The field of neuroscience has advanced our understanding of the human brain by leaps and bounds in recent decades. We now know the regions of the right and left hemispheres that are responsible for speech, movement, emotional response and other essential functions. Still, much of the brain's complexity remains illusive and indefinable. At the center of this uncertainty is one of the most fundamental existential questions in the history of our species: what is the source of our consciousness? "The Ultimate Truth" examines the scientific clues that could enable us to isolate the core of our identity.
The phenomenon of consciousness is not something we can locate on a CAT scan. Instead, it is thought to be the product of evolution, our collective experiences, and constant interactions between the billions of neurons that electrify our brains.
In a process known as neuroplasticity, our consciousness continues to evolve as we learn and develop throughout our lifetime. Conversely, we can elect to stifle this growth as well. Some may turn away from a task they find too challenging, disengage from certain activities due to social stigmas, or suppress attempts at independent thought.
Cultural shifts also condition our brains to function on a different level than previous generations. The film sheds light on these influences, including the move from enlightenment to individualism, the spread of social media, the vanity of the selfie, the role of religious dogma in shaping our view of the world, and the apathy that results from a society that values self-gratification above all else.
The filmmakers present the lessons of the past from which we have not yet fully learned. As the narrative shifts from tales of genocide, war, and segregation, it continuously circles back to how these elements inform or constrict our cerebral development. It's an intricate weaving of influences, stimuli and experiences, much like the film's own viewpoints on the evolution of consciousness.
The film features insightful narration rich in scientific detail, innovative animations, and ongoing text displays that highlight the key points of its dense material.
"The Ultimate Truth" dissects the notion of the self with surgical precision.