Reflections on the movie Aluna

Reflections after watching Alan Ereira’s second movie Aluna, a recent collaboration with the Kogi people of the Andes, our elder brothers, who want us to understand that we are destroying the natural world.

Having owned a copy of From the Heart of the World, Alan Ereira’s earlier movie conveying the first message of the Kogi, it is of interest to wonder what it is about little brother that makes difficult fully taking the communication of that movie on board. I became aware while seeing Aluna that the Kogi have been wondering too. They have realised that we didn’t, maybe can’t, hear the message, and they engaged with Alan Ereira to try again to communicate with us, this time rather than by explaining, by showing us what they mean.

We easily enough accept that peoples we think of as primitive and indigenous may have an intimate connection with nature that civilization sets at a distance. The Kogi are different. They are the last survivors of the great Andean civilizations that pre-existed the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. As such they represent not so much what we have lost, but can show us aspects of what we might become – a synthesis of what we have lost and what we are. After viewing Aluna, I can accept that their message comes with an authority that we lack. Their Mamas, spiritually evolved leaders, are in charge of life at every level, profoundly grounded in nature, knowing life and living life from inside life itself, sensitive to and caring of the natural world, mother earth, and although free of writing, and knowledge in our sense, capable of understanding and engaging our complex machine endowed world without losing touch with any of their own reality. As they say, they have not forgotten who they are.

It is on the one hand encouraging to see them demonstrate possibilities of life that are here for us too, and sad to see the great gap in communication between us and them. They have survived by isolating and they have reached out because they may not survive if we do not evolve the capacities they have.

Perhaps the saddest moments in the movie are when they meet our environmental experts and patiently engage with representatives of a way of knowing, science, that is an outsider’s approach to understanding life and nature. I imagine they wonder if we will all still be alive by the time younger brother gets to be on board with the urgency of the issues, yet if they wonder, they wonder respectfully, in silence, no sign of frustration or fear. One can only conclude that they accept it is our responsibility and they will endure the consequences if we fail to understand. If they are admitting the limitation of their power and their responsibility, it is a mature and loving stance that opens the way for us to take our own responsibility.

It is our challenge to understand who they are, and thus to rise to a capacity to communicate with the Kogi. Science alone will not get us there.

What is blocking the younger brothers understanding? We may understand a great deal about the problem. Scientific knowing is anyway our strength and our limitation, but the deeper question is, how can we add to all the accomplishments we have, the capacity to live on the earth with the same sensitivity and care as theirs, as if nature is our mother, and we are responsible to keep her healthy lest she die. How might we live like they do, not only knowing we are part of nature, but living inside nature, experiencing that we are nature.

It is a matter not only of science but a matter of transformation too. It is most especially a matter of transformation in our thinking. It is here where we have to enter into paradox, because our thinking is inside us, though we think about ourselves as if we are outside ourselves looking in.

How do the Kogi manage to think from inside nature as if in reality there is no outside, as if it is all inside?

We should not make the mistake of thinking that there is a way to do this that is an extension of what we already know. We should not think that the Kogi will be able to tell us how to do it, although they will certainly be able to confirm it for us if we discover the way.

We should not assume that it is only something we need to discover and put into practise. Perhaps it is the case that we are doing something already that is blocking our way, and that this is something the significance of which we have not yet seen. Perhaps the very way we think is not attuned to life.

How do we engage in the praxis of discovering unknown parts of ourselves, of freeing ourselves from unconscious adherence to habits of thought that block our sense of the innate relatedness of life, of reality? How do we engage in cultivating the capacities of thinking, knowing and being that are immediately responsive and sensitive to the insideness of life?

What does taking responsibility for a limited way of thinking look like?

We can be encouraged by the message of the Kogi, encouraged to evolve. Perhaps their message is one we are now ready for, and we can honour their sacrifice living in isolation high up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as they waited for our availability. Even were it too late to save the climate, it is not too late to discover our unrealised capacities.

Aluna is now available to view –