Created By: aeiou on November 15, 2012 Last Edited By: aeiou on November 17, 2012

Spiritual Aliens

Aliens that are morally and spiritually superior to humans.

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On its way through outer worlds humanity encounters an extraterrestrial species who are more advanced than them. But these guys are not merely Higher-Tech Species: not only are they higher on Technology Levels, they have also learned to live in peace with each other, their surroundings, other sentient species, and with their inner selves. Often they are united by some kind of alien religion. Sometimes they posess a Lighter and Softer variant of Blue and Orange Morality, but even if some of their cultural norms are a bit repulsive to humans, in general their morality just works, and it's observable.

They tend to be Human Aliens or Rubber-Forehead Aliens (but there may be exceptions), and their worlds tends to be full of Crystal Spires and Togas.

If humans are lucky, Spiritual Aliens may act like mentors to them. But sometimes, because Humans Are Bastards, they may even try to wage a war with Spiritual Aliens, and even have a chance of winning it because of Spiritual Aliens' peacefullnes. Sometimes though, Spiritual Aliens may treat humans like worthless vermin, despite of their high morality.

See also: Space Elves, Proud Scholar Race Guy, Perfect Pacifist People.

Anime

Film/Animation

Literature

Religion
  • This trope appears in a lot of UFO religions, naturally
    • Universe People from eponymous Czech cult (pictured).

Music
  • Kobaļans from multi-album epic by french avant-garde band Magma, but they are descendants of Earthligs.

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • November 15, 2012
    KingZeal
  • November 15, 2012
    McKathlin
  • November 15, 2012
    aeiou
    Well, it seems to be quite close to Space Elves. Maybe it doesn't need a new trope. Or it should be made more specific.
  • November 15, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    • Babylon 5's Minbari.
    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine's Bajorans made a lot of their spirituality and religious rituals, but there was a lot of dysfunctionality in their society due in part to that (although the trauma of their world's 80-year brutal occupation by the Cardassians also contributed to these dysfunctions). Overall, Bajor is presented as a fairly idyllic world though, and their spirtituality may have a lot to do with that (particularly their apparent respect for the natural beauty of their planet).
  • November 15, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^

    If both my examples (below your post) fit this proposed trope, then while the Minbari also fit as Space Elves, the Bajorans (whose society emphasizes spirituality and religion) would be an example of this trope, but clearly not Space Elves. Unless social harmony and technological superiority are requirements for the trope, in which case the Bajorans would not fit--and at that point the trope would be pretty close to Space Elves (although Space Elves aren't necessarily "spiritual", so it would be a subtrope).
  • November 16, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    I guess my question is, is this a trope for any alien civilization where religion or spiritual belief is particularly emphasized (I think we need a Planet Of Hats subtrope for "religious aliens")? Or is it only for alien civilizations where their religion is actually successful in making them harmonious with each other and thus "superior" to the human baseline in that way? Must said civilization also be "more advanced" than humans in other ways?
  • November 16, 2012
    aurora369
    The unnamed small green species to which Yoda belongs, in Star Wars. Every single one of them in the Expanded Universe is a wise Jedi Master.
  • November 16, 2012
    fulltimeD
    This is Proud Scholar Race (the mystical type, often which overlaps with Space Elves). We already have this.
  • November 16, 2012
    fulltimeD
    live action tv

    Earth Final Conflict: At least, the Taelons appeared to be this... initially, until they revealed themselves to be a dying race of manipulative bastrds.
  • November 16, 2012
    McKathlin
    Yeah...there are a lot of overlaps and fuzzy boundaries with this trope, Space Elves, and Proud Scholar Race, particularly since Proud Scolar Race's present description has Space Elves as a subtype, and yet Space Elves also has its own trope. But I think there are enough examples of Spiritual Aliens, including those given above, that definitely aren't Proud Scholar Race or Space Elves. Nor are they necessarily Perfect Pacifist People; they're not greedy warmongers, but they fight under certain circumstances.
    • The three races of Malacandra are all Spiritual Aliens, but of the three, only the seruni are a Proud Scholar Race. The hrossa are warrior-poets, and the pfiffltrigi are artisans. None resemble Space Elves.
    • Yoda's race is wise and gifted in the Force, but if Yoda himself is any indication, they're neither elf-like (aside from pointy ears) nor scholarly in the traditional sense.

    Anyway, what might we suggest for cleanup of Proud Scholar Race and Space Elves, and distinctions to mention in this trope's description?
  • November 17, 2012
    MorganWick
    If we're cleaning up tropes, we'd want to do it on TRS, at least if it weren't still well over the cap.
  • November 17, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ I'd suggest that a distinguishing factor for this proposed trope would be the civilization emphasizing spirituality or religious belief in their identity or raison d'etre. Religion may or may not be a trait common to sentient species in the real universe (so far we only know of homo sapiens of course). In fiction, sometimes the religion(s) of a sentient alien species is mentioned, sometimes not--but sometimes in fiction, such is emphasized, and they wear it on their shirtsleeves so to speak. Not all such races would be "scholarly" though, nor would all "scholarly" races be religious or spiritual. I guess Space Elves would be the result of a spirituality or religion actually working well for that civilization and making them harmonious (and there is no guarantee religion will do that--sometimes quite the opposite happens)--but Space Elves may also achieve their harmony or relative enlightenment by other means. So there can be plenty of overlap between all three tropes, but Spiritual Aliens should cover civilizations that simply emphasize religion and/or the spiritual, whether that leads to a Space Elves status for them or not.
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