Narratives have had a profound effect on my life, and I know I am not alone in this. From a young age, my life has been saturated in stories at home, school, and church. I come from a storytelling and story-engaging family, including television, movies, comic books, plays, musicals, and novels. Family gatherings always include the telling and retelling of family stories.
Narrative is how I view the world, and this permeates all aspects of my life. I will be writing about the intersection of stories (particularly from popular culture), psychology, and theology. Sometimes my focus will be on one of these, while other times I will focus on the connection between two or three of them. One of the things I love most about all three of these aspects of life is that they are never done (or at least done well) in isolation; they require community and dialogue. I also appreciate that they are never done, meaning there is no end to them. What I want to spark from my blogs is conversation. I share my thoughts, you share yours, and we walk away more enlightened and enlivened by this interaction of meaning and perspective.
The blog is only finished once you have added to the discussion, and are discussions really ever complete? Such interactions require good listening, as well as good expressing. In my work as a psychologist, it amazes me how powerful it is to have someone who will listen and try to understand without judging or trying to fix things. It saddens me to recognize how many people do not have someone like that in their lives. I commit to listening to you in this conversation between blog writer and blog reader; I hope that you will do me the same honor.
To start off the conversation, I am going to begin with a series of blogs on the DC Comics superhero world of the Green Lantern Corps. As such, I thought it would be helpful to begin with a primer on the Green Lantern universe in order to provide a foundation for this blog series to those less familiar with it.
The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force that patrols the 3,600 sectors of the universe in pairs. The Green Lanterns are powered by the Will of all sentient beings in the universe, and this Will is channeled through the lanterns that power their rings. Green Lanterns use their rings to fly, communicate in various languages, create constructs made out of light to use as tools and weapons and to defend themselves, and access everything that is known about the universe in the Guardians’ database.
The Guardians of the Universe are immortals that have taken it upon themselves to defend the universe. They are the creators and overseers of the Green Lantern Corps and direct them in their efforts to protect the universe from various threats. Though the Guardians tend to operate out of pure reason and are mistrustful of emotions, the Green Lantern Corps is powered by one aspect of the emotional spectrum, Will. The emotional Green Lanterns and their emotionless bosses create a common source of tension and conflict in this world.
The emotional spectrum contains a rainbow of emotions, each of which powers a different group of ring-wielders: Red (Rage), Orange (Avarice), Yellow (Fear), Green (Will), Blue (Hope), Indigo (Compassion), and Violet (Love). There are two additional facets of the spectrum: Black (Death) and White (Life). Each group of ring-wielders has lanterns and an oath. Each group is powered by one of these emotions, which is drawn from all sentient beings in the universe. Each group has an entity, which is the living embodiment of that emotion. Each group’s rings do similar things, though there are differences in the groups’ abilities based on the emotion that powers them.
Most importantly, each group has something to teach us about our emotional lives as human beings. The best Green Lantern writers, such as Geoff Johns, do so subtly and without beating us over the head with their message. We must engage the story and discover what gems lie hidden within. We have to work at it to understand it. Experiencing a story is no passive task. The way stories present information and the work we do by entering into them and exploring their worlds imprint their messages onto our brains and hearts in ways other forms of communication do not. It will take effort, but it will be worth it. I look forward to taking this emotional journey through the Green Lantern universe with you!
What questions do you have? What are your thoughts on my approach and plans for my blogs? Do you have questions regarding the Green Lantern universe that could use clarification? Please share your thoughts on our Facebook page!