I thought I invented the word metaphysiology just now. Meta- being the state of something being in an advanced or super state, physique/physical representing the anatomy, and finally -ology being the study of. Together that gives you the “scientific study of superhuman qualities or powers.” Alas, the New Age folks have already taken the word and generally polluted its use for my own subversive needs. Regardless, you now understand that it’s *metaphysiology: my word, not theirs.
Now that we’re seeing eye-to-eye, the subject at hand is *metaphysiology. It’s long been a tradition of man to contemplate various superhuman states. Superheroes (ergo Comics) were born of this fantasy with the metaphysical realm of possibility. I too have long sought after the perfect superhuman power. The age-old question is simply, “If you could choose only one superhuman power, which would it be?” Isi and I just had the same conversation and came to the distinct conclusion that further analytic discussion should ensue.
Invisibility has long been one of my favorites, though I’m reconsidering based on some further examination. Invisibility provides the ability to conduct mischief, avoid trouble, and launch an unstoppable offense. The caveat being that you couldn’t wear anything to be totally invisible. You may also be lost forever if you die while invisible. I also question what invisibility actually entails. Is it that light passes and reflects through you, or just that light is wrapped around you? If it’s wrapped around you, then there’s the distinct possibility that you *could* wear clothing. The area of effect could be a condition of your power put into the effect. Also – if it’s a field, then presumably something could enter that field with you. To keep from being seen, you’d need multiple layers of this field to prevent discovery. From an anatomical standpoint, you might have a broader range of vision because there’s nothing to obscure it like eyelids.
I’m not sure if I’m willing to consider Invulnerability as a superhuman power. It would be quite fantastic, but doesn’t have a limitation as any human trait should have (even super). Limited invulnerability would be helpful, but should be something fairly explicit. For instance, invulnerability to fire, direct physical impact, or perhaps just agelessness. Agelessness could possibly be one of the more obvious choices, but careful consideration proves that this may just drive you insane. Agelessness means that you live forever given normal care, but may die from anything that would kill normal humans. That just means you couldn’t go and sleep for 100 years to recollect your sanity.
Perhaps an important element of the *human* in superhuman should be to consider vulnerabilities into the mix. Every superhero must have an Achilles heal, as it were.
Fireballs a la Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros., and others, would most likely just get you in trouble. And in all likelihood would not be enough in itself to rescue you from the perilous danger that would come to anyone throwing fireballs willy-nilly. But of course, throwing fireballs might indicate that you are impervious to fire itself. If you are impervious to fire and can generate it, it’s not without reason that you couldn’t engulf yourself in flames. Not only that, but perhaps you don’t require oxygen to breath either. If you’re surrounded by fire, breathing is going to be quite labored and not suitable for any kind of hero.
These are but a few that we talked about today. The idea of metaphysiology is simply that you think through the exact mechanisms by which the power is available to you. Its limits, strengths, vulnerabilities, and repercussions should be included in any proper study. After some consideration, I think I’ve narrowed down my perfect power (and you Ze Frank fans will know that I am considering a Power Move from this)…
If I could summon for you now a particular image of ‘Lucky.’ It would be a preternatural luck in that perhaps you’d reach a state of seeming invulnerability by the shear fact that luck always rides at your heels. The downside is that you don’t know when you’re luck will fail you, but at times it will. I’d love to make a comic book hero out of this concept – perhaps a retirement project.
My long-time love belongs to the power of Communication. A superhuman power of communication would involve almost a telepathic ability to understand and communicate with anyone or anything (capable of communicating) in a way in which the subject is accustomed. That would mean you could speak any language or dialect assuming you were in approximate contact with someone that spoke that language (phones and Internet would not work). In advanced states, I imagine the power as being mostly a telepathic ability; having the ability to communicate either telepathically or physically.
What powers have you dissected? What powers do you have? If you’re blogging *metaphysiology, please link back here and don’t forget to tag.