What would the global impact be for growing down?

Let me explain:

Today, we all grow with our feet on the ground and our height goes up.

But what if we (at birth) started at the maximum height that we would get to in our lifetime and grew down until our feet touched the ground?

I got this idea from rereading the classic The Phantom Tollbooth and I saw this scene:

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The boy on the left is doing exactly what I am talking about, starting at his maximum height and growing down as he gets older.

Now, my question is:

Are there any large, impactful, and global results of this magic? I am not asking if drinking coffee would be a little weird, I am asking if the world would change in any large ways. Major law-changes, manufacturing failures, stock market plungings, mass injuries, etc.


Base beneath elevation

When you are not at your maximum growth, you will be levitating off the base at a height depending on how much more you need to grow.

When I say base, I mean a flat, solid, platform's area.

Criteria for above sentance:

  • The area should be greater than or equal to 22 x 22 inches. Any less than this would mean that the person would float off the closest thing of 22 x 22 inches underneath the small base.

So, if you were 3 feet tall and had 2 feet left to grow, (2 feet of air underneath you) stepping on a 5 x 5 inch stilts 8 feet off the ground would make you go right through the stilts. You would sink back to normal position. (your head would be elevated to 5 feet and your feet elevated at 2 feet tall.) But, stepping on a 24 x 24 inch wide 8 foot tall stilt platform would make you elevate 2 feet above the stilts.

  • The base must be solid.

Stepping into the sea at the beach would mean floating above the sea from the seafloor, not the water's surface. Same thing for gases and plasma, you would sink to your normal elevated position above the nearest proper base.

  • The base should be flat

And, if it is not flat, you will be elevated above the deepest point on the surface. For example, if you were standing on a rounded surface with the tallest point of 5 feet and the lowest point of 3 feet, you would elevate above the 3-foot depth.

  • The base could be anything that fits this size building, the literal ground, a motorboat's floor, elevator, standing on a chair, etc. Ask if you are unsure what would qualify.


Repeat, your head will be at the tallest point you will ever grow. If the tip of your head is 6 feet above a proper base, your max height in your lifetime is 6 feet tall.

  • Where your head is compared to your base will show your total height. Then, as you age, your feet will grow down, towards the base. Eventually, once your feet touch the ground, you know that you are done growing.

  • Trying to eat extra veggies or get taller in some way or another will not work. The magic has already found your max height.


You will walk the exact same as you would if you were on the ground. The only difference is that you are elevated on air. I don't want answers telling me that this does not comply with the laws of gravity, etc: It is a result of a magic spell. Do not question the magic.

  • You can still walk, run, jog, skip, etc when elevated.

  • If you trip and fall, you will fall to the ground. You will get hurt.

  • If you jump, simply add how much height you would jump and how tall you are elevated, and then that's how tall your head will get when jumping.

  • Climbing to heights greater than 3 feet above your head would be possible, until you fall and you would fall all the way to the ground. The magic will not prevent stupidy and would not be able to safely catch you at your max height mid-fall.

  • While moving in the air, you are still subject to ceiling fans, ceilings, etc. Walking with your legs in a wall and your upper body in the air will not work. You can not walk through walls.

Non-standing positions

  • When you try to sit down, your legs will curl in like they were sitting, except your head would still be at max height level.

  • If you tried to lay down, your head would move from upright to sideways resulting in falling.


  • Clothes will stay on you as they would regularly.

  • Wearing shoes like high heels when elevated will not make your head move up any further. It will only accomplish making your feet closer to the ground. When you have fully grown, shoes like high heels will be practically impossible for obvious reasons.

  • Accessories like backpacks would not sag toward the ground, they would stay upright on your back just like normal.


Once you hit your max height, for the rest of your life you will remain the same height.

  • You will not shrink as you age-old.

  • It is correct that if you will die early in life, you will not be that far off the ground.

  • Once you die, all of the magic will leave you and you will become a regular, lifeless body.

The magic

The only main parts of the magic are that you grow down from your maximum height and that you can do regular things while elevated.

  • The magic applies to everyone in the world at birth.

  • There is no way to avoid the magic and trying to secure yourself to the ground is pointless.

Please, please, please ask for clarifications for any of these rules! Also, if you have a question, I will clarify/add its rule. I know that I only covered the bare basics to this magic, but I am relying on you to help me update my question.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 4, 2021 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


So many.

There are some valid questions in the comments but rather than add an infinite list of clarification requests I figure its better to just brainstorm some ideas and you can use that to help define the actual rules of the world from the consequences you're trying to avoid.

So aside from things with open questions in the comments:

  • Breastfeeding is going to be awkward
    • I've watched many young mothers fall asleep while breastfeeding. If they do this, they will wake to their nipple being pulled upwards.
    • Breastfeeding may involve duct taping the baby to you, or you have to climb a stepladder.
  • The floating elderly
    • So - you don't reach your maximum height at ~18 and then stay there, you have a maximum height in your life, you grow to it, and then as you age you lose a bit of height. Elderly people will float too.
  • Adults will float in the afternoon
    • Your height varies over a day. So when you wake up in the morning your feet are touching the ground. After lunch your losing a bit of grip, and by dinner you need to stand on tip toes.
  • Easy way to detect a child who'll die young.
    • If a child pops out of the womb and floats 90cm up - they're going to die before adulthood, as they're maximum height is that of a child. (And there's a whole paradox thing - Might as well not put any effort into raising them then, which could cause them to die)
  • Following from that - a child 1.8m in the air has a character shield around them
    • They're invincible if they're that height, because they haven't reached their maximum height yet.
  • Swimming in air is very inefficient.
    • Like willy wonker in a glass elevator in space.
    • You need friction to move, and you get that from touching the ground. Children will need wings to fly around until they're old enough to touch the ground.
  • Height is influenced by diet as a child, so there is a paradox here.
    • See a child bobbing up and down between 165 and 175cm in the air? That's because that child may or may not eat their vegetables.
    • It gets even more pronounced when growth hormones are discovered.
  • Children in the wilderness will die of thirst.
    • All the water pools on the ground. If there's some reeds or something nearby they can maybe drink by doing a reverse chin-up down to the water.
  • Childrens muscle development will be wacked
    • Astronauts in space need to do like 1hr/day on a treadmill so they're leg muscles don't waste away. Your children will hit adulthood with no leg muscles.

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