I was recently asked which superpower I would choose if I would be given the choice.
The question did not leave me for a while and I mulled it over in my head a couple of times, usually not coming to a conclusion. So me being me, looked at the the logical questions. Which superpowers are there and would I like to have them?? If you look at this list, you will see, the possibilities for superpowers are endless.
They mainly fall into five categories: Concept (e.g. boundary manipulation, subjective reality), Function (e.g. creation, destruction, manipulation), Mechanism (e.g. physics manipulation, virtual warping), Source (usually supernatural, e.g. magic, supernatural dominion) and Unfathomable (e.g. logic manipulation, metapotence).
Depending on those categories you then have different types of superpower abilities, such as personal physical powers (emission, adaptation, enhanced physical skills), mentaility based powers (extra-sensory perception), physical or mental domination, reality manipulation, energy manipulation, transportation or travel, illusion etc.
I have looked at a few for consideration.
First thing that crossed my mind was flying. But I’m not really into flying and I have been on planes a lot the past year. Cool views on the sun above clouds and alike still get my attention and awe. But they are not a good reason to waste the choice. Plus, what good would flying alone do me? Would it get me to places faster? Why would I want wings?
Then, of course, there is enhanced strength. But what good does this superpower do? You can be strong without looking the part. So attractiveness is not necessarily part of the deal, never mind the six-pack. Plus, have you seen images of female bodybuilders? No, not for me. So lifting would be cool with unlimited strength and climbing could definitely be more fun. But strength always has the potential to do more harm than good. You could really hurt others because you don’t know how strong you are.
Also called “premonition” in superpower-slang.
Yeah, that’s usually the stuff horror movies are made of. And I don’t like horror movies by default. Not even by daylight. With the blinds open. And someone to hold my hand. What’s the point in knowing what is coming for you and the rest of the world, if you do not like what you see? Or thinking that you know what will happen, but by knowing that it will happen you are already altering the future and it will just not happen? Or what if you can see it but are not able to change it? Or that you don’t know whether what you see will come true, because who knows, you could also see just a different reality, a different possibility of the course of actions. Whichever way you turn this, the thought of having this superpower is rather dreadful.
Make every wish come true.
There was this cool movie recently. With Simon Pegg in “Absolutely Anything“. Simon Pegg’s character is suddenly given the superpower to make every wish come true. It turns out this is not such a good thing, for him or the people around him. Have you ever considered that what you think makes you happy would not make others happy? Or that if you have a wish you really need to nail it. If it is unspecific, you might not get what you want. So you see, this is not an easy one. As with every happy end, this happy end makes everyone happy because all is back to normal. No more wishes. Bottom line: it’s really hard to do good with this ability because so many things can go wrong.
So here is finally something I could see valuable and enjoyable: time travelling. I have always really enjoyed the movies which feature time travelling as the main superpower for one or the other character. Admittedly, I did like the romantic ones a tad too much….*daydreaming* Anyways, why time travelling? Well there is a number of reasons: 1. I would really really really like to see a dinosaur. Maybe not a T-Rex or anything lethal or generally dangerous. Maybe even from a safe distance. Being able to see what it was really like, that would definitely be a bonus. 2. See how things have turned out. Totally loved “Back to the future” and yes, I am being aware of the fact that you could alter the future or the past by your own time-travelling actions. But who would know, right? ;)) Just kidding. I wouldn’t want to see a bad alternate past or future. For anyone.
Did you read “The long earth” books by Terry Pretchett and Stephen Baxter? No, then sit down and give them a try. They are fantastic! It’s a mixture of Terry Pretchett’s creative narrative and Stephen Baxter’s tendency for explaining physics and chemistry and reality in general. We have all four books at home and I think I will read them a second time this year. Ah yes, what are they about? The idea is that you can travel between the dimensions to all alternate earths. Our earth is the home earth and then there is East Earth and West Earth, depending on the direction in which you are stepping. Each earth is another alternate version in which the earth has developed. There are earth’s with intelligent life, with no life at all, with earths ruled by giant crabs or speaking dogs walking on their hind legs. Just, there are no earths left and right with human intelligence. So people start populating these earths, they are migrating and starting a new life on an empty planet. And the home earth is of course affected by this loss of workforce and economic power. I could go on forever about how great I thought the books were. But the concept of stepping to another dimension or an alternative earth and live the life you want, that, as a superpower, was really intriguing for me.
All the superheroes.
Have you have considered: all the superheroes with their superpowers, they are really lonely people. They end up alone because they are a danger to others or the others cannot bear to be around them. Maybe their superpowers make them really depressed or they have realized that trying to make others happy is not really easy and does a lot of harm. And being alone is not something I cherish much (sometimes yes, but not in general or all the time!). Also I would hate the idea of not being able to see my loved ones again because of some superpower of mine. In the end I think it’s happiness that counts the most and that needs to come from the inside of yourself and sometimes this can be hard work. It can be something that is not easy to get, but you shouldn’t give it up easily.
I don’t think I found them on the list, but here are two things that would really help me in some way:
- Unlimited memory with bookmarking features and filters in my brain. Every day we consume so much information and if your livelihood is build on digital then you need to read and consume even more information (at least that’s my filterbubble perception. I am certain there are people out there having to memorize and read even more). Some days I find this overwhelming and then I am not even able to enjoy a good book. I don’t necessarily need a photographic memory, I just want to be able to recall details when I need them.
- Being at multiple locations at the same time to live a full life. Okay, that sounds like one of these romantic novels when it should not. What I mean is, I would like to do all of these great things like travelling, working, doing sports, having family time, going to concerts, writing blog posts etc at once. You always have to make a choice and weighing one thing against another. What if you would not have to? What if you could do all of these things at the same time, being fully present at all of them and being one person at the same time? Forget about the futures that are alternating because you do things in one moment which could influence the next moment differently than if you had chosen….you know what I am getting at? What if being at multiple locations at the same time could be simple with no bad side effects and you being able to enjoy them to the fullest?
As I said at the beginning. If you were given a choice, this could be a tough one given all the options and variables. But if dimension travelling like in the “Long Earth” would be possible, I guess I would go for this one. See what else is out there *daydreaming*