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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Green Lantern WILL vs. FEAR
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Thursday, September 1,2011

Green Lantern WILL vs. FEAR

By Cary Bayer  

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The Green Lantern of DC Comics is a great superhero, but the feature film about him that debuted in the summer of 2011 is not a great film. The CGI blockbuster, however, does do a great job of bringing into clear focus the relationship between fear and will.

Without giving away too much of the plot of this latest superhero cinematic adventure—the third in a summer that totals four such features—the test pilot becomes the superhero when a dying Green Lantern of the intergalactic Green Lantern peacekeepers sends out his ring to seek out a Green Lantern candidate for Earth, and the ring goes to Jordan. (Maybe there’s something about the name Jordan that attracts rings—I couldn’t resist that basketball joke.) The reason: there is an otherworldly force of pure evil (Parallax) that feeds on the fear of others, kills them, and grows stronger from their fears, and he’s bound for Earth to gain further strength from a comparatively primitive planet that wouldn’t be able to defend itself. The battle between Parallax and the Green Lantern is one of fear versus will.

For tens of millions of people in our world today who are living under great fear—of losing their jobs, of losing their clients or businesses, of losing their homes to foreclosure, of losing their good health, or even of losing their lives— the idea that will can prevail over fear is a great thing to learn. Call it one of the spiritual teachings of the film.

Again, without betraying the plot to those who might not yet have seen the film, there’s another important teaching in this movie; namely, the difference between fear and courage. The picture’s hero, the step-to-his-own-drum Hal Jordan, wrestles not only with the evil Parallax, but also with his own doubts and fears that he can ever become the highly-committed member of the highly-disciplined Lantern corps. He confuses fear and courage, his girl friend Carol Ferris tells him. Courage, she enlightens him, as John Wayne once told a military colleague in a movie whose title I cannot recall, is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act despite your fears.

There are many things that you would love to do or are obliged to do, but sometimes, your fear of doing it stops you from moving forward. This blocks you from love, money, and success, and from many other great things. The movie is reminding you to do whatever it happens to be, even though you’re afraid. It’s courage that allows you to move forward despite your fears.

The film also reminds veteran spiritual seekers of the difference between fear and love that was widely and wisely written about in the well-known new age book, Love is Letting go of Fear, the classic by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky. Those who are familiar with chakras--the yogic idea of a hierarchy of energy centers within human beings—know that love is a higher form of consciousness than will, and can conquer fear.

Oh, by the way, there’s one more important teaching in the film, even though it’s not particularly spiritual. It’s about not forgetting to charge your devices: The Green Lantern can only have access to the power in his lantern if he regularly charges his power ring. Your iPhone doesn’t have the same power as his lantern, but you most certainly need it to be charged regularly, as well. 

 

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