It's accepted that the mind controls the body by electrical impulses between neurons and down the spine and along nerves, etc, which allows us to move an arm to pick something up. However, what stops us from using the same concept to pick something up without touching it?

My character can send out electrical impulses from his brain like the rest of us do. Except, instead of remaining within his body, affecting his movements only, the impulses could travel through the air, or whatever medium he's in, directed by him of course (like we can direct an impulse to our hand, not our leg when we want to pick something up). Then, he can move things around without physically touching them.

Distance would matter as it takes more energy to send an electrical impulse further away from you. Using this concept, he can also manipulate matter at the atomic level, removing an electron or neutron from the atom, like how we'd assemble Lego bricks. He can then manipulate matter, and light and other forms of energy. Whether he can interfere with the electrical impulses in other people's brains and read or change their thoughts, I have yet to decide. But basically, thanks to this, he can feel everything around him to the particulate level, just like we can feel what's happening to our bodies.

What possible problems could arise from something like this?

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    $\begingroup$ Some thoughts: can he handle that much information? There are a ton of atoms, after all. Also, if he can send EM radiation out, then radiation can probably get in. Normal light might cause a headache, while an MRI could kill him maybe? Obviously you should decide what hurts and what is bearable based off of your story. $\endgroup$
    – Lacklub
    Apr 8, 2016 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ humans don't control electrons directly we trigger chemical reactions in nerve cells that trigger actions in connected cells. Nerve firings travel through nerves, and we also don't control the path we just start it moving and it follows the nerves. Can you character control electrons in free space or only in nerves? $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2016 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ can he force electrons to hold still? He could instantly drop a room to absolute zero, and violate conservation of entropy, and energy and momentum. I guess that's cool. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2016 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Lacklub, about the information, I guess it would be the same as us wanting to pick something up... We don't need to direct every twitch of our fingers, we just think 'pick it up', and the motion is already sorta pre-programmed. Hmmm... But the electric signals in the brain don't hurt us? It would probably be that kinda signals that he sends out... But, yeah the 'radiation can probably get in part' is really useful, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @sdrawkcabdear, As far as I'm planning, he can mainly control the atoms around him. As long as there are atoms... Like, this power would be practically useless in space. $\endgroup$
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:06

2 Answers 2


There are so many problems this concept that I don't even know where to begin. We'll ignore that this is not how the universe works, and deal with this concept on face value:

Too Much Input

The human brain can only handle so much. We actually "filter" many of the stimuli in our environment, because if we were to be made consciously aware of every little thing it would be too much for us.

For example, we are not aware of the sensation of every piece of clothing touching our skin. Even of breathing, most of the time. There are very well sound-proofed rooms where one can hear his own heartbeat clearly. People don't typically last in there for more than 30 minutes (I believe the average is 15 minutes, and the record, at the time I read the article, was 28 minutes or so). The reason is that it's so quiet you even become aware of your blood flowing through your veins. It's just too much to handle.

A person who would be able to "feel" all the "energy" around him, as well as reach into other people's brains, etc. would probably be overwhelmed with input in seconds.

Access != Knowledge

We all know where the library is. We can walk in and grab any book we want off the shelf. That does not mean that we are familiar with all the information contained within those books.

This person can read other people's brain activity and manipulate it. However, how will he ever know how to manipulate it? We don't really understand how memories are stored and created yet. We are only just starting to properly understand the human brain. How will this guy know what to manipulate, or to what degree?

He's far more likely to kill people, or turn them into vegetables than to be able to read their minds, or rewrite their memories.

Insanely Dangerous

He can strip electrons off of atoms, you say? I hope this guy is an expert physicist / chemist, otherwise he is guaranteed to kill himself sooner rather than later.


If someone, or something could interact with matter in the way you describe they would instantly become a God. They would be able to manipulate the world in ways in which we could never have dreamed.

But you're breaking physics in a big way, with no explanation as to how you're doing it. Remember that no energy is ever created or destroyed: this person would need to put as much energy into manipulating something as it takes to change it. I'm having trouble imagining where he might draw that energy from.

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    $\begingroup$ Electrons being stripped off of atoms is a chemical reaction, not nuclear. You need to be messing with the nucleus to get a nuclear reaction, and electrons (typically) don't interact with the nucleus. $\endgroup$
    – Lacklub
    Apr 8, 2016 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Lacklub - you're right, I'll edit it $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Apr 8, 2016 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM hahaha, about the 'it's not how the universe works'... That's why it's sci-fi >< :) $\endgroup$
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:09

Ballistic electrons: AndreiRom has good points I'm just adding a bit.

Electrons move fast in most mediums very nearly the speed of light.
You character has to send some sort of information to them to control them but by the laws of causality in physics information can't travel faster than the speed of light.

So when you launch an electron and launch a control signal after it the signal will take some minutes(thousands of miles) to catch the electron. Electrons are quantum particles and so are constantly moving so it would seem that you would lose control of you electrons as soon as you launched them.


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