I had an interesting idea for a superpower the other day. I’ll call it the ‘flashback superpower’ and it works like this:

Supposing whenever you first met someone, you immediately had a flashback of their life (like in a movie.) You saw a formative childhood experience, and how their lives have been shaped by their friends and foes. All in an instant.

You may see why someone comes across as a hard-ass, or why someone else appears unengaged.

Believe me, even the most unengaged person (on the surface) will have a vivid interior life.

We are all shaped by our past experiences, and the narratives we impose on them. Very few of us give a thought to how everyone else is also walking around with their own backstory, their own dreams (failed and yet-to-be), their own unresolved drama.

Most of the time it’s not even something we’re aware of (that’s what a shrink’s couch is for.) But it’s there nonetheless, like the coral reef an island sits on. And it shapes everything we do, say, think and feel.