Are our brains really Limitless?

Thanks to Netflix, we now have access to so many TV series, which would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Many a times TV channels do not renew a TV series for a second season, just because of low viewership and not because the series is itself bad in some sense. It’s all about money, in the end. One such TV show is Limitless. The show is directed very well, the actors have acted beautifully and the story is damn too good. Still somehow the show didn’t click well with the audience. According to many viewers the plot and the story were darn too complicated. I just finished watching all the episodes of Limitless and can safely say with full conviction that apart from Fargo, no other TV show has been adapted so beautifully from a movie like Limitless.

Becoming omniscient and omnipotent has long been the fantasy of human beings. Many fictional superheroes, many fictional accounts of human beings achieving omnipotence have been created and written about as a result of this fantasy. Limitless too goes along the same lines. But instead of physical power it focusses on the mental one. It’s a story of a man, who under the influence of wonder drug NZT is able to tap 100% of his brain. Similar concept was used in the movie Lucy, in which Scarlett Johansson, slowly under the influence and overdose of a different experimental drug is able to tap more and more part of her brain with time.

Many of my friends went crazy about Lucy, to the point of watching it twice or thrice, but somehow I felt that the movie had ended within the first thirty minutes itself when it was revealed that Scarlett is walking on the path of becoming omniscient and ultimately omnipotent. Though styled as science fiction, I personally believe that the movie fails to adhere to that categorization. I feel it should rather be categorized as a fantasy movie than being a sci-fi one. With each and every moment after the first thirty minutes, the movie slips further into what I think as the fancy metaphysics masquerading as science fiction.

The human ego of believing ourselves to be at the apogee of evolution and anthropocentric view of the world is given new heights in the movie. The movie wants us to believe that human brain is the best brain the nature can ever offer and tapping it to full 100% would result in human beings becoming akin to God, though in a scientific way. I wonder had there been no humans and if the world had been full of apes, what would have happened if one of the apes could tap 100% of its brain. Or what would happen if my neighbor’s pet cat could utilize 100% of its brain? If these creatures can’t alter the time and space even after using 100% of their brain then why a human being who can use 100% of his brain can? Why utilizing all of our brain be akin to being God–like? The movie fails to acknowledge that evolution is still an ongoing process and it may not be necessary that we sit at the top of the hierarchy when it comes to intelligence. The movie fails to acknowledge that our brain isn’t as powerful as it would be one million years later (if, of course, we survive by then). And if we believe that there could be life on other faraway Earth like planets, then it is also very likely that there are more evolved and hundred times better brained creatures than us humans.

Some of us who believe in souls also believe that animals don’t possess any as they are inferior in intelligence as compared to us. Could then an alien being who is 100 times better brained than us also end up believing that humans too don’t possess souls like them? Would such alien beings believe that all the emotions we human beings have, all our thoughts are nothing but the result of chemicals and hormones acting inside our body and specifically our dull brains? The writers of Lucy have made a similar mistake. They consider that human brains are the best the nature and biological evolution could ever offer.

It was for this reason I found the movie Limitless much more “scientific” than Lucy. Limitless both as a movie and as a TV show is devoid of such anthropocentric arrogance and bias. The person high on wonder drug NZT becomes super smart and is better mentally equipped than other human beings. But the creators of this TV show don’t take it far enough to the point of Godliness as it is in the so-called science fiction movie Lucy. Human minds have its limits just like ape brains have theirs. Using 100% of our brain would certainly not make us God like, although it would indeed make us a superhuman. And we certainly can’t time travel, alter matter, or tap other dimensions even if we could utilize all of our brain.

Anyway, science fiction lovers and thrill seekers would love watching this TV series. I just hope Limitless gets renewed for another season. It has been two years since the first season ended. So future indeed looks bleak for Limitless lovers.

I can say with certitude that those who have neither seen the ‘Limitless’ movie nor the ‘Limitless’ TV show, they have missed a little in their lives. Science fiction lovers must see at least the movie if not the TV show. It will give one a new perspective. It will make one think. Moreover one will be entertained. Bradley Cooper rocked in the movie as always.

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