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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

PyrE  
  A thermonuclear explosive that is detonated by thought alone.  

One of the major themes of this book is the primacy of the individual, as opposed to the society. Individual responsibility becomes more important when an explosive is created that can be detonated by thought.

Like widening rings in a pond, the Will and the Idea spread, searching out, touching and tripping the delicate subatomic trigger of PyrE. The thought found particles, dust, smoke, vapor, motes, molecules. The Will and the Idea transformed them all.

In Sicily… the residues and precipitates had been dumped down a drain which led to the sea. For many months the Mediterranean currents had drifted these residues across the sea bottom. In an instant a hump-backed mound of water towering fifty feet high traced the courses, northeast to Sardinia and southwest to Tripoli.

From The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester.
Published by Berkley in 1956
Additional resources -

Another class-leveling invention in this novel is the discovery of jaunting.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The Stars My Destination
  More Ideas and Technology by Alfred Bester
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