The Alien Teacher Archetype

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December is associated with the TEACHER Archetype. Last week I saw the new film  Arrival  and realized there is an Alien Teacher archetype that runs through much of science fiction literature and films.  The short story The  Day the Earth Stood Still by Harry Bates and Edmund North (screenplay) is an example in which an alien named Klaatu and  his peace enforcing robot Gnut (Gort in the film versions) arrives on Earth to warn us that we will be destroyed unless we establish peace instead of war as we emerge as a space venturing species in the atomic age.

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In Arrival, a linguist serves as a consultant to the military when twelve ominous, egg-like apparent spaceships come to hover over twelve areas around the globe. I don’t want to give too much away here about the story (it is well worth seeing!), but the linguist, who aims to find a way to communicate with the aliens by learning to interpret their odd ink bursts of communication, comes to understand they have a profound message for the world, and for herself personally as well.  The global message pertains as in The Day the Earth Stood Still to our needing to find a way to live peacefully together with positive international cooperation and communication rather than rely on violence and aggression to meet our perceived threats.

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The Alien Teacher represents knowledge and wisdom far beyond whatever the current consciousness of people on planet Earth have arrived at when the story is written. I guess in order to have survived as a species long enough to reach Earth from interstellar travel such aliens would have had to find a way to achieve wisdom enough not to have destroyed one another, though they might have destroyed their planet so that they need to find a new one to ravage (another common alien lesson theme).

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images are from pixabay.com

The Alien Teacher, as “not Us,” represents knowledge and wisdom we aspire to or a mental capacity for awareness we sorely lack.  In a way, all spiritual Teachers and Masters are of this same archetype. We look to those who have been where we wish to go and who have already achieved our spiritual or personal goals, to follow in their footsteps or at least to gain a sense of grounding and direction for striking out upon our own adventures.  The Teacher shows a Way, a Path, but you and I have to walk that path and carve it out more clearly as we advance through the wilderness. The lessons from our Teacher are always with us, even when the Teacher is no longer immediately present.  As Learners (a correlated archetype) we store the knowledge and aim to achieve the wisdom of the Teachers who have gone before us on our Journey.

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