“You only use 10% of your brain.” Some seem like they do, anyway.

I’ve been quite into The 4400 for a while, great sci-fi show. One of the ideas in the plot is the “10% myth”, the idea that humans use about 10% of their brain. This is an example of a psycho-fact: one that has no scientific evidence to back it up but that becomes a “widely known fact” through constant repetition. Other examples include the notion that you should never go swimming right after a meal or you shouldn’t eat ice-creams if you’ve got a sore throat (I bet mothers everywhere have always been pretty clear about both). This particular psycho-fact has led people to believe there’s another 90% of our brain in which lie who knows how many dormant abilities -anything from improved reflexes to telekinesis-, a huge potential waiting to be tapped.

As far as I can tell, it’s perfectly harmless to want to believe in the possibility of improving our abilities through whichever means science discovers, it’s only human. What suddenly might become a problem is having others trying to lure people into believing it for all the wrong reasons. Self-proclaimed psychics, gurus and spiritual leaders of all sorts suddenly found the perfect bogus science fact to support their claims to your trust and money. Bogus, as in unproven, false, not authentic.

This might ring a bell: an organisation of some sort that promises to coach you through the process of improving yourself, awakening your dormant or neglected potentials, to the point of coming in touch with superhuman or supernatural [check all that apply:] abilities, being, place, version of yourself. For a fee, that is.

(This just reminded me of a little jingle my History teacher, Seán McShane, told us about in school: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, / The soul at once from purgatory springs”, but that’s a completely different thing, just plain old christian religion – nothing to do with science or facts altogether. That is, unless you want to ask Phillip Johnson, who might want to come up with another of his scientific theory-defying conjectures and opinions and force one into the other.)

Back into that hypothetical organisation of ours, you’ll find your progress is measured – or at least given a title, for your convenience: “1st key”, “2nd key”, “sanctity”, “Operating Thetan” levels, you name it. You’ll definitely be able to keep track of the money spent in these spiritual courses through those titles. And, thanks to the psycho-fact of choice, it’ll all have this aura of veracity and scientific truth that will make it “insulting to our intelligence” to question it. And, voilà, there’s a flourishing new business based on pseudo-scientific facts.

I’ve just realised The 4400 writers had some very useful models to base the Fund on.


~ por nushh en 2006/04/11.

Una respuesta to ““You only use 10% of your brain.” Some seem like they do, anyway.”

  1. […] Yet again, has anyone seen Zoolander? My guess is Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax is playing while they feed those images. I did say I wouldn’t comment much on this, it’d get tiresome. […]


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