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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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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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