Lucy & Alarm Clocks

How do our brains work?

Why do our minds work the way they do?

Earlier this week I saw Luc Besson's new film, Lucy. M. Besson has long been one of my favorite directors. I still watch The Fifth Element and all the Transporter movies a few times a year. He has a very European way of putting a story together, a knack Hollywood would never quite understand, and Lucy is destined to maintain his reputation. The last time I came out of a cinema unable to speak was 1990 after I'd seen La Femme Nikita, another one of M. Busson's excellent creations.

"Lucy" will also reignite the debate about how much of the human brain is actually used. M. Besson has already gone on record saying he knows we use far more than the 10% mentioned in the film, but that it was an excellent premise for a movie. I agree with him completely. Much research has gone into proving how much, where and how we use our brains, and general consensus seems to be that we use quite a lot, although we don't always know what for or why.

Last year I read Deepak Chopra & Rudolph Tanzi's "The Super Brain". I bought it in an airport mistakenly believing it to be a book about how to stave off Alzheimer's, a concern fairly common to people in my age group, and was pleasantly surprised. It is about how the brain evolved, and how it can be used more effectively. Mr Chopra and Mr Tanzi tell this far better than I can, and I encourage anyone interested in this topic to buy the book. I'm mentioning it here because of its connection to the film Lucy.

Underlying both the book and film is the idea that if we could really get the hang of using our brains, we could be far more than we are now. All human beings have tremendous untapped potential.

In First World, Western society Analysis and Logic are kings. People who excel in these areas are often rewarded accordingly.

But there are plenty of ways of using our minds that go far beyond the areas of analysis and logic.

One exercise out of The Super Brain, as an example. Don't use lists. I can hear your reaction already. "If I don't write it down I'd never remember anything." "I have to have a list or I'd forget half my groceries." This was my reaction too, initially. I stopped using lists about a year ago. I moved interstate, organised all my packing and moving without making a single list and without forgetting anything. I never use a grocery list now and I rarely forget anything from the supermarket. Lists are no longer part of my life, and my memory has improved accordingly.

Another example. As you are going to sleep, tell yourself you will wake up at (say) 7 am. It may take a few days to get it working - a good idea to practice on a weekend first - but it does work. You can train your brain to wake up when you want to, and instead of being jolted out of a deep sleep by an external alarm clock you will wake naturally, feeling refreshed and ready to start a new day.

A demonstration of something that shouldn't work and does. My phone picks up my emails as well as text messages and phone calls, but I often have it set on silent as I don't like it ringing while I'm working. I regularly check my phone just BEFORE it rings or a text or email message arrive. In other words, something in my brain is aware of signals I can neither hear nor see.

I'm sure many people have examples of the brain functioning in areas where logic and analysis say it shouldn't, and I would love to hear about them.

We can ALL be more then we are now.



5 thoughts on “Lucy & Alarm Clocks

  1. Mike Maxwell

    I've found that the best time to create, or at least, the best time to come up with creative ideas, is while asleep. Doesn't quite make sense at first, but let me give an example.

    Sometimes when I wake up I'll have a song running through my head. Often in my post-somnolent daze, I think it's a song I used to know, or a song by a band I heard on the radio, but in fact it's a song that sprang directly from my unconscious. I've taken to getting out of bed whenever such a song arises, and transcribing it on guitar as quickly as possible - I only have about a 2 minute window before it disappears. The thing is, these "dream songs" are almost always among my best material, and I'm not sure why. My working theory is that the greatest art springs from the unconscious; I even wrote a blog entry on creativity that incorporated this topic. It doesn't work quite as well with writing since writing is a more lengthy process, but I have managed to get a short poem out of the dream state once. Wild stuff.

    There are parts of our mind that are often closed off to us, but if we could tap their potential, who knows what amazing secrets would be unlocked?

    View Comment
    1. Peter Nielsen

      I think we do "tap their potential", but mostly ineptly. Hence big mistakes (including many road accidents), extreme crimes and so on, as well as much good. Since I had my vision 40 years ago I have believed in the Hindu idea that we are all connected to god through our souls. But also our animal natures. Hence "big mistakes, extreme crimes and so on". So I really do think we need to address and learn to use our visionary facilities, which may be general, common, instead of just letting it happen accidentally to individuals in extreme situations, such as when dying. I believe the I Ching oracle taps into the same channel (to God) as visions, so this might be a place to start. I have found it always works.

      View Comment
  2. Peter Nielsen

    I had an interesting, (entirely unexpected and still unexplained as a general) experience of a vision in Antarctica, two weeks before Return To Australia (RTA) in 1975 after wintering over 1974.

    It had what I thought at the time as an Alice In Wonderland structure, that is, it moved from scene to scene via my choosing to do or not do something such as "Drink Me" to key icons such as a bottle of magic fluid as in Alice. Years later, in retrospect, I see that it was also a WIMP Environment, i e Windows Icon Mouse Pointer, before WIMP was invented.

    The vision started with a Sun icon at the window of my little work hut on top of the ridge above the other huts. I soon saw it was not the real sun but a sun in a memory from my childhood and somehow knew I had a choice to enter that memory, by looking at the sun as I recall.

    When I did this, illumination increased greatly while a concurrent perception of my real, tangible surroundings diminished as much, but not so much as to be alarming. I was being re-assured that I could reverse, abort the vision at any time simply by so willing . . .

    What followed was what I believe was a slow but very energetic and therapeutic trip through about one dozen scenes of traumatic childhood memory (I'd ran away from home only to find myself atop a cliff face) and imaginary space, a trip whose director seemed very very impressive.

    At the time and for a year or so afterwards, I thought of that "director on the other side" as a GOD. I now think of it as a poorly understand, evolved, human mental facility, amenity, mostly used in extreme situations such as warfighting, stroke, extreme depression, being at wits end (as in my case) and so on.

    A similar thing happened next day, but soon got very scary. I aborted, and have since only had subliminal visions, one of which caused my only serious car accident, since which brush with death (hit from the right by a car on a wet road, NOT a truck on a dry road !) I have only had short lucid dreams, prior to waking and in other safe situations . . .

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *