What the Avengers Assemble Can Teach You About Compassion

I decide I want to start my Saturday morning slightly different than normal. Instead of immediately turning on the computer, I decide to watch Saturday morning cartoons, which used to be a favourite pastime of mine when I was kid, all the way up until I left home for West Point.

I’m in luck, the Avengers Assemble is on. The baddies have developed a biological weapon that turns all of the Avengers into Hulks by infecting their blood with a gamma virus. Despite the simplicity of the cartoon, there is a deeper philosophical question at play.  The Hulk’s teammates have a slight dislike for him because he’s ornery and consumed with rage all of the time, a near slave to his ID nature.

The infected Avengers get to experience what life is like through the Hulk’s eyes. They become selfish, raging animals ready to tear each other apart at the slightest provocation. As the affects of the virus deepen, they lose control of their rational mind to their base nature. hulk

When they finally get cured, they realise that they have misjudged the Hulk. Where they assumed he was just a ornery brute, they now realise that he is infinitely more complex than that and has great strength of mind to be able to control his gamma infected ID, through power of his intellect, where they failed. The episode ends with each of the Avengers knowing what is means to be the Hulk having had the opportunity to see the world through the Hulk’s eyes.

You can never really know person, and while we make assumptions and judgements about others, we don’t know what private battles they are enduring. This, to me, is why compassion is so important. What private Hell are people enduring that makes them behave the way they do? Even those who seem to have it all together and seem at peace with themselves will still have demons of the mind that they have to deal with. That’s just part of the human experience. It is through compassion that we can come closer together in spirit.

Here’s a challenge for you. Think of someone who you have a hard time relating to. Now imagine what that person’s emotional struggles might be? Now imagine what their fears about themsleves might be? And finally, imagine what their insecurities and doubts might be? You may find at this point, your mind begins to soften as you realise this person’s fundemental frailties as a human being. Let your compassion take over. When I do this exercise, I often feel a sense of Big Love for the person, and then I find it easier to relate to them through an empathic connection.

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Imagine of Hulk via Daniel-Trujillo

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