If infinite control over time, space, and matter is off the table, my ideal superpower would be what I call the "rewind power" (or sometimes the "Groundhog Day power").
This page is a stub, created on 2020-04-17 (last updated on 2020-07-28). Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.
In the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's Phil Connors finds himself stuck in a day that keeps repeating itself, and he's the only one who retains memories of previous days. He has no control over the repetition, and it ultimately manifests as torture for him. I loved this move (and was obsessed with it as a kid), and that serves as the basis for what I called the "Groundhog Day power" that I've always fantasized about (and literally lose sleep over regularly to this day). But in my version, the power comes with control, both over the number of loops and how far back you jump. So it's inspired by Groundhog Day, but with quite a bit more flexibility; it would be my power, not a thing merely happening to me. Check out "Groundhog Day" Loop for more detail on how this has manifested in various TV shows and movies.
First, I want to talk about the mechanics and constraints of this power:
- can go back any length of time, 5 second or 5 years, back into my own body with everything that I now know
- no fast-forwarding
- what happens if I die (everything resets to when I was born, so huge incentive to not die)
- no jumping to a previous timeline
Next, I want to talk about some of the consequences of this:
- for all practical purposes, wiping out the existence of anybody conceived after a point I jump back to
- not being able to recreate something from a previous timeline
Of course, I'd want to talk about what I would do with this power:
- live out different versions of my life, pursuing different careers
- deliver very satisfying comebacks
- undo mistakes/regrets
- optimize playing the stock market and winning the lottery
- build new technologies in the 80s and 90s instead of waiting for them to be invented in the 2000s/2010s
And there's a psychological angle here--what motivates me to crave this power in particular?
- my fixation on optimization and efficiency
What other powers would I potentially like?
- telekinesis (which would include the ability to fly)
- telepathy (which would have to be volitional)
- teleportation (could this be an "advanced mode" of telekinesis?)
- invulnerability / rapid healing (think either Superman or Wolverine)
- immortality at the age of 28 (ie, no aging or age-related diseases)
- freezing time
What's the connection to my enjoyment of TV and movies that are in the science fiction, magic, and superhero genres? And how about how I'm a sucker for time travel and parallel universes?