Friday, June 14, 2013

Hope burns bright-a guest post by Adam Coon

Green Lantern
I've long been a big Green Lantern fan. I've worn a Green Lantern costume for Halloween three different years, as well as to the premier of the Green Lantern movie a couple of years ago. And I've collected every issue of Green Lantern since the return of Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Rebirth almost ten years ago.

I had a very active imagination as a child (and I'll admit that I still do today), and the idea of having a ring that could create anything I imagined had a lot of appeal to me. If I could will it, I could create it.

But as much as I love all things Green Lantern, I found myself even more intrigued when DC expanded the concept of the emotional spectrum and introduced the Blue Lanterns. While a Green Lantern's power is based on willpower, a Blue Lantern's power is based on hope. I've also been impressed with how closely Blue Lantern powers follow the gospel concepts of hope and faith.

Blue Power Ring
The scriptures tell us that “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen” (Ether 12:6). As hope is a necessary element for faith, for the purposes of this post, I will use them interchangeably, though I will note that in reality faith is more than just hope. And as will is a necessary part of taking action, I will also use will, action and works interchangeably.

The scriptures also tell us that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). Pres. Thomas S. Monson has also been quoted as saying, “Work without vision is drudgery; vision without work is dreaming; work coupled with vision is destiny.” If “hope” is substituted for “vision,” this quote very much follows the relationship between will and hope.

Going back to the comic books, shortly after the first Blue Lantern was introduced, it was shown that proximity to a Blue Lantern more than doubled the power of a Green Lantern's ring, just as in life, hope can encourage, motivate and even strengthen action.

A Blue Lantern supercharging
Green Lantern's ring
It was also soon shown that unless they were in close proximity to a Green Lantern, a Blue Lantern's ring had very limited abilities (limited to flight and a protective aura). But when near a Green Lantern, a Blue Lantern has all the abilities of a Green Lantern, as well as many more. When near a Green Lantern, Blue Lanterns have been seen to have healing abilities, the ability to reveal others' hopes, and in one case is shown to channel the hope of the natives of an orbiting planet to turn back the clock on a dying star by several billion years.

This is a good analogy of life, in which case vision, hope or faith without willpower or action will accomplish next to nothing. But when action and vision (or will and hope) are combined, there is almost no limit to the potential that can be accomplished.

Blue Lanterns have also been shown to have abilities related to several of the other types of Lanterns. Blue Lanterns have the ability to drain the power from the rings of members of the Sinestro Corps (the Yellow Lanterns empowered by fear). And Blue Lanterns are also able to cure Red Lanterns (who are powered by anger or rage) who would otherwise die when their rings are removed. And finally are able to decrease the hunger or appetite of the Orange Lantern (who is powered by greed or avarice).

This is also true in life. Hope overcomes fear. It can counter anger and resentment, and fend off greed. Indeed, of all the emotional spectrum embodied by the different Lantern Corps, hope is easily the most powerful, but only when coupled with willpower.

In addition to its analogy to how some of the principles of the gospel and life work, the Blue Lanterns also have a special meaning to me.

I've usually been a pretty optimistic guy, tending to look at the positive or try to find the positive in negative situations. But there have been some circumstances and events in my life during the past few years that have left me feeling very discouraged. At times, I have been in despair, not being able to see how things could get better. During some of those times, I have found hope in the Blue Lantern motto, “All will be well.”

To me this means that even though things may not be going well right now, and in fact things might be really bad, there is hope. And as long as I hold on to that hope, and use that hope to motivate me to action, things will get better. And I've found on a number of occasions as I worked those principles, my life did improve.

Me wearing my Blue Lantern shirt
A few years ago, a good friend gave me a t-shirt with the Blue Lantern emblem on it, and written in bold across it the word “HOPE”. I wear this shirt often because it inspires me, just as the members of the Blue Lanterns have and continue to do.

I'll close with the Blue Lantern Corp oath (which is also my favorite of all the corps' oaths):

In fearful day, in raging night,
With strong hearts full, our souls ignite,
When all seems lost in the War of Light,

Look to the stars-- For Hope burns bright!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Adam, admittedly I know very little of comic books. But I was really touched by this post. I especially appreciate the last part.