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Losing your talent.

koehlerrock

Everyone talks about gaining or discovering a random ESP ability. What happened if someone lost their ability? How would one cope with society after losing a significant part of their life?

Dominions Son

@koehlerrock

How would one cope with society after losing a significant part of their life?


Depends. In a normal society where ESP abilities are rare, the loss of a significant advantage would require a major adjustment, but would likely not be catastrophic unless the talent was being used to live an extravagant lifestyle.

In a society where such abilities are the rule rather than the exception, it would be on par with coping with a major physical disability resulting from illness or injury.

Capt Zapp

@koehlerrock

How would one cope with society after losing a significant part of their life?


I don't see it as being any different than losing any of the other senses. It would probably be difficult for the person at first, but their quality of life would depend on how they deal with it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
ustourist

@koehlerrock

To an extent that has been touched on in 'William Redman Carter' by Lazlo Zalezac, where he loses his ability to see the future.

Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp

I don't see it as being any different than losing any of the other senses. It would probably be difficult for the person at first, but their quality of life would depend on how they deal with it.


The change quality of life would also depend a lot on how much it impacts normal interaction in larger society.

A man, who lives in a city where the majority of the population is deaf, losing his hearing would not suffer much of a decline in quality of life.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

I tend to agree, but from a slightly different perspective.

The impact of losing an ESP ability would depend on how the person utilized their ability. If the person's use of the ability was important to their lifestyle, the loss would have a significant impact. If the ability was unimportant to the lifestyle, it would have some, but minimal impact.

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@koehlerrock

I read a dead tree book several decades ago in which this was a major factor. The protagonist, David, had intermittent mind-reading capabilities and used them on his step-sister Judith, after which she treated him as a freak. When he lost his powers, there was a reconciliation and I believe they ended shacked up together.

I can't remember the title or the author but I remember it being well written.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@REP

I think both factors are important, and they can confound or amplify each other.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

Not sure which factors you are referring to, but will take your word for it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

Not sure which factors you are referring to, but will take your word for it.


Factor 1: How common / important the ability is in society.

Factor 2: how dependent the character's lifestyle was on the ability.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


I read a dead tree book several decades ago in which this was a major factor. The protagonist, David, had intermittent mind-reading capabilities and used them on his step-sister Judith, after which she treated him as a freak. When he lost his powers, there was a reconciliation and I believe they ended shacked up together.


Similarly, many authors explore ESP abilities as double-edged swords, exacting a cost in addition to the benefits (i.e. hearing your lover's skepticism during lovemaking, or being obligated to save others, despite ignoring your own family). In such a case, the protagonist is more likely to feel relief along with the disappointment, which would temper the loss of such an ability. They may remain wistful about the lost ability, but they'd recover faster than someone upset they couldn't perv on their sister's friends.

However, in most ESP and other 'additional ability' stories, the features are the rare exception, rather than the rule. Thus most characters can't even acknowledge the ability lest they be pilloried and attacked for it. Losing the ability would have a double affect in those circumstances, no one else would even care, since they never knew in the first place, but the character couldn't 'talk it out' with anyone either, making for a more difficult adjustment.

P.S. Although this is a device rarely employed in fiction, it's widely used in comics. How many times has Superman or Spiderman lost their abilities, only to gain it back in the next couple issues? In comics, the plot device is so prevalent, it's become downright trite.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

However, in most ESP and other 'additional ability' stories, the features are the rare exception, rather than the rule.


I've read at least one where more than half the population have some level of either telepathic or telekinetic ability. Enough so that everyone is tested and rated by the government and people with no ability are considered disabled.

In that story strong telekinetics above a certain rating develop an ability to teleport themselves and other objects by moving them outside of normal space.

Interstellar communication is handled by telepaths and interstellar travel is managed by ground based telekinetics strong enough to exhibit teleportation ability.

The reason is that they are ground based is their abilities are amplified by massive artificially generated energy fields. This amplification gives telepaths interstellar range and allows the Telekinetics to toss large spacecraft across interstellar distances.

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