TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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What is it about the desert?

It seems to me the desert is rather a special place. For example, I often think about the fact that most of the world's great religions, vastly influential systems, were born in the desert, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and I don't think it's an accident. I remember too when I was eighteen I was invited to apply to Deep Springs College, possibly the most unique college in the world (you can read about it on the web at http://www.deepsprings.edu/home), and it is also in the desert. I wonder what it is about the desert that has this influence?


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    Jul 23 2013: It is a beautiful thing, the desert. It reminds me of the book by a French author "The little prince". Such a good book set in a desert.

    “What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well...”
    ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
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      Jul 23 2013: But does it work in reverse, Son, is what makes a well beautiful that somewhere it hides a desert? To me it doesn't seem so.
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        Jul 23 2013: Well I don't get why you want to reverse it but nevermind, it can be "what makes a well beautiful is that it is hidden somewhere in the desert."
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          Jul 23 2013: It seemed Son like you were saying the desert itself isn't beautiful, only the well that it hides. And I was thinking that we could see some beauty in the desert itself, but you're right, water is essential to any place, we know that the plants and animals in the desert are very good at making do on very little water.

          How did you end up in Switzerland, are there any deserts there, or does the desert interest you?
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        Jul 24 2013: Oh I think you have misunderstood. I was just saying that your conversation reminds me of my favourite book, and that quote is a link.

        For me desert is captivating in its vastness, in its changing shape and forms and the great dunes of sand. And also the tranquillity at night, only the sand and the sky full of stars. The quote from "The little prince" is just uses a metaphor to imply that the desert is beautiful because of something invisible to the eyes, but you can feel it with your heart.

        The desert itself is beautiful indeed. http://www.brettwestonarchive.com/images/dune-0

        Here in Switzerland there is no desert. Only mountains, grass and lake (: but they have their own beauty too.

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