Some real world human traits are super in their own way, but have benefits that are subjective and come with caveats and disadvantages. These remind me in a way, that requires treading carefully to explore as not to offend, of super-powers from shows like X-Men and Heroes.
I'd like to explore such traits as being powerful enough to have supernatural qualities, while not being entirly beneficial.
This concepts influences include:
Some recreational drugs, that give access to great insights or modes of thought while damaging the body.
Gradually turning into a zombie in a horror film, that can in theory live forever.
Conditions such as the one Stephen Hawking has.
Discworld "Borrowing", with the high levels of danger and insight from magically inhabiting the unfamiliar minds of non-human animals. These dangers include becoming so involved in their lives as to forget your human body, as well as becoming too physiologically affected by the experiences.
I envisage a fictional world, where such powers/abilities/inflictions:
- would be supernatural in modern-day Earth, but are scientifically viable in this fictional world
- are not limited to a single cause, or inheritable
- are not limited by type to a single result (e.g., not everyone with telekinesis can move only spherical objects)
- are reminiscent of real world disorders, illnesses, or recreational substance use, without being identifiable as being about any specific group, trait, disorder or substance
- are considered more diminishing than worthwhile by most
- require commitment to understand, grow, control, or make the most of
And as such:
- types of ability either become associated with a group, or with personality traits from before or after having the power
- are fascinating to some, including those not in a position culturally able to explore them
- considered irrelevant to many, despite their apparent world impact
- for some, have spiritual associations
- become illegal, and/or gain an unofficial type of secrecy and confusion, through being "not talked about"
It's part of an idea I've had for a while. The question is: What examples of abilities would meet these goals?