If you could pick between one of two superpowers, would you rather fly, or be able to turn yourself invisible?
The first time I encountered this question was as a part of a get-to-know-you activity with some classmates. I learned later that this question is quite common and supposedly reveals a lot about your personality. I learned at the time that
there’s a general suspicion associated with people who choice the invisibility option, based on my teacher’s comment after the exercise that, “If student A tells student B she’d rather be invisible so she can steal things, B knows she’d better protect her stuff around A.”
Having thought deeply (perhaps too deeply) into this immensely important and relevant-to-my-life question, I have determined that, given only the initial information, I would have to chose flight, because being invisible would actually look pretty silly if I were wearing clothes, but it would be pretty awkward if I wasn’t. (I mean, suppose somebody bumped into me?)
But if I had the choice between the ability to fly and the ability to hide myself from other people, that is, make myself harder to notice so that I was effectively invisible, like Doctor Who in the latter episodes of the 2007 series, then I would definitely take the unnoticeability over flight. (And by the way, I’m curious as to why the good Doctor doesn’t use this trick more often. It seems so much more efficient than having to pull out his psychic paper all the time in order to explain himself.)
It’s not that I want to break the law or hurt anybody, although I’m sure that someone who was invisible would be tempted to steal more often than the average person; it’s just that, although I can’t deny that flying would give me much more initial pleasure than unnoticeability, I know if I were really able to fly I wouldn’t feel comfortable using that power just for fun; doing so would cause me too many problems.
Human beings are too big to pose successfully as flying birds, so someone would be bound to notice me, and then thanks to the internet, everybody would know who I was within a few days. Terrorists and psychopaths everywhere would add killing me to their bucket lists, so I could never fly safely again without a flying body guard. And, celebrity safety issues aside, flying wouldn’t exactly help me maintain normal relationships with other people. People who didn’t like me would be jealous, while my true friends and my family tried not to be. Unless, of course, I managed to pull off the whole double identity thing, but I’m not even sure how Superman pulled that off. That’s his problem though, not mine.
Furthermore, there are plenty of honest, decent reasons why a person might want to be unnoticeable. Sometimes when I’m in a new place, I actually want to wander around aimlessly for a bit, or figure out where I’m going by myself, without a bunch of guys with name tags coming up to me and asking, “Do you need help?” (Code for “You look like you might be lost.”) I understand it’s good policy to ask the customer/visitor first if they need assistance, but sometimes I really do just want to be alone.
Besides, if I were really unnoticeable – not just effectively invisible, but inaudible, etc., I could do all the random, spontaneous things I wanted to without bothering other people or attracting stares. I could practice my language courses in public, sing out at the top of my lungs, or do a waltz with an imaginary partner in the middle of the sidewalk. Or, if I was ever really miserable, I could just hide myself and avoid well meaning people asking me what was wrong.
In this crowded society we live in, I think we all sometimes dream of not having to worry what other people think of us and just focusing on being. In the end, whether you really are a thief at heart or just a free spirit, it’s the freedom from others’ perceptions of your true self that makes the invisibility so appealing.
Like me, when given a method for handling clothing issues, many other people seem to prefer invisibility to flight. This site, set up solely for the purpose of polling people on this question, has the two opinions running neck and neck. I don’t think this is because a lot of people like sneaking around better than flying, but because some us think ahead to the social side effects of our hypothetical super powers, and most of us wouldn’t want to give up our chance at a normal life. Still though, if actually given the choice, I would probably have to think about this a lot more than I already have, and if I did chose invisibility, I would probably live the rest of my life with some regret that I didn’t dare to stand out and sore. And, if given the choice on my last day on earth, with no reason to fear what tomorrow would bring, I would definitely rather fly.
So would you rather fly, or be invisible? Comments are at the top of the page.
- Superpowers (jonathancrumes.wordpress.com)