If psychic powers were a thing, would you want them?

This is just a silly thought that popped into my mind today.

This morning I was laying in bed thinking about my paintings. I currently have seventeen paintings for sale at a local consignment shop and many more stored at home. I got a little flutter in my belly wondering if any of them have sold. I’m a very nervous and impatient person and I can’t stand not knowing. I have to pick up any unsold paintings on June sixth.

I wish I had the ability to know how my paintings will do, but if I did, would that have prevented me from showing the shop owner my paintings in the first place?

Would I want psychic powers? Maybe. 

Writing submissions feel the same as selling my artwork. I hate waiting. I just want to know. If I knew, I could focus my efforts on submissions where I know I’ll be successful.

I think there would be a downside to psychic powers. Late last year my family was at my husband’s grandpa’s house. His grandpa was in his nineties and usually very quiet, but at this visit, he was very talkative. He told us all about his experience in the Korean War. He was passionate and I felt closer to him for sharing.

After we left, I told my husband I was worried about his grandpa. Both of my grandpas were in World War II and it felt like they relived the war right before they died. They were willing to share things they weren’t before – just like my husband’s grandpa. 

I really didn’t know what was going to happen, but his grandpa died shortly after. I don’t know if anyone was freaked out by what I said, but I definitely felt shitty for saying it.

In that example, I would definitely not want psychic powers. What I said about my husband’s grandpa was not from a psychic ability – it was simply from past experience. Either way, it definitely felt like a punch in the gut.

Would you want to know how and when you’ll die? For me, no way. I’ll just say surprise me on that one.

So what do you think? Would you want psychic powers? How would you use them? Would you find a way to help others or would you keep your abilities to yourself?


  1. says

    Depends on the powers. I wouldn’t want to be able to read minds, but the ability to tell if someone is lying would be useful as long as it’s not overwhelming or it can shut off because there are so many little lies told every day that don’t matter.

    • ionopachys says

      Tabby has the two best responses: “Depends on the powers….it can [be] shut off….” I wouldn’t really like to be forced to see long term catastrophes. I can’t remember the name of the story, but a little boy had uncontrollable precognition, and he saw that the world was going to violently end soon. He wasn’t able to enjoy much in his remaining life. I wouldn’t mind a sort of “spidey sense” to avoid car wrecks or falls, as long as I get enough warning to react appropriately. Telekinesis would be nice.

      I am sorry to hear about you grandfather-in-law. You shouldn’t feel guilty about telling your husband that you were worried and why. People need to be prepared for the deaths of elderly loved ones. Not so they obsess on it or worry constantly, but so they can appreciate the time they have and not completely fall apart when it happens. It will still hurt terribly, but knowing that hurt is coming is better than being blind-sided by it.

  2. John Morales says

    Sure, I’d be more than happy to have psychic powers. Power is good.

    Well, maybe not causality-bending powers, because they become paradoxical.
    Recursive, sorta. All forms of precognition fall into this class.

  3. mathman85 says

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be telekinetic. Which would be super useful, but I’m not sure that I’d still want such powers now.

    I definitely wouldn’t want to be able to read other peoples’ minds, though. [shudders]

  4. says

    Depends. What all are we including in “psychic powers”, is it just mind-reading, or are we including things like telekinesis, pyrokinesis, clairvoyance, etc.? Also, how much control do I have, can I “turn it off and on” at will?
    I’d like telekinesis. Between being disabled and being just a bit lazy, I like the idea of being able to pick things up (or get things off the high shelf) on my own.

  5. John Morales says

    “I wouldn’t want to be able to read minds”
    “I definitely wouldn’t want to be able to read other peoples’ minds”
    I find that interesting, since I wouldn’t mind that ability.
    Surely it would be super-useful in certain circumstances.
    A nice option to have.
    I wonder whether the sentiment is due to thinking it could not be a discretionary power, or due to thinking it would be too tempting and lead to unethical outcomes, or what.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    One of the best arguments against the existence of psychic powers is that they would be such a massive advantage that the population who didn’t have them would soon be bred out of existence.

    What are your basic psychic powers? Move stuff, read minds, talk to the dead, what else?

    Consider: telekinesis would be nice, goes the standard movie/book/comic/whatever tropes – I can make a ball hover in my hand/lift a rock/chuck rocks at my enemies/any number of other things that make good television. In reality, I’d need the power to move about one gramme of matter at an acceleration of no more than 0.1m/s, and I’d be more or less invincible. Put me in the ring with Connor McGregor, hell, put me in the ring with Hafthor Bjornson, and either or both of them would suffer sudden brain aneurysms – as would anyone else who annoyed me. Telekinesis, even very very weak telekinesis, is not a power any human could be trusted with. Even if you didn’t go around killing people, consider the alternate – with a thought, you could bring a person you’re not even touching to orgasm, more or less instantly. You’d have to be a saint not to abuse that at least a little bit.

    Reading minds… as long as it was like seeing, rather than hearing, i.e. easy to “look” elsewhere, pretty neat… except if everyone has it, society is barely recognisable. See “The Demolished Man”.

    Talking to the dead… glad it can’t be done, because the implications are ludicrous. Wouldn’t want it.

  7. suttkus says

    Every sense has drawbacks. This is doubly true for any sense you have that other people do not. I mean, can you imagine how noisy a society that had no sense of hearing would be? How loud their machines would be if they had no motivation to reduce their noise! Would you want hearing in a world where nobody else could hear?
    Yes. yes I would.It sounds pretty amazing, being able to explore, discover, push limits no one else could. Sign me up!

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