If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Fourteen: What superpower would you like to have?
One of the great aspects of modern superhero mythology, in common with the greats in literature is the conflict within the champion of embracing that aspect, that quality that defines them without allowing that power to define who they are and who they want to be. Historically, long form comic book narratives would allow these superheroes to be developed over a period of time defining this conflict and struggle in a believably humanistic way. With a society and culture now more tolerant and accepting of fantasy mythology, brought about by the success of the MCU in its formulations, it has allowed more deeper and complex studies of these moral quandaries to be brought to life outside of the comic book page.
In defining what superpower I would like to have, as someone who has watched and enjoyed a great deal of comic book series and movies, without meaning to debate from a position of moral authority it does seem incumbent to answer this in a balanced and even handed way. Which is to say, there are a great many powers I would like to have but if I had to select one, this would be a difficult choice to make in considering the varying contrarian points and arguments you could make for each power. So, to begin I suppose I will look at the one power that immediately sprung to mind when I read this question and that was the ability to fly.
Modern air travel has tempered the sensation and exhilaration of flying to some degree depending on your habits. On occasion you are treated to a stunning external view as the sun reflects off a clear water surface but for the most part, whatever sensation of speed and height is tempered by cramped conditions, indifferent air crew and overpriced snacks. The notion of flight has always been a desirable outcome, it’s why people jump out of planes, build flying machines and jump off cliffs. To be able to actually, to look down and gain that perspective as you realise your issues are microscopic in the grand scheme of things would be a humbling experience.
As with most powers of this nature I could also imagine it would be a very lonely one, I felt the Bryan Singer Superman movie captured this perfectly when he looks down and listens to all the calls for help across the city and realises he can’t be everywhere at once, or share this experience with. Practically, I also imagine it would be really cold requiring a number of layers to stay warm which wouldn’t seem the most practical and presuming there was a physical exertion it would be perhaps a little dangerous to fly over the large oceans to different continents. And if you could, the prospect of carrying a large backpack of your clothes or holding a suitcase in flight would be challenging. As such, I enjoy the notion of flight but the practicalities in day to day life are few and far between so perhaps we can set that aside for now.
I had given thought to time manipulation, inspired in part by Life is Strange and the means to ‘rewind’ time if only for a matter of minutes. I can the positive implications, being able to manipulate conversations or actions which have gone wrong through bad decisions and make the right calls. I felt this game did a great job of showcasing this ability and the wider pitfalls and also addressed a fundamental issue with this ability, or a detrimental side effect. The notion of inevitability, those events you cannot manipulate or change. When I first started thinking of the downfalls of this power my mind when to the Twin Tower attacks, being in a perpetual cycle of witnessing those horrific attacks and not being able to change them fundamentally unless you were in a very specific time and place. Even then it would have been near impossible to use this power to avert such a disaster from happening.
In this divisive political climate I had given thought to the power to grant perception or remove conflict and negativity from discussion. Certainly, superpowers or not, a great many people have lost the ability to have discussions with those of the opposing political divide. Having the means to grant your opponents perception to gain understanding, or even just removing negative and challenging emotions from people could be a blessing. But the immortal words of one James T Kirk always echo in my mind when I think about manipulating peoples emotions, or removing anger and pain for a perceived better result. People need that pain, that hurt to shape and determine who they are. To take that away from someone would be to play God.
Which led me to my final answer, and probably one of the more humbling realisations I’ve made in this challenge. Part of my role in the world outside these digital four worlds, in management is to listen to the concerns and anguish of people that come in on a daily basis. Often they are looking for solutions outside of their, and quite often my remit. Other times they are looking for someone to talk to, for another human being to just take a moment to listen to their concerns, to not judge, to just treat them like a human being and be there for them in that moment even if honestly there is nothing more you can do. The proverbial shoulder to cry on. And it takes its toll at times when you go home and try to dismiss or push that negative energy away and not let it impact upon you or effect your own mental well being.
One of my favourite cinematic moments in recent history was the conversation between the two Charles’s in Days of Future Past and the philosophical nature of that exchange, where the older version tells his younger counterpart, the ability to bare other people’s pain without breaking is their greatest gift seemed a virtuous and noble gift and power to aspire towards. People need their pain to shape who they are and who they become, you can’t grow in strength and stature if you are hidden from the dangers of the world. But to be able to listen to someone and provide that moment of levity and relief and not let it affect you in a detrimental way would be a superpower I would like to have.
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