The Broken Rules Of Our Modern World, A Brief Manifesto

Modern life, with its rules and material rewards, has robbed people of the most basic sense of happiness. What do we have to lose by ridding ourselves of so many imposed ideas?

Hanging on in Bogota
Hanging on in Bogota
Fernando Aráujo Vélez


BOGOTA — Let's face it, all is lost. Though perhaps we could recover something today, if only we could understand that everything is, well, all but lost.

We might win a little something back if we could understand and convey to others that humanity has failed, that the thousands of manuals we created and all the blood and fire were just to safeguard our privileges, or the privileges of some. We might save something if we realize we have been ruined for allowing our lives to be filled with instructions and impositions, and that in allowing this we have created our current predicament — an era dominated by lies: about homelands and democracy, religion, money, public office and rewards.

Or maybe we could redeem ourselves if we could see what really matters in life and understand that having ideals doesn't make us silly or naive. We should understand that two dreamers can generally attain a great dream, but that two materialists can only create more stuff, so familiar to us all.

We could salvage something if we could rescue the little things, if instead of accumulating accounts, numbers and diplomas, we start accumulating sensations and admit that a kiss, a gaze, a smile and a few short silences are worth more than bills, notes and four-by-fours. If we understand that feeling and living are one thing, and boasting, quite another.

What we can choose

Or if we could descend from our pedestal, stop judging others and their work, and understand that there is no better or worse, just different. Or look at ourselves in the mirror and become naked to ourselves, and there, without witnesses, affirm the little things about ourselves we find embarassing, destroy some of our prejudices and convince ourselves that everything can change.

We should understand that because we did not choose to be born at this particular time, we are somehow entitled to contravene the laws and norms imposed by others. Like that character in a novel who formally renounced humanity before the United Nations.

We could save a little of what's left if we decide we'd rather love and fight than cling to power. We're always doing something, are we not? Creating, building, tolerating, risking and always playing to win? We could accept and even come to love what makes us different, and see that fashions are an assault on these differences, and on authenticity. Extreme friendliness is an extreme disguise, and differences are what save us from the alienation that the media and a few tycoons are imposing on us.

Something may still be saved if we assume that to feel is not a weakness. Humankind is ultimately far more of a struggle with loneliness and joy, happiness and love, pain and anguish, our urges and passion — than with politics, nations, borders, cars, football and business.

We may surely save something of this great wreck if we decide to rid ourselves of so many defensive layers, which instead of protecting us, have become our heaving armor of formulas and fear.

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Texas In Germany? Saxony Mixes Anti-Vaxxers And Far-Right Politics

When it comes to vaccination rates, there are striking parallels between Germany and the United States. The states with the most opposition to vaccines differ politically from those with the highest vaccination rates. Now the consequences for booster shots are starting to become visible, especially in the United States.

A protest in Saxony last year against COVID-19 restrictions

Zentralbild/dpa via ZUMA
Daniel Friedrich Sturm


WASHINGTON — Ok, so Saxony was singled out last week in a New York Times article as an example of the disastrous vaccination situation in parts of Europe. The article talks about the link between anti-vaxxers and the political success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern German state.

In a sense, Saxony is Germany's Texas. For instance, 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated, but in strictly Republican Texas, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, this figure stands at 54%.

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