Almost every kid dreams of being a superhero with superpowers, and some of us never grow out of that. Especially in these days of huge-budget comic book movies, the chances to identify with those characters who have great power and (hopefully) great responsibility are endless.
However, the powers that these characters possess aren’t the only unreal aspects of the media they inhabit; their entire universe is built to support and contain these powers. Even the advertised “realistic” depictions like the classic Watchmen or the ill-fated TV series Heroes ask you to suspend a great deal of belief about their world.
While it’s only natural to dream of having the amazing abilities that make many superheroes and supervillans…well…super, we usually don’t think about the implications that having those powers would carry in a world like ours. Here are 25 Superpowers That Would Actually Be Super Inconvenient.
Most people have dreamt of seeing what the future would be like; likewise, almost everyone dreams of going back in time to stop themselves from making some horrible mistake.
Depending on when in time you travel, you’d better hope the Earth is in a habitable state at that moment. In both the future and the past, it would take a matter of minutes for you to succumb to a virus that either existed before or after your time, and that you have zero evolved immunity to. In that case, as soon as you come back, you might also unleash the next great plague on humanity.
This is still ignoring the “butterfly effect,” in which anything you do in the past might end up changing history and the world as you know it. Contrary to what some movies would have you believe, it’s not so easy (if even possible) to fix that.
Finally, there’s also the theoretical possibility about what happens when the same matter from two different time periods occupies the same space. Though some movies made it look silly, you would have to be extremely careful around your past/future self. Depending on how time works, even you tripping and bumping into yourself could create an infinite loop of self injury that would brutally beat both versions of yourself to death. Oops.
Intangibility (AKA: Phasing)
Walking through walls would be ultra-convenient, potentially very lucrative (vault? What vault?) and in some cases, could save your life.
However, the physics behind phasing leave two possibilities: either the size of your molecules are reduced to a sub-atomic state, or you manage to vibrate your molecular speed fast enough that they can get cozy with other molecules without losing coherency.
The second option would cause you and whatever you were passing through to explode almost immediately as electrons really don’t like being made to occupy the same space.
The first option isn’t much better as the moment you activate this ability, your body will theoretically be able to pass through all solid objects including the ground. Implications of this range from losing a leg to not being able to breathe once below the surface.
Imagine being able to be the fly on the wall, totally undetected as life happens all around you. Being visually undetectable gives you a whole new level of freedom! Or…maybe not.
The immediate problem is outside factors. The most obvious challenge is clothing as it won’t integrate and remains visible. So while you’re invisible, you’re naked. Which is all fine and well, until you get dirty. There’s dust and moisture in the air, and while it won’t make you immediately visible, people will see something.
If you manage to get around that challenge, you’re still naked and invisible in public. This is more dangerous than it sounds as everyone is used to people being physically aware of them on some level. In this case, if you aren’t paying attention, somebody is going ram into you (with their body or their car) with zero warning or chance to brace themselves, potentially hurting you both, especially because you’re naked.
Pheromone Projection (AKA: Super Charisma)
Everyone wants to be liked, adored, and found attractive by people. But what if one day you woke up with the subtle ability that made it easier? Much easier. What could possibly go wrong?
Well first of all, when everyone wants something, they’ll fight over it. If your power is strong enough, it will not only make people irritatingly clingy, but possibly very possessive and violent towards each other (and maybe you.) In short, you’ve permanently become their “precious,” and they will do anything to protect their precious.
Additionally, you’ll also question how genuine your relationships are for the rest of your life. Do they love you because of your merits as a person, or because they’re under the influence of your power?
Mind Reading (AKA: Telepathy, Part 1)
Who hasn’t wondered what somebody was thinking at some point. Sometimes if you just knew what your crush/spouse/boss/friend was thinking, it would make your life so much easier!
Probably not. In fact, it would likely make your life a living hell. You see, the comforting thing about people’s brains is that they are private. This is because perfectly normal people think completely insane and horrible things before rationality kicks in. Now, imagine being the one person in the world who saw all of those pre-rational, deep, dark thoughts. There’s no way to avoid a severe psychological impact.
If you couldn’t control your telepathy, you’d probably be overwhelmed and lose your mind in a matter of hours. But controlling it would only make the inevitable descent into misanthropy and madness more gradual and painful.