1 Jul 2015

Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?

by Corry Shores
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“Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?”


This is a panel from the first appearance of the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #1, by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

Kirby & Lee.Incredible Hulk #1,pg9.pnl10.WhyHuman

Hulk’s sentiment I think comes from him thinking that humans are puny weaklings, and he would hate to lose power by becoming one. We might also think of the transhumanist desire to go beyond the limitations of the human species by means of futuristic technologies. Or, perhaps a sort of misanthropic disgust with the human race comes to mind, like what is expressed in Jonathan Swift’s famous line from Gulliver’s Travels, where the King of Brobdingnag says seemingly of humanity, “I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” Given the general moral character of our species, and its thoughtless destruction of the only known planet which is not hostile to life forms, we might like the Hulk (but for these other reasons) question the value of being human. I am further reminded of these panels from chapter 6 of the first book of Art Spiegelman’s Maus.


In a way, rats are less inhumane than the Nazis were. Perhaps we might take Hulk’s question, “Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?” as an invitation to address some of the more problematic elements of human nature which are leading to the destruction of many other species and possibly our own as well.


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