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Green Lantern


Political courage

In this story, fear is the color yellow. Not cowards: fear itself, or the fearful things. Green is the color of the willful. Indeed, all that lives will live. We are told will is cosmic power. Channeling it is justice, not some Nietzschean cosmic tyranny, because the powerful do not get to rule willfully, but must protect the weak. Obviously, this divides the powerful, who must fight.

We are told the green lanterns have rings allowing them to make things by thinking them. Apparently, speeches & deeds cannot be distinguished. How would thinking make anyone a hero? – The villain is a big-headed scientist & science requires speeches. & the hero wants to bring evil to light, to expose it, which also requires speeches. Both are men of action, but they require the approval of public opinion to have authority.

Power, it emerges, does not require a green lantern. Using people’s fears suffices. We call rule by fear tyranny. Indeed, the evil creature reads people’s memories & kills its own father. The green lantern’s father died doing fearless things, risking his life. We have seen the scientific cause of power debased: it cannot distinguish hero from villain. Necessity only knows two men: the fearful & the fearless. Science threatens to destroy the former, who do not need it.

The hero, unlike the villain, is patriotic & even seems pious. – The poet shows us that scientific will to truth is really will to power. Therefore, only men will stand against it; or be destroyed, they well know. Indeed, the hero only imagines warlike powers, which are both offensive & defensive. He is a just man, because he defends the people in defending himself.

The crucial scene is a dialogue between the hero & the galactic council of green lanterns, a mere general principle, an abstraction powerless to act. It minds itself with billions of years, not urgent life, & all living beings, not merely human beings. It thus resembles impersonal science; but a hero needs to act; therefore, he needs a cause & a virtue.

This is the reason why green lanterns are only one species of the fearless. To act, they must believe they act with right. This restrains courage, by itself no virtue, to courage taught by correct principles. His American principles articulate his virtue. Apparently, aliens come to America & speak English because we only understand cosmic problems as our problems. These aliens are evil nature herself. Like the executive power, the hero is fundamentally energetic. But he cannot merely act on the passive audience of his greatness. He must take his cause from his audience who thus retains some control over their hero. This limit is also necessary.

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