Lessons for Life History?

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Not all stories have ‘better endings’, and some of life’s Shadow Teachers offer but bitter pills to swallow. After a long conversation with my sister, a pastor, yesterday and reading through several current blog posts around the web, I am left with some somber insights about where the recent election and anti-globalism in the world have brought us to from the point of view of lessons from history.

I am considering how American values and priorities are so focused on materiality today.  It occurs to me—and please share your Comments below to offer your own viewpoint—that as a post-World War II set of generations in America, many of us grew up believing in the idea of “progress” AS IF having defeated Hitler’s genocidal ambitions, somehow all of human consciousness had taken a positive and irreversible, ‘quantum’ leap forward as a collective species. So then after that threat was dissolved, presumably we could focus on achieving prosperity, which came to mean seeking material advantages at any cost, including massive debt and, more sadly, bigotry and mean-spirited politics. Of course there have been many instances of genocide since, not boding well for human enlightenment, and the socioeconomic imbalances can cycle around to the very sorts of conditions that gave rise to ‘a Hitler,’ again.

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We are deeply impoverished if materiality is all that we aim for.  As well, social networking, “reality” TV and one-sided news stations magnify such paltry ambitions and selfish partisanship to an unprecedented magnitude, weakening the potential depth of heartfelt human relations or the capacity to sort out factual evidence and polarizing values so as to create artificial realities that fragment Truth like in a teleidoscope.

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I have an inkling, at least for myself, of a strategy to combat mediocrity of experience in this physical materiopolis, to coin a Newspeak word. To counter negative cycles of History, what can I do? Well,  I can examine my own cycles of life experience and ‘fix’ the errors there that have led to unfortunate or unsatisfactory results, Now.  I believe that means—again, for me anyway—discerning and countering HABITS: habits of thought and attitude as well as health related habits. This can lead not only to my own better endings but it can also improve my relations with others in, at least, my world.

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images are from pixabay.com

If many of us would choose to take to heart this opportunity to empower ourselves by overcoming negative habits accrued through our personal life histories, and if this practice of mindful self-improvement were to rise into prominence in the collective consciousness, what then?  Could we bring about a new positive cycle even whilst in the outward throes of darker tendencies playing themselves out?

This is a  more somber perspective than I usually put forth in this blog.  But to me it feels like the lessons of history are calling out now for realism and positive action.

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.