Bruce Parry on how the loving revolution starts with ourselves


This week The Alternative UK attended a talk with filmmaker and explorer Bruce Parry in conversation with journalist Jessie Brinton  at 42 acres in Shoreditch. The conversation revolved around Bruce's journey to make his upcoming film TAWAI: A Voice From the Forest, the lessons he learned while living with the indigenous communities portrayed in the film and what he believes we can all learn from the lifestyles and values of these people. 

Bruce wants to help start what he calls a loving revolution. He believes that inside each of us is a potential revolutionary - but first we need to come to a deeper understanding of our own role in what we resist about the current state of the world.

In the film, Bruce begins with inviting us to reflect upon ourselves and - before we start pointing fingers and without beating ourselves up about it - softly acknowledge that we are a part of the problem. It's an invitation he extends to himself. In fact, he says "the film is most of all a shout-out to myself". 

Through this process and and then learning about another way of being and living in the world, other ways of constructing society, he believes we will start to see how we can all be a part of the solution. 

Bruce found his inspiration for these "other ways" from meeting The Penan, a nomadic hunter-gatherer group in South East Asia. The Penan see themselves as anarchists - they have no leader or hierarchy. Their identity lies wholly in the community. Bruce feels certain, that if you took any one person from the community aside and asked - what your deepest desire? what do you want for the future? - they will all give you the same answer. Because they see themselves as a collective and more importantly, as a collective of humans amongst all the other species in a landscape that they believe will hold them forever. When they get old they will be supported by their community and when they die they will go into the earth and become the fruit that feeds the next generation and be celebrated as the ancestors that live on forever. They simply don’t have the an individual drive to be famous, remembered and celebrated for their achievements. 

Bruce admits that this could change as The Penan expose themselves more to the outside world and find themselves adapting to our way of living. Even so, he believes there is something for us to learn from their current way of living and their relationship with each other and with nature. Anarchy often has negative connotations in our society, but Bruce thinks that is the view of a society that tends to see humans in a negative way, requiring strong government to stop them from tearing each other apart. But anarchy also implies the absolute freedom of individuals and groups to take action, often in the face of failed authority.

So if we begin to accept that we are part of the problem, we must also accept responsibility for responding, and creating solutions - something more and more people are doing, as reported in our Daily Alternative.

We end with a few words on the film:

Tawai is the word the nomadic hunter gatherers of Borneo use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature. In this dreamy, philosophical and sociological look at life, explorer Bruce Parry travels the world to learn from people living lives very different to our own. From the jungles of Malaysia to the tributaries of the Amazon, TAWAI is a quest for reconnection, providing a powerful voice from the heart of the forest itself.’

Watch the trailer below. Info on upcoming screenings can be found here.