The man who used the 100% of his brain


Are you wondering who this extraordinary man was?

Undoubtedly you have got involved at some point in your life into a conversation (or you have read about it in a magazine or site) about the potential a man would have, had they used the 100% of their brain and not just 10% like we, the poor in spirit, do.

Jesus and Einstein are but two common examples to illustrate this point – even though no EEG test has ever been done to them.

Similar superpowers are attributed to Pythagoras, Buddha, some Yogis in India and the old men at Mount Athos – Michael Jordan could be included too.


It’s astonishing how easily people swallow any stupidity they are served, whether this is the Hollow Earth theory and the El’s or that the austerity measures will result in the prosperity of the citizens.

I guess they believe that “critical thought” has to do with ouzo and tzatziki and Santorini fava – maybe because it is pretty much like their brain.

Consequently, they won’t raise any objections or think twice when someone brings up the case of a modern saint who did miracles, just because he used to the full the abilities of his brain.

“Didn’t you know? The rest of us use only 10% of our brain”, they will say knowingly. “I read it in a book that thingy minister sells. He surely knows better”.

We won’t try to get to grips with the rulers’ stupidity, which is definitely inferior to their voters, but with these “special people”.


What you are probably unaware of, is that “this special man” who has access to 100% of their brain capacity, is you – most of you, at least. You just don’t use all of your neurons simultaneously – and thank God for that.

The human brain consumes vast amounts of energy. If, for some reason, your brain functioned at the maximum – something that never happens simply because our brain outsmarts us – the only thing you would achieve would be to die on the spot, after your head would explode or was just set on fire.

The ideal percentage of the neurons to be used simultaneously is no more than 3%. Any more than that, the energy required is such that the brain has difficulty to deal with.

We use a different 3% when we are listening to music, when we are dreaming, when we are having sex and when we are watching football – even though I have reservations about the percentage of the neurons that are activated with regard to the latter.

If this 3% doesn’t look much to you, then you probably have no clue about the contents in your head.


There are 100 billions nerve cells in there. Each of them has up to 10,000 dendrites – visualize them like tree branches transmitting messages. The same goes for neurites, which can be thousands of times longer than a neuron.

The cumulative length of neurites can reach 5,000,000 kilometers. Should we spread them, they could cover an area equal to four football fields.

The synapses between the neuron cells are 1018. Even if we could count one synapse per second, it would take us 32 million years to count them all.

The number of the possible neural circuits reaches dizzying heights, that is at least 101000000, that is 1 followed by one million zeros.

The number of the possible ways of transmitting a single datum in the brain exceeds the aggregate number of particles in the whole universe! (which are, approximately, 1080, namely 1 followed by 80 zeros)

So, do you still think that 3% is small?


There are medical cases where one hemisphere, in other words half the brain, has been removed. These people carried on living a normal life, since new synapses were created to the remaining half.

New nerve cells cannot be created after a certain age but new synapses are created even in an advancing age, as long as we exercise our brain, learn new things and acquire new skills, instead of watching TV.


Let’s finish this text by tearing down one more myth that has to do with the irrevocable damage that alcohol causes to our brain.

This view dates back to the beginning of 19th century, when some anti-alcohol campaigns were launched. But there is no scientific evidence to prove it.

Studies with alcoholics and non-alcoholics showed that there is no significant difference between the two subjects, with regard to the overall number of neurons or their density.

The marginalization of the alcoholics is not due to a permanent damage of the brain, but due to their daily interaction with society.

If someone is a drunkard, they fail to work, socialize or communicate. If this “someone” is not a common mortal but an acknowledged artist, then society accepts them; if this “someone” is a primary school teacher, then probably not.


Winston Churchill, who couldn’t make it through a single day without brandy (and cigars) reached a ripe old age without suffering any loss of his confidence and the wittiness that characterized him.

On the contrary, the famous Iris Murdoch, who hadn’t consumed even a millionth of the Churchillian amount of alcohol, neither did she watch Turkish serials, was lost in the dark labyrinth of Alzheimer’s.


Our brain is extremely complex and we may never be able to understand its mechanisms to the fullest.

One thing is certain: The more we use this 3%, so much the better.

Paraphrasing the famous Bond’s quote about Martini (which, by the way, was not his favourite drink since he drinks scotch in most Fleming’s books): “Use it, don’t waste it”.


(For this text I gathered information from the book “The Book of General Ignorance” by Lloyd and Mitchinson and “A Universe Of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination” by Gerald M. Edelman & Giulio Tononi.)

(“Lucy” is a Luc Besson’s movie where Scarlett Johansson uses 100% of her brain and razes the place to the ground.)


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Translated by Alexandros Mantas