Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Obiwanshinobi, Jan 30, 2011.
IIRC,it was never actually said. Just a behind the scenes thing. The closest they came was mentioning the energy field that surrounds all living thing was super in Superman's case and prevented his costume from being ripped to shreds by bullets and what not. ( His cape wasn't so lucky)
Though even it is was, why would it be so wrong? Or more wrong than yellow sunlight and lighter gravity?
As described in the wiki, the term "psionics" typically describes some paranormal mental process or ability, such as telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, or any other psychic power. I've never considered Superman to possess psychic powers, and I would unquestionably reject any such depiction of him.
I'll assume you're joking and move on.
Hey, "psionics" makes as much sense as the yellow sun business - but not one bit more. Therefore there's no reason to prefer it.
Lohan's talented and I'd like to see her recover - so I've certainly no objection to her being cast in a movie.
The dude floats in the air, sees through walls, can burn you with a look and at times project his voice, but all that's okay as long the origins aren't "psychic".
Just trying to figure out what your objections to a Superman with a "psychic" origin for his powers are. I'm not saying they should go that route and IIRC they haven't but if they did it wouldn't be all that "wrong".
Who would play Superman/Clark Kent?
Who would play Lois Lane?
OK, that is a fair question.
The short answer as to why psionics is inappropriate for Superman is because, traditionally, in universe the paranormal has not been the source of his powers. The limitations of Superman's powers traditionally derive from purely physical arrangements, such as lead to block his X-ray vision, not to mention that it is the radiation from kryptonite that is harmful to Superman, and lead (Pb) can shield Superman from this radiation. So, historically, the tone of Superman has been that his powers derive from that part of the fantasy spectrum closer to science fiction than to swords and sorcery. From the wiki:
I summarize my take on tactile telekinesis as follows.
First of all, the term "tactile telekinesis" is a misnomer, because the prefix "tele-" implies action at a distance. Be that as it may, my understanding, as it were, is that tactile telekinesis results from "an energy field surrounding and penetrating" Superman's body that may be extended to encompass objects in physical contact with him. It is worth noting that the film Superman (1978) practically admitted that Superman had this power, although it did not name it, when he took Lois Lane for the ride on "the night she spent with Superman". She stays in flight with Superman, even when they touch only by their fingertips. It is only when her hand slips away and they lose contact that she begins plummeting to Earth. (He swoops down to save her, brilliantly foreshadowing how he reverses her death in the climax of the film. But I digress.) Therefore, this power predates the Byrne reboot by almost a decade.
Conceiving tactile whatever-kinesis as a force field also places it on the fantasy spectrum closer to science fiction than to swords and sorcery. One can imagine that physical contact allows some sort of induction to occur that transfers the levitation effect from Superman's body into any matter in direct contact with him, in a technobabbly sort of way not at all dissimilar to electromagnetic induction. The fact that tactile telekinesis is a misnomer, in that it is not really action at a distance, tends also to make a characterization of this ability as being "psychic" more of a stretch.
It is also worth noting another thing about the 1978 Donner film. Besides all but stating overtly that Superman's powers result from Krypton being in a different galaxy with a different set of physical laws, Jor-El also says:
Given also what is evidently the visual depiction of this flaming turmoil, I am reminded of nothing else than the force field at the edge of the galaxy depicted in TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before. In this episode, as we know, Mitchell and Dehner develop god-like powers after interacting with the force field. They were susceptible to the effect because of their psychic abilities. Now, without getting bogged down in semantics, I argue that TOS:WNMHGB attempted to operate on the end of the fantasy spectrum closer to science fiction than to swords and sorcery, despite telling a story that invoked ESP. In universe, the causes of the mutation were all scientific, and ESP was considered a scientifically measurable phenomenon. I would be more than a little surprised if the "flaming turmoil" in the Donner film were not a direct allusion to the galactic barrier in Star Trek. If it is such an allusion, then I think the intent would be to suggest an explanation for Superman's powers that, while in actuality fantastic, in universe is meant to have the tone of a scientific explanation, in particular involving some intergalactic phenomenon leading to god-like as opposed to godly abilities, that can be countered by villains, such as Lex Luthor, employing attacks based in the science of the fictional world.
It is this tone of having a scientific explanation in universe that is the decisive reason why I find the use of the term "psionics" in connection with tactile telekinesis to be inappropriate. The only possible way it could avoid being distasteful to me is if, as with TOS:WNMHGB, and as an extension of this sort of science fiction, one argues that in universe psionics are not really paranormal. But if that view is Mulder, then as a reader my viewpoint is Scully, and even if the case is made, I'm going to be dragged kicking and screaming the whole time. For, and furthermore, even in TOS:WNMHGB, the full blown god-like abilities took physical contact with the barrier to manifest themselves, and therefore were not exclusively psionic in nature, even if at all psionic. The cause was therefore strange energy rather than freak mentality. Incidentally, failing to stay on Scully's side of this distinction is why I consider TNG:Journey's End to have jumped the shark.
I know this all personal and subjective, but it's the best I can do for now. Thanks for asking.
I've never heard the term tactile telekinesis used in reference to Superman, only Superboy (Conner). Curious if you object to Spock in Star Trek who has psychic abilites, including being a touch telepath.
The man difference between S&S and SF "paranormal" powers is source. If a wizard waves his hand and an object moves its magic. If an alien does it's "science".
Psionics refers to supposed powers of the mind. Byrne maintained that mental powers were what enabled Superman to fly, gave him his immense strength, x-ray vision and so forth. So psionic would be entirely appropriate terminology, though the explanation itself is abracadabra bullshit.
I don't object to Spock being tactile-pathic [just made that up]. I must not have made myself clear enough. I realize that was a long post; unfortunately a thorough description would be even longer.
It's not because Spock is an alien that makes his mental powers lean towards science fiction instead of some more extreme fantasy. Rather, it is the presumption that it makes sense to model his mental powers [in universe] as some sort of field of physical phenomena that could be blocked, enhanced, or focused using a physical apparatus or technologically activated force field of some kind, so that his "psychic" phenomena are all, at least in principle, reducible to physical phenomena.
Writing mental powers so that they derive from supernatural sources necessarily denies any such reduction to natural phenomena, and I am predisposed to regard both "psionics" and the "paranormal" as depending upon the "supernatural".
Any other elaboration would be much lengthier.
I dont see why though. "Psionic" powers are a staple of SF going back as far as the genre does. Superman as a telekinetic (tactile or otherwise) is just as "scientific" as Spock being a telepath. From what I've read ( and I've read a lot of comics & SF) there is nothing "supernatural" about Superman. His powers are derived from him being non-human, just like Spock. So one can presume that it makes sense to model Superman's hypothetical mental powers [in universe] as some sort of field of physical phenomena that could be blocked, enhanced, or focused using a physical apparatus or technologically activated force field of some kind, so that his "psychic" phenomena are all, at least in principle, reducible to physical phenomena.
Have we seen Spock blocked, enhanced, or focused using a physical apparatus or technologically activated force field of some kind? Spock is said to be a telepath. He has demonstrated this ability. More than that hasn't really been covered. His "power" seems to fluctuate from episode to episode. He's said to be a touch telepath yet is also show projecting his thoughts and "feeling" the deaths of Vulcans light years away. And lets not get started on comic book concepts like Katras.
"In universe" psionic powers are verifiable scientific fact where Superman lives. All sorts of aliens and humans can read minds, move objects mentally and levitate. And thats not counting the ones who do it by "mystical" means.
Good. We're actually 75% in agreement right here. What I've put in bold in your quote settles most of the rub. Deep in the bowels of my lengthy post I said this:
You have, as far as I am concerned, essentially met this condition, which if you'll forgive me I considered by no means guaranteed when we began this discussion, and in which, on further reflection, I am perfectly willing to substitute the term "supernatural" in place of "paranormal".
I agree with the fluctuation. The answer to the first question here, remarkably, is "Yes". From TAS: One Of Our Planets Is Missing, written by Marc Daniels:
Considering who the author is, I'm willing to consider this his fair attempt to pin down some of those fluctuations, of which I presume he was fully aware, even if only just a little bit.
To review then, my issues get raised with respect to how these critical terms relate to each other and are defined: natural, supernatural, paranormal, physical, mental, and psionics. If we can agree that psionics are not supernatural, then I'm cool with psionics at least being involved in how Superman gets his powers. But for extra measure, I'd also rather that psionics not be paranormal, at least in universe. I hope you'll forgive me if I was predisposed to think of psionics as both paranormal and supernatural. The wiki on psionics regards psionics as paranormal, so that is not a stretch. While not mentioning the supernatural, the article does draw a distinction between psionics and magic, which I have always understood to be appropriate. However, the wiki on supernatural acknowledges that it may be fair to regard everything supernatural as paranormal.
By the way, Doctor Fate has always been one of my favorite DC characters. I'm very comfortable with him and Superman being in the same Justice League. It's just that I prefer there to be a very sharp distinction between the two characters and the sources of their powers. To accommodate Doctor Fate, we probably also need to add the term magic to the list of critical terms above, which as far as I am concerned is free to involve the supernatural.
What a world.
I have to admit that TAS in not part of my personal canon ( in that I remember very little of it)
In my opinion "Paranormal" covers a lot of ground both "mystical" and "pseudo-scientific". At times both exhibit similar characteristics. Professor X and Dr Strange can both access the "astral plane". One is a mutant with mental powers. The other is a master of the mystic arts. Similarly Superman flies through some sort of TK based levitation, while Doctor Fate flies through magical levitation. Same result through different means.
Thanks, Nerys Myk. It appears we're not as far apart as perhaps I first thought. I think I just have trouble with the connotations of certain terms.
I will only quote a few TAS episodes: the one I just did, which incidentally is also remarkable and unique for its depiction of what is probably inside a warp nacelle, Yesteryear for sure, and possibly a few others. Most of the others, definitely not so much. Appreciating TAS requires, how do I put it, overcoming a very steep curve.
Kinda gotten off the subject of news about the new Superman movie, haven't we?
Not really, given how this line of discussion began with a question about how Superman's powers would be described in the new film.
In any case [/hijack].
^ I think when we get several pages in a row talking about about Spock's psionic powers in TAS, we're well and truly off-topic.
*Sends in SWAT team to deal with hijackers.
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