100%

BBC is a global brand, thought Ram, so this BBC10X must be a good product. His friend Amir always gave him good stuff. But printing was misaligned on one side of the box, which was itself a poor fit for the contents. He’d heard that private corporations were putting heavy pressure on BBC funding. They said that state-funded broadcasters had an unfair advantage and stifled healthy competition. Was cheaper packaging the BBC’s way of saving money?

Installation was straightforward – you just plugged it into your computer. The instructions recommended using your laptop rather than your smartphone, whose screen was too small. If you used the latter then expect reduced results. For a big brain you needed a big screen. A plasma TV or screen projector was even better.

The software self-loaded and started immediately. A dark graphic of a human brain began sparking red in various locations. These red sections lifted up and were brought together at the front of the brain. Their combined total area was much smaller than expected. A graphic appeared saying “1%”, and then, “Only 1% of your brain is used at any moment!”

Is that all, thought Ram?

The sparking expanded and came together again; its combined area once more smaller than expected. A graphic said, “10%”, and then, “Only 10% of your brain is ever used!”

That’s it, thought Ram?

Then the whole brain sparked like a coal that had become a firework. A graphic appeared saying, “100%”, and then, “With BBC10X you can access 100% of your brainpower!” There was a disclaimer saying, “BBC10X can only multiply your brainpower 10X. 100% target is conditional on user having 10% current usage. For 5% usage, maximum brainpower will be 50%.”

A gallery of “Successful Users,” showed portraits of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Lao Tzu. Then another disclaimer saying, “These geniuses all used advanced brain training methods of their time. BBC10X is the modern equivalent, but has only been available since 2010.”

Ram noticed that the “Successful Users” were scientific or spiritual geniuses; people whose notions had changed the world. Is that how they did it – by using 100% of their brainpower?

Three selection screens required completion. The first was a choice between “Religion” and “Science”. Ram thought about this for a while. Both were paths to knowledge of a sort – science to testable, provable knowledge, and religion to knowledge inherent in faith. Both sources were trustworthy if you believed what they had to offer was worthwhile. Ram was drawn towards mystical experience over rational experimentation. He chose “Religion”.

A quote appeared saying, “Credo ut Intelligam: I believe in order to understand.”

The second screen was a choice between “Introvert” and “Extravert”. This was a tough one, for Ram liked to spend much time alone, but also enjoyed laughing and joking at social gatherings. He was by nature a friendly fellow, but if he didn’t have quiet time alone, he felt his life was one of pointless activity, never alone with deep thoughts. He liked being both but had to choose, so clicked “Introvert”.

A quote appeared saying, “Solitude is essential to man.”

The third screen was a choice between “Reason” and “Passion”. This was probably about being a philosopher versus a poet. He’d never liked philosophy – endless navel-gazing – so he chose “Passion”.

A quote appeared saying “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”

It was time to begin the process. The exercises were simple initially – just matching words and numbers. They got faster and harder, and moved onto colours, shapes, and sounds, which became faster and harder, and began to include smells and tastes. Ram was immersed fully in the process. He didn’t stop to think how he was performing smell and taste tasks through the keyboard with his fingers. There followed purely mental tasks. Objects appeared and disappeared on screen; he was somehow receiving and sending thoughts. All of his senses were united. He was aware of a medical condition called Synaesthesia, where people “smelt” sounds, and “tasted” colours – but that was mixing pairs of senses, not all of them combined. Ram felt that he knew everything, all at once, without need to either ask or wonder. His brain had expanded to its full human potential – which included the instincts of many lower animals: our ancestors; and the intuition of higher beings: our descendents. Once you had reached this plane there was no returning to the realm of ordinary mortals.

However there was one final choice for him to make within his soul, now with full awareness. Having witnessed the unlimited possibility of the universe, did he wish to become its Supreme Enjoyer; an eternal hedonist in a world of light? Or having also acknowledged the ultimate pointlessness of existence, did he wish to declare himself a nihilist in a world of darkness, and become an Extinguished Soul?

There was really no rush though. He had eternity to choose.

Brain Box China, makers of BBC10X, were unhappy with their new product launch. It was their highest performance gadget ever, and they thought that it would sell really well. But not one customer had recommended it to their friends, or become a repeat buyer. Trying to pass themselves off as the real BBC clearly hadn’t worked. They’d better sell off their remaining units and develop something else.

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3 Responses to “100%”

  1. Is that all, thought Ram? The question mark is in the wrong place, as it is in his next thought, and you have me wondering whether a comma would be ok immediately after the question mark when the question mark is in the right place, the question mark being a form of period. The guidelines for the punctuation of dialogue seem rather flexible, and I don’t know just where to look except for reading well edited text.

    • javedbabar Says:

      I’m never sure what works best: Is that all, thought Ram Is that all? thought Ram. Is that all?, thought Ram. “Is that all?” thought Ram. I shall consider this matter further!

  2. That’s what I mean by flexible. The only sure thing is that any question mark should be immediately after the word ‘all’.

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