From a young age, I enjoyed reading science fiction and fantasy books. I loved the people (or creatures) in exotic locations, doing fantastic things. While having advanced technology was interesting, it was the special characters, sometimes with special talents, that drew me. I was intrigued imagining being able to read minds, or fly, or talk with animals, or heal with your mind or touch, or other similarly super powers. These powers, personal and technological, enabled them to explore fantastic places and survive challenges that might defeat others. Yet they were still ordinary beings with personal fears and flaws.
Yet even if a character had special abilities, that didn’t mean they could do anything, anytime. As with our more common abilities there are limits. Indeed the best stories have people succeeding with a combination of unusual abilities and what we see as more ordinary skills. I can speak, but talk to me in Finnish and I will be lost. I can ride a bike, but without a lot of practice forget about any multi-mile trips. Abilities ordinary and extraordinary have rules or principles by which they can be expressed.
For many years I saw my interest in fantasy stories as escape or relief from ordinary life and it’s challenges. I enjoyed those in exotic settings and with exotic powers, overcome seemingly overwhelming odds or events. I felt vicarious empowerment and aliveness which only indirectly touched upon my own struggles. Yet what if exotic powers are only exotic because we are unused to using or seeing them? What if we all actually do have special powers?
Actually, of course, we do. Some of them are so familiar we take them for granted. Via technology, we have many, from automated travel including flying through the air, to speaking with and seeing folks on the other side of the world, and through conquering diseases that were fatal not that long ago. Yet our technology, as amazing as it is, is actually the product of people pursuing their dreams (super visions) and developing what on one level are ordinary powers—of creativity, imagination, observation—and making them super by applying them in new, interesting and useful ways.
Often people express this through work. The architect who builds a strong, functional and beautiful building, the surgeon who saves lives by cutting into living beings and healing them, the bus driver who greets everyone who comes aboard, drives through difficult streets to get people to their destinations safely, the teacher who takes unruly children and inspires them to learn to be more than they were aware they could be.
It is not only through work. The accountant by day, poet by night, or the person who greets everyone coming into Church on Sundays making them feel welcome and special, is him/ herself special. So is the volunteer who comes into a hospice, hospital or senior residence and helps the patients/residents feel alive and valued. There are so many different ways each of us can make a real difference in peoples’ lives every day. Remember super powers by their nature do not so much defy the laws of nature but extend them in different ways.
Ultimately our choices differentiate whether what we do is truly super, something that improves lives and aliveness, or just another, limited, self-serving action. Yes, we need to provide for ourselves. Yet it is when our actions come from seeking the highest good for all that our abilities, our powers become truly super.