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?

  • 8
    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, 2014 at 15:53
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    FWIW, the director has stated he is fully aware that the "10% of our brain" thing is entirely false.
    – Bobson
    Aug 12, 2014 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, 2014 at 23:15
  • 3
    For a one-word answer, the concept behind what happens to Lucy is apotheosis.
    – Izkata
    Aug 12, 2014 at 23:22
  • 2
    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, 2014 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.

  • 13
    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, 2014 at 21:26
  • 3
    I agree. An apotheosis away from the goodness that is Scarlett is a downgrade, at best. Aug 14, 2014 at 22:03
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    @Monty129 Especially since she was the only thing that made the movie remotely bearable. Dec 3, 2014 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.

  • 8
    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!" vulture.com/2014/07/luc-besson-director-lucy-chat.html Aug 12, 2014 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, 2014 at 20:12
  • @Nerrolken - I don't think that's actually true either, where did you hear it?
    – Hypnosifl
    Jan 24, 2016 at 18:07

reff : Lucy Explained

The theory the movie sides with is that when the brain works close to the 10% capacity (which is the amount the average mind uses), humans will function as we know them to. Humans will have a conscience and cognisense. This is basically everyone we know.

The 10% theory is shunned upon by many, but let us ignore that for the sake of the movie.

When humans start to tap into more of their brains, the movie suggests that the humans will not be restricted by touch to access things (mechanical force). Lucy is able to access wireless networks by plugging into it mentally. The theory is that with higher % of brain usage, humans can access and use the electromagnetic fields just like we pick up a glass of water with our hands. In our world today, this is supernatural but the movie suggests that it is not supernatural but just a higher state of existence.

As Lucy's brain function elevates further and further, she is able to tap into and use all forms of energy around her. She can look into the past or the stars and galaxy because they are all forms of light energy that she can access. (eg: The reflection of yourself in a mirror is you looking at the past because light takes finite time to travel from you to the mirror and back to your eyes)

The final disintegration bit was a little outrageous. The theory there is that with 100% tapping of a brain's functions, you don't need to exist in the physical form of a human at all. She becomes an omnipresent conscience that is connected through pure energy. Pure energy that can alter other form of energy as she likes. She is able to control electromagnetic fields to get networks to send out SMSs, SMSs are after all signals that are sent to the phone over a wireless network.

There is also some of the Asian philosophies that are in alignment with the film:

Dvaitam: Is the concept that most of the world follows. There is a divine power and there are the creations of the divine power. This is dualism.

Advaitam: Is the concept of one single reality. Atman (the living soul) is the same as Bhraman (single reality). What life is, is merely an illusion that we perceive. Everything living is merely a combined conscience. To get to that realization is deemed attaining Nirvana.

Vishishtadvaitam: is the concept of one single reality too. The difference is that here we have the divine power has multiplicity. This means the living exist in a pseudo-singular existence, but death causes the being to unite with the single reality.

Lucy explains that “we never really die”. This pairs well with the concept of Vishishtadvaitam where death only leads to rejoining a singular reality. Lucy, based on the concepts of Advaitam, has attained Nirvana and is now aware that she's part of that singular reality and doesn't need her physical body anymore. "She is everywhere".


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.

Image of a monitor showing the "SAMSUNG" logo at the top, displaying the text "I AM EVERYWHERE"

Oh, and the USB contained

"Twenty-five centuries of knowledge"

whatever that means.

  • 1
    Product placement for Samsung!
    – Jash Jacob
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:40
  • 2
    "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, 2014 at 7:35
  • @ericsmith - Ah, but can you fit neatly into a flash drive?
    – Valorum
    Dec 4, 2014 at 7:39
  • I don't think it was ever implied that Lucy fitted neatly into a flash drive. Sep 27, 2015 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. Sep 27, 2015 at 12:27

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


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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