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The Power of the Fish


The Power of the Fish

If it is true that life on Earth evolved from the sea to the land, the ability of a fish to breathe underwater should be less surprising than that of mammals to breathe on land.

However, from the human perspective, it is rather the fish, along with other creatures of the sea, that performs the true miracle. Separated by the water’s surface, the inhabitants of the water and those on land are leading very different lives, and only few have the ability to thrive in both.

Fully adapted to their underwater environment, fish have a streamlined body and propel themselves forward with fins instead of arms and legs. Most fishes make use of their natural surroundings in the way they find them without ever feeling the impulse to make structural changes. And from what we know, no complex language has been developed between them that would enable fish to exchange much information. Yes, unlike humans, fish are content to share the bond of silence.

In other words: The difference between fish and humans could not be any greater. And yet, our existence has been entwined on many levels for thousands of years. For one thing, fish has been a staple food for humans from the beginning. Even before the first boats were built, humans copied the behavior of wild animals in catching fish from rivers, lakes, and the sea. An abundance of fish meant an abundance of food for the family.

Early Christians took the koine Greek word for ‘fish’, 'ichthys' [ΙΧΘΥΣ], and created an acrostic and hand-drawn symbol to indicate their shared belief during times of persecution. One person drew an arc in the sand and the other prompted by adding the other half to complete the ichthys. The fact that fish do not speak may have added to the appeal of this symbol. To the fish itself, its silence might just be its biggest disadvantage, especially in its contact with humans.

While fish may adapt to the environment they are in, they lack the means and the “voice” to fight for their rights when their natural habitat is at risk from our human activities. Drilling the sea floor for oil, leaving fishing nets and other plastics in the ocean, and hunting fish on an industrial scale, endanger an ecosystem that has existed long before ours and one that we possibly cannot not live without. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if fish had a voice to speak out for themselves?

It seems we can learn two things in this context: First: Even voiceless creatures can say a lot about our human existence. Second: Don’t be a fish. Say what needs to be said, because we are all better off that way. In crossXculture language courses we provide you with the tools you need to express yourself and to help shape a world that is alive with brilliant ideas.

Thank you for supporting us in supporting you better.

cXc | crossXculture Team

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