Superpowers vs Your Own Powers

Andy Crouch on why the “superpowers” technology gives us aren’t always good for us.



How to disconnect without being left out


Andy Crouch on why the “superpowers” technology gives us aren’t always good for us.

Andy Crouch answers the question: “You say technology gives us ‘superpowers’. This sounds pretty great! Why do you think it isn’t always?

Suggested Activities: 

  1. Think-Pair-Share:
    1. What is your initial reaction to the video?
    2. Share an example of when you’ve learnt to do something difficult over a long period of time.
    3. Do you agree with Andy that exercising your own proper powers brings greater joy and satisfaction than exercising the ‘superpowers’ that technology gives us?
  2. Read Andy Crouch’s article ‘Our tech superpowers are no match for flow’.
    1. Complete the following table to summarise the differences between ‘superpowers’ and ‘flow’ that Andy writes about.

    2. Andy writes: “The secret to being human in a technological age may come down to this: Every time we are tempted to acquire superpowers, we should choose the fullness of heart, soul, mind and strength instead.” What do you think he means by this? Brainstorm some examples of what it might look like to “choose the fullness of heart, soul, mind and strength” in our everyday lives.
  3. Hold a debate as a class responding to the statement: The ‘superpowers’ technology gives us aren’t very good for us.


The idea of superpowers is basically the idea of power without effort – of great results, with very little effort. You just sort of flick a finger, or think a thought, and it happens. And that’s intoxicating to us. But it’s not very good for us, because the more that you spend your life exercising superpowers, the less time you spend actually developing your own proper powers, that is, your ability to actually become something different. When we’re exercising superpowers, almost always the technology’s doing most of the work, and we’re doing very little. But the joy of being human is actually engaging fully in the world and learning to do something very difficult often over a long period of time; acquiring a depth of capacity in the world. And I think the superpowers that our devices give us, though they’re very appealing and intoxicating, don’t actually help develop us. And I’d much rather spend my days exercising my proper powers than just playing around with superpowers.