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I saw a movie yesterday called Lucy. In this movie, a girl called Lucy absorbs a large amount of CPH4, and her brain capacity slowly increases.
So that brings me to my question which is :
Do we humans use 100% of our cerebral capacity or do we just use 15%?
The idea that we only use 10% of our brain capacity is a myth. There is a great article at wired.com that discusses the myth and it's history.
There is really no reason to evolve an entire brain of which only 10% is used. One great point that they make is that minor brain damage can cause devastating effects, not what you would expect if you had 90% spare capacity waiting around.
The entire brain is rarely firing all at once, and it is hard to average how much is being used because it changes with activity.
There is definite truth in the notion that we do not use the full capacity of our cortex. It is generally accepted that there is a reserve present in the brain that can act as a backup for cerebral damage. Brain reserve can be defined in terms of the amount of damage that can be sustained before reaching a threshold for clinical expression (Stern, 2002).
A notable example is the removal of nearly half of the cortex (referred to as a hemispherectomy) in children with intractable epilepsy. Although behavioral changes may occur and motor skills may become compromised (Van Empelen et al., 2004), these children generally recover remarkably well and overall intellectual performance may in fact improve as compared to before surgery. (Note, however, that the quality of life and brain function of these patients was severely compromised by their medical condition) (Pulsifier et al., 2004). Another example where the brain is shown to have a reserve is the fact that cognitively normal elders sometimes are diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's disease pathology in their brains at death (Stern, 2002). In other words, while their cortex was severely damaged by Alzheimer's, they showed no clinical signs of cognitive deficits.
In all, the brain has a remarkable amount of reserve, which may be interpreted as an incomplete use of total brain capacity.
While this reserve is critical for brain plasticity in response to injury and aging, it is questionable whether it is available to enhance cognition as depicted in the movie.
- Pulsifier et al, Epilepsia (2004); 45(3):243-45
- Stern, J International Neuropsychol Soc (2002); 8: 448-60
- Van Empelen, Brain (2004); 127: 2071-79
The linked wire article in the accepted answer is popular science and I wouldn't base a conclusion on a '60-second-all-you-need-to-know' pseudo-scientific web link.
Busting a brain myth: We really do use 100 percent of our brains
Spoiler alert: Don't believe everything Morgan Freeman's characters tell you.
Image caption: Scarlett Johansson plays the super-smart superhero title character in 'Lucy'
Image credit : Universal Pictures
Just as his god-like Vitruvius fed sweet, naive Emmet a bogus prophecy in The Lego Movie, The Washington Post points out Freeman's latest character is once again doling out Hollywood falsehoods with authority in the summer thriller Lucy.
This time, the movie myth that needs busting is that human beings use only 10 percent of their brains—a "fact" Freeman cites while playing Professor Norman in the TV ads for Lucy, whose title character (played by Scarlett Johansson) "is able to kick butt and take names … because some drug made her a super-powered brainiac."
But it's pure science fiction that it takes a chemical cocktail to make humans use their entire brains. It turns out that we are all already giving it everything we've got, according to Dr. Barry Gordon, a professor of neurology at the School of Medicine and professor of cognitive science at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
The Post refers to an interview with Dr. Gordon, published by Scientific American in 2008.
Gordon, a behavioral neurologist and cognitive neuroscientist, told Scientific American that "we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time," he said. "Let's put it this way: the brain represents three percent of the body's weight and uses 20 percent of the body's energy."
So that settles it, once and for all—with all due respect to Mr. Freeman, who shouldn't take this debunking personally. As the institution once falsely credited with declaring that bones are the coolest part of the body, we can relate.
This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Yohan John, PhD in Cognitive and Neural Systems.
The idea that we only use 10 percent of our brains is a pernicious myth. The brain is always active. It makes a bit more sense to say that we use 100 percent of the brain all the time, but even this is misleading. Both the 10 percent or 100 percent estimates are not even wrong.
Brain function depends on qualitatively different patterns of activity, rather than quantities of activity. These patterns change depending on what you are doing, so some neurons or groups of neurons become active when others become inactive. Activating all neurons world be like pushing the break and the accelerator of a car at the same time - not a very good idea.
It can actually be dangerous if too many excitatory neurons become active simultaneously. Hyperactivity of groups of neurons is associated with epilepsy and other neurological disorders. When people say "you are only using a fraction of your brain" they are giving a pseudoscientific veneer to a piece of age-old folk knowledge: The perfectly reasonable idea that we are not realizing our full potential as people.
But improving our thoughts and behavior is not a matter of amplifying neural activity. Instead, it is about creating new and beneficial behavioral patterns, which correlate with altered neural activity patterns. So if you want to explore what else you are capable of just look around at people who have changed their habits.
What happens when people explore what they are capable of? They push themselves to become better at whatever it is they are interested in: science, art, music, business, and the most difficult skill of all, becoming a more compassionate human being.
Another line of evidence against the 10 percent myth comes from evolution. The adult brain only constitutes 2 percent of body mass, yet it consumes over 20 percent of the body’s energy. In comparison, the adult brains of many vertebrate species–including some fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals–consume 2 to 8 percent of their body’s energy. The brain has been shaped by millions of years of natural selection, which passes down favorable traits to increase likelihood of survival. It is unlikely that the body would dedicate so much of its energy to keep an entire brain functioning if it only uses 10 percent of the brain.
Your Brain Is An Energy Hog
Your brain is incredibly hungry and requires a huge amount of energy just to keep running. The human adult brain makes up about only 2% of the body’s mass yet uses 20% of energy intake. In children, the brain eats up 50% of daily glucose intake, and infant’s brains take a whopping 60%.
Brain sizes scale in proportion to body size with larger animals having larger brains, but on a per weight basis, humans pack in more neurons than any other species. This density is what makes us so smart. It takes an awful lot of fuel to power that complex brain, and there’s a trade-off between body size and a sustainable number of neurons. According to the Ted-Ed Animation , “A 25-kilogram ape has to eat 8 hours a day to uphold a brain with 53 billion neurons.”
The invention of cooking food gave humans the means to power their growing brains because our guts could more easily absorb energy from cooked food.
Our brains also adapted by learning to become incredibly energy efficient. At any one time, only a small proportion of brain cells are signaling, a process known as “sparse coding”, allowing the brain to use the least amount of energy while transferring the most information. The need to conserve energy resources is the reason that most brain processes happen below conscious awareness and that multitasking just doesn’t work. There’s not enough energy available to the brain to focus on more than one thing at a time.
The energy burden of maintaining an activation spike over the entire brain at once would be unsustainable. So, using the brain at full capacity all the time, like depicted at the end of the movie, would be impossible. A person simply could not supply the necessary fuel.
What Would We Be Capable Of If We Used 100% Of Our Brains?
Everything we know is a lie, people. I hate to break it to ya, but most of us have been believing (and I dare say perpetuating) a false claim for decades now. As someone who prides themselves on possessing a somewhat useless library of factual tidbits to call upon in social situations, this discovery was a massive kick in the balls. Like, this has left me more woke than I’d be if someone told me Anne Hathaway‘s boots weren’t, in fact, goddamn Chanel.
What, pray tell, could leave us all so shook? Oh, y’know, just the mind-blowing revelation that the whole “we only use 10% of our brains” claim is entirely incorrect.
Yep, add that to your dinner party conversation topics list and smoke it.
Given that it’s now clear we use more than a measly 10%, you’re probably wondering exactly how much we do legit use. Scientific America‘s article ‘Do People Only Use 10% Of Their Brains‘ sheds a lil’ light on the topic:
Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain, says John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Even in sleep, areas such as the frontal cortex, which controls things like higher level thinking and self-awareness, or the somatosensory areas, which help people sense their surroundings, are active, Henley explains. ….[I]t turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time.
Be it during meditation, sleepy time, or mindlessly watching horrifically trashy reality TV, our brain’s always active – and most of the time it’s using every bit of juice it’s got.
So why is the revelation that we use most of our brain 24/7 such a hard pill to swallow? Well, for a lot of you (myself included), we’ve kinda been living our lives thinking, “Hey, I’m actually an offensively intelligent superhuman – the only reason I ain’t slaying left, right and centre at literally anything I put my mind to is because 90% of my noggin is dormant.” This untapped potential has swiftly just been pulled from underneath us, which really bloody sucks. Marc Ettlinger, a Research Neuroscientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the US elaborates on all the feels you may/may not be experiencing RN:
There is a sense people have that they aren’t reaching their full potential. Whether it is laziness or constantly facing limitations in what we can ‘do’ versus what we can ‘imagine’, we cling to this belief that there is some secret way to unleash the untapped capacity of our mind.
Pretty much everyone I know – from workaholic professors to rich entrepreneurs – feels like they don’t perform to their peak capacity. That should tell you that the notion of underusing our (brain) potential is primarily a matter of perception and not reality.
That being said, not all hope is entirely lost. The Scientific American article mentioned earlier concludes by saying, “Ultimately, it’s not that we use 10 percent of our brains, merely that we only understand about 10 percent of how it functions.” Just because we haven’t unlocked some magical way to completely up the ante of how our brain is hardwired doesn’t mean we won’t stumble across something in the future.
Perhaps someone will make some hectic drug (as is commonly depicted in popular culture), or perhaps we’ll stumble across an even creepier method of unlocking superhuman abilities.
One such example of this is Sony‘s upcoming release Flatliners (starring Ellen Page and Diego Luna) is about five medical students who are hoping to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, subsequently embarking on a daring and dangerous experiment. By stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience. As the investigation becomes more and more perilous, they are forced to confront the sins of their pasts, as well as contend with the fkd consequences of trespassing to the other side.
This psychological thriller looks insanely chilling, and I reckon it’s because its premise isn’t outside the realms of comprehension. Have a look at the trailer and decide for yourself.
If you started reading this article to legit find out how you can become a smarter human only to be slapped across the face with a crappy revelation (causing you to now feel like you want your money back) then fret not – there are ways to narrow the gap between yourself and any superhuman-like being. The Best Brain Possible’s article ‘How To Use 100% Of Your Brain‘ sheds a bit of light on how to make your brain work that bit harder:
It’s true that increased connectivity between neurons is associated with greater ability. Studies have shown that musicians, who play stringed instruments, have larger areas of their brains dedicated to their active hands. Brain scans of London taxi drivers have revealed that the more years a driver has on the job correlates to a larger portion of their brain being recruited to store spatial information.
These findings demonstrate Hebb’s law: neurons that fire together wire together and neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change its physical structure and function based on repeated experience, behavior, and thoughts.
You have a use or lose it brain. Any unused connections go dormant to free up resources needed to strengthen those connections that are most often used. Neuroplasticity is competitive, and functioning areas of the brain not receiving any stimuli will be quickly taken over. In experiments where participants were blindfolded, their visual cortices started reorganizing themselves to process sound in just two days.
That’s right, folks. To become a smarter being, all you need to do is have new experiences. Change up the way you normally do things and you might start seeing a marked difference. The alternative would be waiting for a magical solution (that will probably never exist) to be uncovered as life passes you by, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Image: Twitter / Paris Hilton
Lucy Uses 100 Percent of Her Brain, But Is it Possible?
Lucy makes a superhuman of Scarlett Johansson. But will technology advances ever help us better use our brains?
We upload our lives to the cloud, Google pours it into the Knowledge Graph to feed the algorithm, applies natural language parsing, and the Singularity, that moment when digital devices become more intelligent than humans, draws close.
But is the real story that machines and humans are meeting in the middle? Are we evolving to become plugged into the great digital cortex to become hybrid- humanoids? It's a subject that's fascinated Luc Besson, director of the new movie Lucy , for over a decade, and his film is astonishing.
Besson spent time with world-renowned neurologist Yves Agid, who co-founded the Brain & Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris, to learn how cells communicate with each other and what cerebral capacity could be unleashed if the human brain's 86 billion densely packed neurons fired at once.
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) starts off as just another flaky student hanging out in Taiwan, going to dodgy discos with men who wear cowboy hats and tinted sunglasses. Within minutes, the story turns into a thriller. She's forced to become a drug mule, something goes horribly wrong (of course), and then suddenly we're in the realm of sci-fi with stunning FX.
As her brain capacity increases, Lucy slips through the doors of perception and into the matrix, sees mobile telephony signals rendered in 3D, defies gravity, attains telepathy, telekinesis and control over mind, matter, and time travel. Sadly there's no Trinity transformation in her outfits.
Besson goes mystic as Lucy 's brain expands. She feels trees "grow," senses peoples' thoughts, and accesses their memory banks. We move, briefly, into the Buddhist realm of meditating monks who control their metabolism and experience infinite space.
Then we're thrown into a genre-melding sci-fi/Korean-gangster flick. Korean drug lords are the new Italian mob. Strong, taciturn, swift to violent reaction, clad in expensive made-to-measure suits. Their leader, Min Sik Choi, makes a superb Godfather getting tattooed while listening to Mozart with the volume up high.
Apart from Morgan Freeman's scientific hypotheses about brains and neural circuitry, the movie is surprisingly low on gadgets, (but high on military-grade weaponry). Who knew French narcotics cops still carry flip phones? Or neuroscientists are so strapped for space that they have brainstorms in rooms dominated by server stacks? And best look away at the point when the culmination of the world's knowledge is apparently contained on a sparkly thumbdrive.
Is any of this possible? Right now, performance-enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids contain synthetic forms of testosterone to build strength and increase muscle mass. People with depression are treated with mood-altering chemical combinations that target NMDA receptors in the brain, increasing serotonin levels. Parkinson's disease can be managed with electrodes implanted in the brain to keep it firing smoothly. And a company called Neural Signals in Georgia does invasive brain-machine interfacing to allow "locked-in" paraplegics to control robotic arms.
Meanwhile, neuroscientist Michael Weisend Ph.D., uses trans-cranial direct current (TCDC) to effectively "shock" subjects with healthy brains to target preferred neural networks for specific tasks, thereby significantly enhancing motor skills. Partially funded by DARPA, studies showed increased accuracy in snipers hitting targets.
So if humans are becoming advanced through pharmaceuticals and modern electro-shock techniques, while digital devices achieve levels of sophistication in "understanding" through data-mining and natural language processing, are we not meeting in the middle?
The sticking point with scientists has always been how one defines consciousness. Ray Kurzweil, now Director of Engineering at Google, has always argued that machines and people are not so different.
"Some observers have argued that Watson (the supercomputer that won Jeopardy! in 2011) does not really 'understand' the Jeopardy queries. because it is just engaging in 'statistical analysis,' (but) the mathematical techniques that have evolved in the field of artificial intelligence are mathematically very similar to the methods that biology evolved in the form of the neocortex," Kurzweil said in How To Create A Mind. "If understanding language and other phenomena through statistical analysis does not count as true understanding, then humans have no understanding either."
As we watch Lucy systematically reach superhuman levels of intelligence, she becomes, in effect, a machine. Perhaps humans are just heading towards becoming another node on the network alongside our digital cousins. Or, more optimistically, enhanced Jedi beings with expansive brains and cool new superpowers.
Do We Really Only Use 10% of our Brain?
There is a common misconception that humans only use 10% of their brain and that the other 90% contains untapped potential. This is a myth. Throughout an average day, evidence suggests humans use most of, if not all of their brains, just as they use most, if not all their muscles, over the course of a day. At certain points in the day parts of the brain may be less active, and some tasks may only require some areas of the brain in order to perform them. 
How to Use More Than 10 Percent of Your Brain
When I saw the trailer for Lucy, a new thriller starring a superhuman Scarlett Johansson, my first thought was: Yes! Hollywood finally cast a black actor as a neuroscientist! And my second thought was bummer, because that neuroscientist, played by Morgan Freeman, immediately discredits himself: “It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity,” he says. “Imagine if we could access 100 percent.”
Luckily, we don’t have to imagine. Unless you have a traumatic brain injury or other neurological disorder, you already have access to 100 percent of your brain! Your brain is available all the time, even when you’re sleeping. Even the most basic functions of your brain use more than 10 percent—your hindbrain and cerebellum, which control automatic bodily functions like breathing and balance, make up 12 percent of your brain, and you definitely need those just to stay alive.
Basic biology also tells us that it’s unlikely we’re leaving 90 percent of the brain unused. Unused cells tend to atrophy for instance, muscle atrophy occurs in people who have a broken arm in a sling for several weeks. Parts of the brain we aren’t using would also atrophy—and this is actually what happens when our brains are deprived of blood flow or oxygen, as happens during a stroke or heart attack. Remember Terri Schiavo? She was in a vegetative state for 15 years after she went into cardiac arrest, which damaged 50 percent of her brain. Even damage to small, specific portions of the brain can drastically affect day-to-day functioning, leaving people unable to talk, read, or understand language. Losing 90 percent of your brain would be catastrophic and almost certainly fatal.
Well, maybe Dr. Freeman meant something else? There is a way to measure what parts of the brain are actively working. Neuroscientists often measure brain activity by identifying the places in which brain cells, called neurons, are sending chemical and electrical signals to other neurons. Perhaps what Freeman’s neuroscientist character meant was that only 10 percent of our neurons are firing at any given time. But this interpretation doesn’t fare much better: By any measure of brain activity, more than 10 percent is being used, and in any case, you don’t want 100 percent of your neurons firing at once, because that would constitute a killer seizure.
Another major premise of Lucy is that if we were able to use more than 10 percent of the brain, we could unlock “secrets of the universe.” Judging from the trailer, this apparently includes stopping time, making people around you fall down, and spontaneously changing your own hair and eye color. This probably doesn’t bear explaining, but just in case you were wondering: Sadly, your individual brain cannot control space-time, others’ actions, or the expression of your genes. We’ll have to wait for some other type of fictional drug to turn us into crime-fighting mutants.
Do we use 100% of our cerebral capacity? - Biology
I n their blog and press releases, these authors boldly assert (such as in the Publisher's Weekly Review): " Welcome To Your Brain . Neuroscientists Aamodt, editor-in-chief of Nature Neuroscience, and Wang, of Princeton University. tackle such potentially controversial topics as whether men and women have different brains. and whether intelligence is shaped more by genes or environment. Distinguishing their book are sidebars that explode myths—no, we do not use only 10% of our brain's potential but nearly all of it. "
This myth busting claim to fame is again touted in a recent radio appearance:
"Neuroscientist Dr. Sam Wang discussed the human brain and how it's wired to experience various phenomena. Made of 3 lbs. of tissue with 100 billion neurons, the brain acts as an information processing device and filter. The truth is, we use all parts of our brain, not just 10% of it (a myth propagated by Dale Carnegie), he noted. "
In fact, you can have a 12 watt appliance that draws current, broken or not, and that does absolute ZERO amount of work, and merely overheats and sits there useless.
I am sure many of us have several of these examples in our homes right now, or perhaps on top of someone's shoulder's that we know.
If so, one would never observe brain activity variation seen clearly in PET and functional MRI-- you can't have fluctuation in activity and state "100% use (or nearly) all the time"-- at the same time.
Do you use 100% of your car? Always drive at 120MPH with a fully packed trunk and full tank of gas and six passengers? 100% of your muscles? Always running at full speed carrying 100 pounds of weight around your neck?
"It is a myth that we only use 10% of our human brain."
It is common to hear this statement, alarmingly even from a few people who label themselves as "scientific" or as researchers.
In actuality, such a comment as above, is more misleading itself than the so-called myth of unused brain potential.
You no more use 90% of your brain potential than you use 90% of your muscle potential all of the time.
You no more use all of your brain all of the time than you use 100% of your lung capacity sitting at your computer keyboard.
To say that we use all of our brain, would be like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Firigno even when at the height of their training, or as they were growing, they were using every single muscle and fiber in their body to full capacity-- 24 hours a day, every second of every day.
You no more use all of your brain all of the time than you use all of your car all of the time that you always drive at the full potential of your Honda or Ford that you always drive at the top speed of your car that your trunk and seats are always filled to capacity that you have even figured out and daily employ every single way in which you could use your car, including hauling sacks of carrots and turnips on your roof at the same time you get ice cream and gas at 7-11, and pick up a couple of hitchhikers on the way.
To say that we use all of our brain ignores the fact that you keep losing your car keys all the time, even though its perfectly possible to train yourself- within your potential unfulfilled- to methodically hang them in the same place every time you walk in the front door.
Sir John Eccles has stated his feelings on the infinite potential of the human brain, and he won the Noble prize.
Such a statement that "We use all of our brain all of the time" or "It is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain" are both misleading and unhelpful uninspiring skeptical crumbs with barely a grain of truth- As well as not even being accurate statements regarding usage of the human brain.
Humans have an unlimited capacity to learn. Unlike computers, no human brain has ever said: "Hard drive full."
A simple look at brain scans will show us that the brain modulates dramatically from one moment to the next in regards to its activity and usage. Here it is then, on the screen of Functional MRI machines and Pet scans, incontrovertible evidence that we do not use all of our brain all of the time.
To say "We use all of our brain all of the time" says nothing about the potential of human intelligence, creativity, and problem solving. Such a skeptical rebuttal of the vast potential of the human think machine implies that we have reached our limits of brain potential- probably the most harmful dead end notion of all. We haven't even gotten close.
Our frontal lobes have been culturally and socially lobotomized. At this stage of evolution, we are simply still Apes With Pencils.
That's actually very good news.
Why do some such "experts" delight it saying "It is a MYTH that we only use 10% of our brain." ?
It's the old, "I know more than YOU Game. It's an ego thing. It's a reptile brain on-upmanship thing. It's the old "I am smarter than you, because plain old folk without a DIPLOMA IN BRAIN SCIENCE have this saying--- and plain old folk can't be right. Let me tell you how it really is. "
"It is a myth that you only use 10% of your brain" is no more helpful and informative than saying, "The moon is not made of green cheese". It tells us very little, indeed.
We no more use all or nearly all of our brain as do millions of couch potatoes use all of their muscles sitting in front of the boob tube six hours a day.
So, as it turns out, to say that "We only use 10% of our brain, only 10% of our brain potential"- this is actually an infinitely optimistic, as well as a considerably reasonable and thoughtful perspective of the possibilities that reside inside our craniums.
It is a helpful generalization and observation by and for the lay person, and although not literally precise, it reflects upon the reality that owners of a human think box have an enormous mental potential from which to draw, from which we as individuals and as a human culture, often as not, ignore.
"Dormancy of the Human Brain"
Dormant Brain Research and Development Laboratory
T.D.A. Lingo, Director
The human brain is only 10% functional, at best.
The first to outline this theory, later proved a fact by others, was Australian Neurology Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles. (Lecture: University of Colorado, University Memorial Center Boulder, July 31, 1974.) "The brain indicates its powers are endless."
In England, John Lorber did autopsies on hydrocephalics. This illness causes all but the 1/6th inch layer of brain tissue to be dissolved by acidic spinal fluid. He tested the IQ's of patients before and during the disease. His findings showed that IQ remained constant up to death. Although over 90% of brain tissue was destroyed by the disease, it had no impact on what we consider to be normal intelligence.
Russian neurosurgeon Alexandre Luria proved that the 1/3 bulk of frontal lobes are mostly dormant. He did this by performing ablation experiments on persons. He gave physiological and psychological tests before, cut out parts and whole frontal lobes, the re-tested after. His conclusion: removal of part or all of frontal lobes causes no major change in brain function, (some change in mood alteration). The frontal lobes are mostly dormant, asleep. (Luria, A.R. "Frontal Lobes and the Regulation of Behavior." In: K.H. Pribram and A.R. Luria, Editors, Psychophysiology of the Frontal Lobes. New York, and London, Academic Press, 1973)
Finally, the human brain contains 10 billion neurons, mostly in the outer layer of brain cortex. the function of these currently dominant cells is fairly clear. but the brain also contains 120 billion glial cells. Aside from some secondary nurturing of neurons, the primary function of the glia is not clear. What big bang miracle awaits mankind within these mysteries?
Today, most would agree without argument that the potential of the human brain is infinite. Thus, to state that a person uses 10%, 5%, or even 1% of their potential brain capacity (infinity) is overly generous.
The point is this: There is no dispute among honestly rational experts about the latent potential of the human think box. There is only friendly dispute about how much and what still awaits us, patiently to be self-discovered between each set of ears. Hence, the wisdom of intuitive folksay was correct: "The human brain is only 10% functional." John Eccles thinks that number is too high. "How can you calculate a percentage of infinity?"
Here's another useful analogy-
The amount of current one's brain draws is in no way indicative of the quality nor quantity of work it is doing. It only demonstrates that SOMETHING is happening.
You have a computer. You plug it in and it draws current that runs the processor. You run various programs, and you note the CPU usage-- 5%, 10%, 20%. Try it-- on a PC it's easy, hold down control, alt, and delete and it brings up the Task Manager and tells you the CPU Usage.
You can run any number of programs well, and use a fraction of the available CPU power.
Now, install your favorite (haha) VIRUS program that hijacks your system.
It may very well lock up your CPU at 50%,75% or more-- and NONE of your programs work. In fact, you can't do anything on your computer, and you may not even be able to boot it up.
Yet, it's drawing even MORE power and wattage from your power supply.
Power draw is irrelevant to the idea that "we are using 100% of our brain". It's meaningless.
Similarly, you may have two electric cars--
Both draw 5000 watts, both have the same motor, both have fully charged batteries, and are switched on at the same time.
One motor is mounted on a car with four properly inflated tires, and it goes 200 miles on a single charge.
The other motor is mounted on a car with four flat tires-- and the motor isn't even connected to the transmission. In fact, the hood of the car has been left open, and the bearings have been exposed to the weather, and the armature is rusted. The motor squeals, and drains the battery exactly the same as in the properly maintained vehicle above. This car uses the same amount of electricity, yet goes ZERO miles on a single full charge.
Two Gardens, Two Gardeners.
Each is given 50 packets of flower and vegetable seeds.
Each is given a 1/3 acre plot of ground, and a shovel, and access to
Gardener A opens his seed packets and scatters all the seeds evenly
over the entire plot without deep tilling the soil, without burying
the seeds to the
optimum depth for each.
Gardener B isolates the seeds, combines planting of symbiotic species
(marigolds next to tomatoes for example), plants each seed at the
Gardener A walks away and leaves watering to mother nature.
Gardener B monitors the weather, and irrigates the garden for optimum
watering for each planted area as needed.
Gardener A never pulls the competitive weeds.
Gardener B carefully weeds the garden so the desired plants have
access to the soil, light, and nutrients.
Garden A yields few flowers and vegetables, and many weeds.
Garden B yields twenty times the number of desired flowers, vegetables.
Both garden plots are fully used.
Both garden plots are covered with seeds, and have plants growing--
yet: equally, Gardener A in practical use, used a fraction of his
garden, since area was taken over my weed plants, and failed to make
use of available light and nutrients.
It's not just a question of an observation of superficial volume at use.
What is more important, and probably more relevant, is why someone would try so hard to disprove a sensible notion such as "we don't approach our full brain potential, we only use 10% of our brain"--- a clearly useful METAPHOR, as well as a reasonable reflection of our cultural lack of imagination, rational intellect, and, need to conform to conventional wisdom and dependence on old ideas.
I.e.-- we really don't use our brains as they could be used, but rather vegetate and blindly watch TV and follow charismatic authority figures and swallow ideas whole without really chewing them up, digesting them, or alternatively spitting out those that are indigestible in the first place.
What is at the root of the issue of "how much brain do we use" is not wattage, or that "we use all parts of our brain"-- but rather, how are the neurons connected? Why can one person with the same brain volume as another solve a puzzle, while another remains clueless?
Mr. Wang himself tells us that people now do better on IQ tests at the end of the 20th Century than they did at the end of the 19th Century.
The problem with this observation, is that it directly contradicts his statement that we use 100% of our brain--
I don't think there is any evidence that Joe Smith born in 1980 was born with a bigger brain than Frank Brown born in 1880.
And if they were both using 100% of their brain, how does one explain better brain function in the year 2000?
And to all the "experts" who feel they know more than you or I because they have a framed piece of paper hanging on their office wall----
I learned my lesson about not bowing down and falling over and relinquishing my judgment in the presence of "EXPERTS" last year after falling down my basement stairs and rupturing a couple of discs in my spine.
I duly went to my local resident spinal surgeon, complete with 2000 square feet of office space, two million dollars of x-ray equipment, 5 receptionists, and 10 diplomas proudly displayed on his wall. He declared me permanently injured, and requiring of nothing less than removal of portions of my vertebrae to remove a disc, replace it with a titanium spacer, and then fusion of several vertebrae with titanium rods.
He then said I would certainly further need future spinal surgery in a few years.
I then actually used MORE brain power than this expert, and walked out of his office never to return, if more brain power means not spending $50,000 on a very risky and needless surgery.
A year later, without any surgery whatsoever, I am completely healed and have totally normal spinal function and movement.