There's a story I read a long ways back in which Earth was visited by aliens who "help" humanity. They help them to evolve towards a race of introspective brains. This is in order to prevent humans from realizing their potential to become overlords of the universe via a special ability.
The ability in question is called 'indication' and is effectively the ability to alter reality at will, including manipulating the attitudes of any thinking entity. This ability, fully realized, would have enabled a single human to defeat any conceivable opposition that could have been mounted by the aliens, so they used social engineering to get humans to choose to be irrelevant. At times the protagonist in the story prevents others from obstructing him by "indicating assent" or similar phrasing.
The story revolves around a single human who returns to the brutish physical form of ancient humans to chase down the abductors of a woman that he has come to love, wreaking havoc on the aliens.
I am fairly certain that this was a novella-length story from the Campbell era, but it has been at least 25 years since I read it so I could be wrong.