Everyone's talent is really believable and amazing. I mean, as a human, those things would be quite useful, and I could see how those particular gifts could manifest. But as for Ben's gift? The control over the elements? I haven't the foggiest how that would manifest itself when he was human.
To be honest, it sounds a little like Storm in X-Men.
Could someone explain Ben to me? Please?
Well, as far as Benjamin goes, I would assume he was a very nature-oriented youth, loved hiking, fishing, parasailing, all that stuff. I think that perhaps everyone is also putting a little too much stock into the whole "You've got to be a vamp to have a special power" theory. Bella, for example, had a substantial power even in her human life, she just didn't have the superior senses of a vampire to be able to harness it to its maximum efficiency. Likewise, I think that perhaps Benjamin did have some sporadic control over his power while he was still human, which is how Amun was able to discern what he would be able to do as a vampire, since amun does not have eleazar's (sp?) talent of knowing what someones talent is.
If you want to take this to a more "real life" scenario (I use the quotation marks, because I can't think of much of anything that feels more real than the story laid out in the twiligh saga), I think that what Jasper does as a vampire is likely very near to what i would be able to do were i to be changed.
I have an instinctive feel for the feelings and (we'll call them wavelengths) of others, often being able to talk people back from the brink of hysteria or sociopathic mental breakdowns. Not necessarily a "power" per se, but i think the example holds.
Aside from commanding an army, i believe that jasper probably had a great deal in common with me during his human "life".
Back to the point: Benjamin was likely a very introspective youth (you can tell exactly how mature and cultured and sympathetic he is through just the few instances of dialogue he has in BD), and having explored the contours of his own brain so thoroughly while similarly exploring the wonders of the world around him, the two kind of clicked together (nature and self-knowledge) to form a power that was likely manifesting itself unbeknownst to benjamin when Amun stumbled upon him...
Of course this is all merely speculation, i am not a historian, and would have a hard time studying a "fictional" history in any case.
And one last thing: To whoever posted something about "where are all the male twilighters out there?" after her boyfriend read only 100 pages of the first book and said he "wasn't into it"... We're out here, few and far between maybe, but as hopelessly in love with the story as any of you, and perhaps even more so since we do get that fabled look into the "hopelessly devoted" female mentality, and all of the reactions and ramifications therein...
Whew... these are my thoughts on special powers!!
Thank you for your time