Monday, June 23, 2008

Why the Hulk should be Red not Green

The fictional comic book character, The Incredible Hulk was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962. The Hulk is the alter ego of mild mannered physicist Dr Bruce Banner who was accidentally irradiated by gamma radiation. Whenever he gets angry, he turned into the Hulk, a creature consisting of pure rage which is invincible and incredibly strong. The angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger and bigger he becomes. I guess he was green because of the gamma radiation. Why green and not red? The English expression of becoming angry is “seeing red.” A red Hulk will be more appropriate.

Many of us are aware of the beast within us. And of the thin veneer of civility that makes us respectable citizens. Occasionally someone will snap and the beast breaks out. Then we are all horrified at the violence done to persons and properties. Sometimes it is not a person but a mob or a nation. And in the aftermath amidst the carnage, we are again reminded of the evil that lurks the heart of human beings. In our hectic, chaotic and stressful lifestyles, anger is our constant emotional companion. While some of us are aware of it, others are not. Many try to repress their daily anger. Doing so they become impatient, irritable and aggressive. Repressing anger does not make it go away. Like energy, emotions can be converted into other forms. Repressed energy is converted into hatred, bitterness and anxiety.

“Please don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" is a famous byline from the Hulk television series which turned up in every comic, television and movies involving the not-so jolly green man. What makes you angry? Could it be social injustice, exploitation of the poor, religious intolerance, and maybe, abuse of political privileges? My reasons for getting angry are often not so righteous. I get angry because I do not get things my own way; why people do not behave the way I expect them to, why projects do not go the way I planned it to, and why the universe do not happen the way I want it to. I get angry and then I feel guilty. I remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Eph.4:26-27). Paul was referring to Psalm 4:4: In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Furthermore, I remember this old Cherokee story named “The Two Wolves”:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed.”

I reflected upon this and drew some wisdom. The psalmist, Apostle Paul and the old Cherokee did not deny the existence of anger or being angry. In fact, they all acknowledge it. Furthermore, they taught me the only way to deal with anger is not to feed it. The only way to deal with anger is to starve it of attention and other emotions. The Hulk is pure rage, violent raw energy and red is the appropriate colour. Green reminds me of leafy meadows, peacefulness and calm. Methinks the Hulk should be red in colour. Or even better blue…

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