One of my all-time favorite top-five films is Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper (20th Century Fox, 2011).
The story begins with a down-and-out writer [Eddie] who discovers the existence of a “genius enhancing” pharmaceutical — capable of transforming him from a dispassionate, near skid-row bum into a mentally brilliant, physically glowing, fearless, confident, and productive genius.
By the end of the film, (and after all the prerequisite Hollywood-mandated, socio-psycho drama is enacted), we find out that instead of becoming dependent on the super-brain enhancing drug, our gifted protagonist had wisely utilized his artificially manifested genius. Eddie had re-engineered the drug to produce a permanent and lasting neurological transformation, after which he weaned himself off completely.
There on the silver screen, larger than life, is an ordinary person using an external substance to achieve supreme intelligence. He then utilizes his newly acquired enlightenment to free himself from dependency on the drug. Now, that’s smart!
Along with genius came enhanced self-awareness — enough to recognize that despite his increased cognitive capacity, as long as he was beholden to the drug, he would never be anything more than a slave. Driven by compelling passion for something even greater than a drug-induced superior intelligence, he freed himself from substance subjugation while continuing to develop “enhanced Eddie.”
But here’s what I find most inspirational: By choosing to press himself beyond dependency on a substance that had initially transformed him beyond his wildest dreams, he subsequently began to experience even greater levels of awareness extending all the way into precognition. He could now see the future before it happened.
Sub-human became enhanced-human via an external agent (illicit pharmaceuticals). Then enhanced-human became super-human via intrinsic will, self-awareness, and genius-level self-correction. Subtly and profoundly, this film portrays an iconic, yet evolved, archetype: A twenty-first century hero who creatively employs his wits to defeat the ultimate demon of the human psyche: self-complacency.
In a previous article, “The Practical Art of Self-Correction,” I discussed the connection between self-awareness and our cognitively-driven, inner capacity to build meaty, myelin super-charged neurological networks through the practice of self-initiated self-correction. In this article, I propose an evolution of those ideas and suggest that these often elusive and under-utilized qualities of self-awareness, self-initiation, and self-correction are defining qualities of our innate divinity.
What is divinity, and what is it to be divine?
Certainly the religions of the world provide archetypes that formulate a generally accepted concept of “the divine.” Perhaps the broadest and most fundamentally agreed-upon answer to these questions is that to be divine is to be as God is.
Subtly and profoundly, this film portrays an iconic, yet evolved, archetype: A twenty-first century hero who creatively employs his wits to defeat the ultimate demon of the human psyche: self-complacency.
How is God depicted in all religions and cultures? God is the creator, and creates all experiential reality.
To be divine then is to create life and experience it. Yet, this simple observation of the nature of divinity stands in stark contrast to its representation in almost every religious and spiritual practice. Most all those archetypes portray “divinity” as some form of supreme (superior) being that holds court with those who are “lesser than,” a being we worship and receive instruction from, while this divine one is seated on a throne or standing upon a pedestal.
By contrast, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines “divine” as “The power, being, or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and destinies.” In fact, the ancient, Sanskrit derived etymology supports the contemporary definition with “shining — especially as the day-lit sky.”
What I find interesting about these scholarly and historical definitions is that they actually reflect the experiences “enhanced Eddie” had, both when he ingested the pharmaceutical and later, when he evolves beyond the pills to maintain that state. Further, “to divine” also means “to prophesize” or to foretell, predict, foresee, or forecast through intuition or insight, which is the very same ability Eddie achieved once he evolved his brain and awareness beyond the drug.
To be divine then is to create life and experience it. Yet, this simple observation of the nature of divinity stands in stark contrast to its representation in almost every religious and spiritual practice.
Regardless of whether or not the presentation is based on fantasy or reality, the film serves as an example that accurately illustrates the connection between innate divinity, awareness, self-correction, and optimal functioning of our brains.
When it comes to the latter, there's only one reason why a cognitive being would self-correct their own thoughts, in order to create a different and better experiential outcome:
Behavioral scientists and mindfulness-based clinicians recognize the veracity of self-correction — not only as a way to develop new skills, but also to override self-defeating patterns of habitual thinking and behavior that prevent us from excelling in any aspect of our lives….
By employing this knowledge into our lives, and teaching ourselves to develop the practical skill of self-correcting our thought processes, whether it be to learn a new skill, master an existing talent, or even perfect our own thinking by eliminating self-defeating thoughts, we then “super-develop” the brain’s neurological processes through the subsequent thickening of the myelin sheath. The self-initiated practice of self-aware driven self-correction — exponentially increases our developing abilities, and sets the stage for even greater life experience and self-mastery.
The very fact that we can perceive, recognize, then make conscious and intentional choices that change our thinking, shows us that we are not bound by intractable fate, and are free to create new destinies. This documented ability qualifies us as divine beings. We are, then, creators — consciously or not — and aptly represent the scholarly definition of being divine: to have a transformative effect on our lives and destinies.
What about the other definition of divinity? To foretell, predict, foresee, or forecast through intuition or insight?
The actualization of a “creative idea” is functionally a futuristic concept when compared to any currently existing circumstance. Thus, creativity operates as an access portal into the future. And, as demonstrated by such notables as Leonardo da Vinci or Jules Verne, accessing the future is one of the fundamental qualities of a highly creative mind.
If, as divine beings, our creativity bridges us with the future, what are the implications for ourselves, our children, and our futures? What if the inevitable future of humanity is to realize we are divine beings, and as such, that we are the creators of our own experiences?
The very fact that we can perceive, recognize, then make conscious and intentional choices that change our thinking, shows us that we are not bound by intractable fate, and are free to create new destinies. This documented ability qualifies us as divine beings.
Perhaps when we willingly give up clinging to outdated and limited concepts about ourselves, and intentionally utilize such tools as self-correction to eliminate neurological connections to past identities, and build myelin-rich super-neurons based on a greater, more evolved understanding of life and our place in it, precognition, and many other “divine qualities” will emerge as fundamental, intrinsic human abilities.
Danielle Graham was a founding editor and eventual editor-in-chief of SuperConsciousness Magazine. Her professional background includes careers in international classical music performance and recording session work in NYC and LA, competitive karate, scientific experimental research and publication, organic farming, brokering, and food industry consulting, and most recently exploring Alaska’s wilderness.
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