Without changing a planet from being habitable for humans and keeping a similar ecosystem why could intelligent races never access electricity?

  1. What systems need to be erased from the planet to not create any magnets? (I want to keep metals though) Because as far as I know without magnets you cannot manually create electricity.

So what I need is way to stop natural magnets from forming while still keeping the physics and chemistry of the universe the same. While at the same time enabling the people to live the same way or similar to the way humans lived in the medieval age and renaissance. (Yes keep the earths magnetic field)

If this is not possible what effects would these changes cause to the formation of human society. (Please don't blast my world with all the radiation the sun sent at them)

Also people should retain the ability to advance in other fields of technology.

  • $\begingroup$ All matter has magnetic properties, electromagnetism is one of the fundamental forces of the universe. the different forms of magnetism are a result of how atoms are constructed. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I mean by humans usable magnets $\endgroup$
    – Soan
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ it doesn't matter, metals in our universe means magnets. not having magnets is like not having heat or light. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ So does that mean when I use simply any iron I find and spin it in the same way as we do to generate electricity it would also generate electricity even though it not a permanent magnet? $\endgroup$
    – Soan
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ (a) A question asking us to describe the effects of anything on the entirety of human history is too broad. (b) While it might be possible to come up with something that prohibits the formation of natural magnets, electricity itself is a fundamental concept in the universe. It's impossible not to have it. (c) Every field of science would be hampered by the loss of electricity. Indeed, most wouldn't progress past the 1700-1800s because all science is interrelated. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


May I suggest a re-frame? Because scientifically, magnetism is a fundamental building block of...reality and physics, so you're going to get a bunch of "No that's not possible" and people having to rewrite the entire rulebook of reality. You're also asking us to write an entire history of an earth without this, from the formation of this unreal planet to the entirety of their scientific history. And, if you're keeping the planet's magnetic field there really is no reasoning that makes sense.

The reasons must be social and cultural in nature, not science-based. So maybe a big experiment gone wrong, making it a forbidden technology. It would have to be a high body count because early experiments did kill people...

Magnetism and electricity is interconnected to so, so many other fields that it's nearly impossible to separate out the supposedly "unrelated" ones.

Maybe get hyper specific with this question, filling in as needed. "Without electricity in the time period of X, how would a society get to Y discovery?" Something along those lines...

Some sample reasons why magnets are a no go.

  • Considered the purview of an evil god.
  • Considered sacred to the main good god so only their priests are allowed to use it.
  • Highly publicized dangers of electricity, and a single catastrophic event or series of events have made this illegal.
  • Something else is more abundant. There's another source of energy on this planet that's easier to work with. Magnetism and electricity are still there, but there's something else that's replaced them to propel society forward. You could ask a totally different question as to alternatives to electricity.

(Now, if your aim is atmospheric--maybe you like the idea of candle light or something, set me just say that electric lights, staying up later, are the cause of a lot of advancements in myriad ways--socially, economically, scientifically...It's not clear from the question WHY you want to do this, and sometimes the answers here can solve things better if they know your aim.)

If you wanted them to still use candles or lamps, maybe a corporation has purposefully stunted progress for that particular thing. (Certainly there are better alternatives than fossil fuels in cars, it's just not all that common).

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I am currently working on the re-frame. $\endgroup$
    – Soan
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 19:45

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