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So, I just watched the movie Lucy (starring Scarlet Johansson), and although I think I got most of it, I do have some questions about it.

To begin with:

"Humans normally use only about 10% of their cerebral capacity"?

What is the significance of stating the figure to be 10% in context of the movie, especially when there seems to be a lot of disagreement stating otherwise? There is this article on Wikipedia: Ten percent of brain myth and another one which places this belief to be on the List of common misconceptions. Why, then, are we told that the usage is just 10%?

And the most essential question I have:

By the time she reaches 100%, what exactly does Lucy turn into?

Throughout the progression of her transformation, wherein Lucy steadily gets access to further remote areas of her brain, she is shown to acquire several powers. She travels through the space/time continuum, traveling back through time to reach the ape Lucy. Also, when there is a glimpse of planets, galaxies and universes, I'm thinking that is intended to imply that she gains knowledge of formation of galaxies as well.

At the very end, what exactly does she become?

After all this ends, and especially in light of the text Lucy sends: I am everywhere, would you say that Lucy has become God, or something beyond God, or something else entirely?

Also, when Lucy responds with the text at the end, what are we told? Does it mean that Lucy is now physically dead, but omnipresent via the USB, or perhaps even without it?

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The whole "10% of our brain" thing is pretty ridiculous when you realize that your brain isn't used as a whole for a single function, but actually broken down in to different parts that are used for different functions (i.e. medulla oblongata for respiration, reflex, cerebellum for fine motor control etc.) – Monty129 Aug 12 '14 at 15:53
FWIW, the director has stated he is fully aware that the "10% of our brain" thing is entirely false. – Bobson Aug 12 '14 at 21:31
I think the 10% thing was actually said slightly differently at one point (and completely seriously), then twisted by Hollywood into what it is now. If the original intent was along the lines of "10% of your neurons are firing at any given moment", then it makes sense - as far as I know, if all neurons fired constantly, you couldn't function since there's no longer any peaks/lows to transmit information between neurons. – Izkata Aug 12 '14 at 23:15
For a one-word answer, the concept behind what happens to Lucy is apotheosis. – Izkata Aug 12 '14 at 23:22
She ascended into heaven and becoming omnipresent cosmic consciousness (God). Self Consciousness is awareness of being aware, possessed only by humans; and Cosmic Consciousness, awareness of the life and order of the universe, possessed only by humans who are enlightened. – kenorb Oct 21 '14 at 9:44

6 Answers 6

She became what Luc Besson thinks of the Ultimate Human as being; a connection to the Universe itself, passing back information to its descendants as it transcends our experiences.

  • Does she become a godlike being, able to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum as easily as you or I breathe? Most certainly. For her space-time is as flexible as matter is to us. She has as little to do with humanity as we do with a paramecium.

  • She is unlikely to have become God, the Prime Mover, the creator of the Universe, since she existed as a human and the Universe already existed. Unless you are partial to a Universe where causality can be...flexible. This would be a Universe where an action and a result are not necessarily related to each other directly.

  • Is Lucy dead? The movie does not posit her being dead. She is everywhere and nowhere. The policemen she used as an anchor to reality gets her final message because he was how she referenced her existence for a time. Lucy is now so far beyond our concepts of life and death, matter and energy, being and non-being as to be completely out of our realm of understanding.

As for the percentage counter:

  • Storytelling and narrative prose uses counters, calculators, and countdowns as a means of creating a thread for the viewer to become invested in the development of the character. It acts as a measuring tool, a timer for how much capability has passed as well as foreshadowing to what is to come. A simple tool, but effective to most viewers.

  • The calculation of brain activity is meant as a narrative thread to allow the viewer to follow along with Lucy as she transcends her humanity. Scientists agree, current brain theories have very little to do with the 10% activity model and how the brain works; it is an outmoded concept from an earlier age.

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I have to say, anything that makes Scarlett Johansson into something that's no longer Scarlett Johansson is not ok in my book, regardless of how far up the evolutionary ladder she's gone. – Monty129 Aug 14 '14 at 21:26
I agree. An apotheosis away from the goodness that is Scarlett is a downgrade, at best. – Thaddeus Aug 14 '14 at 22:03
@Monty129 Especially since she was the only thing that made the movie remotely bearable. – Anthony Grist Dec 3 '14 at 22:27

Why, then, are we told that the usage is just 10%?

Because its the premise for the movie - it doesn't have to truthfully reflect actual known science, it just has to sound plausible to act as the basis for the story.

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The director agrees: "It’s totally not true. Do they think that I don’t know this? I work on this thing for nine years and they think that I don’t know it’s not true? Of course I know it’s not true!" – Mooing Duck Aug 12 '14 at 19:59
There are some statistics about us only using 10% of our brains consciously, but that doesn't mean that the other 90% is unused, it means that the other 90% is devoted to regulating body temp, running the digestive system, and making sure you don't fall down. – Nerrolken Dec 3 '14 at 20:12

The original screenplay indicates that Luc Besson had in mind that she had transcended space and time to become part of the universe itself:

The camera hurtles at top speed through periods and plains toward Lucy, sitting on her chair in the middle of the lab.

The camera arrives so fast, like a car speeding into a wall, and the impact is so violent that Lucy disappears.

Her clothes fall on the floor. She is nowhere and, most likely, everywhere. She is now part of the Universe, part of this never-ending story that constantly lives and dies, like a simple cell.

Quite how this allows her to continue existing and what it means for the human race isn't spelled out. Based on the final scene, it seems likely that we're supposed to presume that she has become a god.

enter image description here

Oh, and the USB contained

"Twenty-five centuries of knowledge"

whatever that means.

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Product placement for Samsung! – Jash Jacob Nov 30 '14 at 4:40
"she had transcended space and time to become part of the universe itself" -- I don't know about you, but I'm already "part of the universe itself", though I didn't have to transcend space and time to achieve that. – Eric Smith Dec 4 '14 at 7:35
@ericsmith - Ah, but can you fit neatly into a flash drive? – Richard Dec 4 '14 at 7:39
I don't think it was ever implied that Lucy fitted neatly into a flash drive. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 27 at 12:26
@EricSmith: I think the idea is that you are only "part of the universe itself" in the sense that a drop of water is contained within a jar ... whereas Lucy is "part of the universe itself" in the sense that she is [part of] the jar. She's not in it any more; she is it. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 27 at 12:27

She became Shrodinger


Joke aside, she became a being outside of our comprehension, capable of being anywhere she want in time and space, and as such, everywhere and nowhere in the same time.

She don t have a physical body anymore, but she became one with the universe, space, time, she may not be god, but the being the closest to be it.

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I couldn't help notice the striking similarity between what happened to Lucy at end, and what they call Acension in Stargate. Read this:

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My theory is that at the end Lucy transcends to a state of pure energy that's why she says she is everywhere, it may be the next step after humans reach the pinnacle of evolution.

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Being in a "state of pure energy" does not in any way imply that someone is everywhere. – Eric Smith Dec 4 '14 at 23:57
The idea of "pinnacle of evolution" is nonsensical too. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 27 at 12:27

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