Real Superhuman Powers and the Science Behind Them
We would all love to have superpowers that let us fly to work rather than take the bus, see into the future to pick the winning lottery numbers and read minds so that we can understand what our partners are thinking, but the truth is some things are just beyond human capability. Though we can’t fly like Superman or shoot webs out of our hands like Spider-Man (like we would want to), we do have pretty amazing powers locked inside of us, no doubt. Human beings are pretty special.
To start off with, we actually possess a crazy amount of physical strength. Technically, we have the muscle structure to be able to punch through walls, but it is our brain that stops us from demonstrating our incredible strength at any given moment. Instead, we reserve our full capabilities for when we need them the most.
Take Angela Cavallo, a lady with more strength than she could ever imagine. Her son was performing mechanic work on his vehicle when the jack fell, and he became trapped under it. Angela shouted her neighbor to help but decided to act on her own to save her son. She lifted up the vehicle, weighing approximately 3,500 pounds, high enough and long enough time for her son to wiggle free.
Angela is not an exceptional human; though she acted with exceptional courage. Adrenaline clearly kicked in, giving her a boost of strength, but during this heightened state, bodily functions like the immune and digestive systems also shut down to free up energy. Thus, we can’t use our super-strength all the time because it would damage our tendons and tissues, as well as shut down our functions, but we can draw on this superpower when we need it the most.
It’s not just physical strength that humans can harness. We also have incredible mental strength. Our brains are extremely fast processors with nearly unlimited storage space. The only reason we can’t remember everything is because our memory works by creating links, contextual and emotional. If these links are not strengthened or nothing triggers them, they become “lost” and the memory is forgotten.
Forgetting is how we prioritize, and so it is just as important as remembering, but in some remarkable cases, humans have been able to remember obscene amounts of information, either as the result of obsessiveness or refreshing. Or because their brains are wired up slightly differently. Take Daniel Tammet, who’s a high-functioning, autistic savant syndrome allowed him to recall Pi to 22,414 decimal places without making a mistake. Pretty much anyone can improve their memory using techniques, and most of us with practice.
If all that remembering is giving you a headache, then you’ll be glad to know that humans are also capable of demonstrating pain immunity. We actually have built-in natural painkillers known as “endorphins”, which are released when we exercise (hence, why athletes can break through their pain threshold during performance), when we are excited or are experiencing extreme pleasure, and when we experience an event that would otherwise cause us a level of pain that we couldn’t handle. Endorphins are a superpower that we cannot control; mostly because we need to feel the pain to survive. It also guides us away from harm and damage.
Another mechanism that guides us away from harm is our ability to manipulate time. Yes, we are like Neo from the “Matrix”; all of us. When we sit in our dentist’s waiting room feeling bored, time slows down until it almost stands still. We watch the seconds ticking down, slowly. When we are doing what we love or are highly occupied, time goes in a blink. And most amazingly of all, when we are in a situation of immediate danger, time slows down so that we can react. We flip over from our rational thinking into a more instinctual mode known as “experiential thinking”. We make rash decisions, but we make them fast, and because our mind is moving fast the outside world seems to move slower. Nice!
The “powers” mentioned so far can be explained by science. They are normal bodily functions heightened during extraordinary circumstances. But there are still anomalies in humans. There are superpowers that are more difficult to explain and come across more like something out of a film or computer game. For example, in the new poker/eSports game Power Up, the X-ray power allows you to view opponents’ cards, but did you know that remote viewing was actually used by the CIA in attempts to gather information? Yes, intelligence agencies experimented in this area and found results suggesting that it is possible for humans to view events and objects without being physically present.
Take also Wim Hof, also known as “Iceman”, who submerged himself in ice without losing any body heat. He is said to have controlled his body temperature using meditation and other techniques and has since climbed Everest in his shorts, ran a marathon in the desert with no water and proven in lab conditions that he can influence his own immune and nervous systems. Try to explain that one.