Yana Phuyu

In the Andes Mountains, when people look at the night sky, many see shapes not in the stars, but in the dark spaces between the stars. These spots are known as "yana phuyu" or dark clouds and have their origin in the Inca culture. They represent the exact opposite of Western astronomy. Same stars, vastly different perceptions. For my entire life, I've been blind to this possibility. Despite priding myself as being open-minded and creative, it never occurred to me—or perhaps you—to focus deeply on the spaces between the stars. What else are we missing? Where else do our preconceptions, culture, communities, beliefs, and habits cause us to completely ignore what others see so clearly? This question disturbs me greatly, as I hope it does you. Inattention and habit blind us to the obvious. Does this mean all hope is lost? Of course not. But at the very least it should remind us that we all miss more than we notice. All of us, even you.