Recently a bunch of youth from church and I went to see the movie Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert DeNiro. As far as movies go – I personally thought it was mediocre. The character development was weak and the fluidity of the movie was lacking although maybe intentionally. The premise though – well that’s another story. Surely this movie has potential…
The concept behind Limitless is relatively simple (and don’t worry this isn’t a spoiler for those of you who haven’t seen it). A struggling writer (Cooper) is introduced to a top-secret drug (NZT) that allows him to access the entirety of his brain capacity not simply the 20% that the movie claims that we currently use. This part of the movie obviously wasn’t thought through with more than .001% of someone’s brain though because “unlocking one’s potential” implies unlocking 100% of one’s brain. If that would be the case then there would be a limit to what we could unlock and thus a limit to the available possibilities. Even in the film, one of the characters notes that NZT works better if you are ”smart” to begin with – posing the obvious problem that some people will be “limited” compared to others. In light of that point, maybe the director, Neil Burger, will consider renaming the DVD version of the film to: “Limited – but Super Gifted” or “ I’m Awesome – Your Sorta Cool”. Somehow I highly doubt it.
Actually, as I understand things, talking about using a percentage of one’s brain is going about things all-wrong. Mechanically, you use 100% of your brain. Maximizing usage is another subject all together.
This is where the film posits an interesting question about human enhancement though. If you could simply take a pill to unlock your “potential”, maximizing your brain usage would you do it? And if you could and did would you really be better than others around you? Sure, you might be able to outsmart Ken Jennings, judo-chop Chuck Norris (blasphemy!), speak all of the dialects of Klingon, and learn to tie your shoes one handed – but would you fundamentally be better than other people? Better yet, and more useful – what if you could cure cancer or find a way to end world hunger? What if you could cause an end to poverty? Would that make you a fundamentally better person than others?
It seems very tempting to say “Yes” to such a question because the first thing we do when we analyze this query is to compare ourselves to others. Sure, Usain Bolt can beat me in a 200 M dash but does that make him fundamentally “better” than me? Yes, Bono can sing a kickin’ rock song but does that make him fundamentally better than me? Sure, I can arm wrestle a second grade girl (I had to go pretty low there) and win but does that make me fundamentally better than her? Of course not! Why? Because our worth is not fundamentally based in what we can do. Our worth is based in the God who made us. Take away your good looks, your intelligence, your athletic ability, or any of the things that you value about yourself and plain and simple… God still Love’s you. And it is in that Love alone that we ultimately have worth.
We all want to be better – and we certainly want our circumstances to be better – but so far the only thing that I find that actually makes things better… is relying on God.
You have worth. Believe it. God does.