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One day, a huge rock crashed into Earth, somehow resisting all efforts to shoot it down as if it were protected by some mysterious force. Its impact into the African continent wiped out a substantial fraction of the Earth's population, and most of its infrastructure, while leaving the rock buried deep in the Earth's crust.

In the aftermath, while casualties mount up from secondary causes of death, some survivors begin to have violent migraines, some cases of which turn out to be fatal. However, those who manage to survive the migraines realize that they have developed psychic powers, the most common of which is telekinesis. There is no obvious factor which determines how strong or weak one's psychic power is, or why some people develop powers while others don't. It soon becomes evident that the psychics (the Awakened) are a minority, albeit a powerful one.

After some time, some Awakened realize that proximity to the crash site boosts their powers (in extreme cases, users are able to lift entire houses with little mental effort), and Awakened with telepathic skills begin to summon other Awakened to join them in their new Mecca.

EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION: With just their powers and nothing else, is it possible that the Awakened will be able to rebuild some semblance of civilization as we currently know it? For instance, can they erect buildings, and what would these look like?

The following limitations should apply:

  • The Awakened population is necessarily small, at most a few hundred.
  • Most of them are telekinetics, a handful are telepathic. I can allow for other psychic abilities if deemed necessary.
  • The strongest Awakened can lift skyscrapers easily, or multiple smaller objects. Most can lift cars or huge boulders as long as they remain near the rock. Being able to lift more than their own body weight gives them the ability to self-levitate/ fly.
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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like you got your self the makings for a theocracy, I suggest looking up Mormon expansion for the story. $\endgroup$ – Amoeba Mar 9 '18 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ This is pretty much pure opinion. Maybe they become Fascists proclaiming the superiority of the new master race, maybe they become cultists following a single charismatic leader who tells them they are gifts from a divine being, maybe they become some weird form of meritocracy based on how powerfully the powers manifest in an individual, or maybe they all use telepathy to make the worlds first actually pleasant to live in communist utopia. This is a situation that has no definite answers. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Mar 9 '18 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ OK! That was a major change in question focus. I retracted my close vote, but why are the Awakened limited to using their powers? These people can't pick up a hammer? None of them are trained civil engineers? I think the only difference is they don't need as much heavy equipment, like cranes and bulldozers, otherwise nothing has changed. $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 9 '18 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH: Yeah, I agreed with your comments so I tried to rescope it to the harder stuff and will try to work out the society implications on my own. I'm leaning toward them using psychic power as much as possible because I think that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and having these awesome powers will make them loathe to learn using anything else. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Mar 9 '18 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question also needs to answer the sub question of how much precision do these people have? Reading surface thoughts is much different than prying out secrets or understanding the thoughts of someone who doesn't speak your language. Also could a powerful awakened have a her own heart blown out with a shotgun and psychically pump her own blood or can she just move what she sees? I can easily see a way where some super telekinetic psychically rebuilds telomeres (or whatever) to reverse aging and just kills all the other psychics to rule as psycho power hungry head dictator. $\endgroup$ – Crettig Mar 9 '18 at 6:23
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There's a few reasons why not.

The first reason is that there is no reason for a bunch of people with new abilities to make the same ol' civilization. They will not make the old civilization again. They will make a new civilization. Whether you or I choose to call it "a semblance of our current civilization" is a subjective question of semantics.

However, the other issue is a bigger one: a few hundred people will not make a civilization. That's barely enough to make up a hunter-gatherer tribe, by Dunbar's number. It's simply too small of a number of people. There's also the issue that they are stronger near the crash site. They may be able to create their own sort of tribe there, but if they venture further away, they lose power and become easier to mob. A few hundred people just isn't that many.

Now if they all become so powerful that they become virtually omnipotent, they could rule the world with an iron fist. Simply install puppet governments, fly around like they were presidential candidates on a campaign, and pop the heads of every government leader that doesn't do the right thing a. la Darth Vader.

Whether you want to call that a semblance of our civilization or not is really up to you.

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  • $\begingroup$ "pop the heads of every government leader that doesn't do the right thing" Such a classic :D $\endgroup$ – SK19 Mar 10 '18 at 1:32
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You will have a new ice age, plus major earthquakes for about a million years as the shockwave ripples through the earth. Your technology is gone, your survivors have formed small packs to survive in an utterly alien environment where most food sources have gone extinct. If it takes too long for your telepaths to awaken, then they will be useless as there really won't be many survivors left, and those that are, will have found (adequately) comfortable homes, with steady food sources, probably near river mouths, and won't be willing to move across thousands of km of inhospitable terrain, including mountains and oceans just to get to a place with better houses.
Until the dust settles, the sun is visible again and crops can be grown, people will not budge, and then onwards, it will be mostly adventurous types forming expeditions to visit El Dorado, or Mecca, as you call it.

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Humanity remains humanity. Society will rebuild basically along the same lines.

The only real change is the psychic will become the ruling class because might makes right.

Quite possibly it would be more brutal and authoritarian because with mind readers existing in the ruling class, thought crimes will become an actual crime and any thought of dissent will be ruthless crushed.

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Your question states your awakened can lift large objects, but doesn't say how fine of control they have. Therefore my answer will err on the side of them lacking a certain degree of control.

If you were looking at a city going up around the crash site, I would imagine it to have lots of masonry and arches, and less steel and wood. My reasoning for this - it would be easier for your psychics to have someone slather cement on a stone block and drop it into place, or place large stones in an arch, than it would be for them to use telekinesis to turn individual screws and hammer individual nails.

One specific example that came to mind - It would be relatively simple for such a group of people to build large pyramids around the center of the crash site.

It would also be relatively fast for these awakened to make a passable road. Lifting and dropping large blocks of stone would make a road very quickly, but they probably would not be as durable or smooth as the highways we have today.

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