what I meant by ‘rant’ was ranting about how people focused on the wrong part of the movie, a.k.a. attacked without thinking twice the fact that Luc Besson used a scientific myth, which was actually on purpose! After all, it is science fiction and if there wasn’t any fiction (a.k.a fake stuff) it would just be a documentary.

I believe that those people missed the most important concept of the movie, which is also much present in Interstellar and The Theory of Everything. Actually, go watch Interstellar and The Theory of Everything, then watch Lucy and it will (hopefully) all make sense.

Still don’t get it? Okay, wait for it

I also believe that people took the fictional facts for science and the scientific facts for fiction.


Fiction: we use 10% of our brains.
People take it seriously and attack Besson.

And most people just don’t get it.

Okay now let me introduce my own interpretation of what exactly happened and why it makes sense to me in a scientific way (and why therefore the movie is genius):

The movie in its core, in my opinion, revolves around the theory of evolution and the famous metaphysical questions faced by scientists everyday:

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality?

Source: The first line that describes ‘The Grand Design’ by Stephen Hawking

From the beginning of ‘Lucy’, one can see that the editor juxtaposed the usual movie scenes with Nat Geo -like clips, like the cheetah going after the antelope and the foreshadowing ape drinking water for instance. Isn’t that to show us the real point of the movie? I was quite surprised during those shot crossovers… in a pleasant way. I also liked the crosscutting of the painting of Michaelangelo, The Creation of Adam, in the movie, because it became a strong narrative element at the end. It adds another hypothetical question: who is the Creator, if there is any?

(Oh my god, am I getting too technical? Haha, currently studying Film so excuse my jargon…)

Going to the ending, I know many are disappointed in it and many also don’t understand it.

To put it simply, what happened to Lucy was that, no she didn’t die or just disappeared. She transcended to a higher dimension! Probably the fourth, which is the one scientists are currently working on, as we are in the third dimension already.

Interstellar anyone?

I believe the movie was oversimplified in terms of science, but this was to make it understandable to everyone… although it didn’t exactly work, but it’s okay. Remember Lucy’s explanation of time being a unit of measurement instead of the laws of mathematics? Time being the one that rules us all? She used that example of a clip of a running car, which if one keeps on speeding the video, one would see the car getting more blurry until it completely becomes invisible to the naked eye. This is a perfect example (well, to my little understanding of that side of science anyway) of our perception of Time, and basically of the other dimensions. They are here, but we cannot see them on a third dimensional plane.

All of these are hypotheses in science of course, but it’s fact in the sense that, it’s a scientific area that is taken very seriously. To understand life and the universe, and well, everything, we have to push our boundaries and look for what we cannot see; break through the higher dimensions and, who knows, maybe even control Time (the library in the black hole in Interstellar, as an illustration of this theory).

Get it now? Or am I a really bad teacher? (If it’s the case, it’s not my fault, I don’t study science; I’m an Arts student, but this was never a limit to my raw interest in science).

In the end, ‘Lucy’ is thought-provoking as it tackles those deepest questions in scientific research, that are about life and the creation of the universe. The myth of the 10% capacity of the brain could have simply been a device to construct a coherent story, from 10% to 100%, which could signify scientific progress: hopefully, one day, we’ll reach that 100%, the ultimate knowledge about everything.

Lastly, I would like to point out one last scene I liked in the movie: at the end, when Lucy was taking in all the knowledge and she arrived right at the clip of the ape drinking water. Then she pointed her index finger at the animal and the animal ended up doing the same: it’s a replica of Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam! Lucy was God and the animal was Adam and Adam received knowledge from God, and it is with this knowledge that we, humans, are a more advanced species than any other animal.

What is the significance of this scene? Can we ever unify science and the idea of the Creator? If God is man-made, then the moment our science will reach 100%, will we be what we’ve always called God? Then, the whole idea of God will become irrelevant. I can draw from this that the word ‘God’ is a way for us to describe the ‘unknown’. And once there’s no more ‘unknown’… there’s no more God, instead there are ‘Gods’, a.k.a. humans.

Let me stop this before it gets confusing and complicated.

Okay, last last thing from ‘Lucy’, that I just realised as I was writing the above paragraph: there’s also another important message in the movie. It is that what we are and what we know and how we are now are what makes us human. As Lucy’s brain increased in capacity, she found herself deprived of humanity. Humans are flawed, just like science, and it is very unlikely that an absolute truth will be discovered, because the moment there are no more uncertainties, the moment there are no more flaws, then… what would become of us? Basically, it’s all a reflection about the meaning of being human.

Whew! That was a long post! If you’ve read all this until the end, I’d like to thank you very much for keeping up with my weird crazy revolutionary thoughts. Seriously, I really appreciate it!

Yes, I am hopefully going to blog more.

An Evil Nymph.

8 thoughts on “Why I Believe that ‘Lucy’ is Misunderstood

  1. I didn’t think much of the science of Interstellar. I just enjoyed the movie, and got totally entertained. Of course I can understand a bit of the scientific part, but I didn’t attempt to understand the existence of a different dimension. My brain will just explode.

    1. I see. Of course, I admit that I’m not a science student, so for me it was convincing and intriguing enough 🙂 Everyone has their own perspective, thanks for sharing yours.

  2. What? Do we actually use more than 10% of our brain power? I have heard that all my life we use less than 10% and i always believed it was true. Is there any scientific evidence that shows it is not true?

    I feel that idea has been proved over and over again in my life. For example, when i studied Chinese, I learned about one hundred new words a day. I didn’t think my brain would do that because in the past i was only using a little of the available brain power. I have dozens of other examples, but it will tire my fingers, so i’ll stop here. Please let me know.

    1. Hey sorry for the late reply! I used to believe that it was true all my life until I started studying Psychology in university and read this book from my school library “50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior”. Indeed, it is a myth, a pseudoscience and yes it’s backed up by scientific evidence.

  3. Urban myth: We’re using only 10% of the brain.
    Truth: We have access to 100% of the brain all the time.
    Brain = 10% neuron + 90% Glial cells (supporting/connecting tissues)

    But doesn’t mean we actually use the whole brain, because:

    – we live in patterns and habits
    – activate only certain (habitual) pathway unconsciously
    – shut down a lot of functions of brain
    – we don’t need 100% brain

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