It was a cozy evening and I was pouring myself a glass of wine. I needed to disconnect from the daily list and “wash my brain” with some memories, so I decided to select some photos for a personal album.
…While I was reviewing the photos, I stopped over one made in Dahab Desert, Egypt:
The warmest sunbathing recall, a divine mix of blazing sands, and the endless, expansive space, filled with nothing but my imagination.
It was one of those revelations moments.
“Ha… It all makes sense now..”
I’ve felt deeply connected with desert areas every time I found myself in such a place, but I never thought why. (Well..deserts and jungles, but that is a different story.)
My first experience with desert happened in 2014, in Arizona, USA. Nevada followed up in 2016, Dahab in 2019, and then Dubai last year.
It was just like I was embraced by the warmest feeling of inspiration, in that endless space.
I felt deeply alive.
So..what was with that photo that inspired me so much and what did I realize that evening?
- First, I understood It wasn’t necessarily something about the picture, but about the moment it happened: It was a Friday evening closing a busy week. I felt mentally tired and thirsty for some time to just think. And by thinking, I mean having some mind space that I could fill with the things that I wanted to, not just with those that had to be processed due to certain circumstances.
- Second, I realized it wasn’t only about that particular evening, but about the human mind in general and the psychological effect that desert has on it.
A BRIEF STORY...
Ever since I was a kid, I felt deeply in love with life. I thought it has so much to offer: nature, art, creativity, dynamism, and endless exciting experiences for us to try. And I still feel the same today, to the point that I can’t help myself but taste everything that feeds my curiosity. I feed on understanding things, which I pursue by deconstructing them.
But then, all the curiosities that we love to pursue need space. The more they are, the more space they need to manifest and bloom.
When I found that picture of me standing in the middle of Dahab dessert, it felt like in a matter of seconds I could see most of the things that usually fit into my mind and got me excited.
..And after processing them all, I understood DESERT’S ROLE in the whole scenario:
It was that expansive, empty space that I needed to fit them all.
It was the stage for the human mind to unleash and create.
The projection of desert is a great analogy for time & space.
It’s a clean slate for one to expand, manifest, connect ideas and then create.
AS US HUMANS BECOME MORE COMPLEX, OUR MINDS AND PERSONALITIES WILL METAMORPHOSE TOO
If back in the years, the past generations could fit more easily into one of Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes, now it’s not the case anymore.
The world’s evolution has had a powerful impact on how our personalities have developed. We are more and more exposed to multiple layers of innovation, whether that innovation is in technology, art, science, or architecture. The effects of this exposure reflect today on our minds and Jung’s personality archetypes, which have suffered considerable mutations, I might add.
Describing yourself in one sentence such as “I am a 28-year-old woman experienced in marketing, who sometimes writes poetry.” has very little relevance for a standard archetype, for it represents just a slice of the pie.
The world we live in has changed, and we adapted to it. People have become more complex than ever before.
DESERT in correlation with the above thesis is a metaphor that enhances the CONTRAST of how the HUMAN MIND has evolved in the past years:
Here are some analogies that will answer the question.
1. THE EXPANSIVE DESERT SPACE COMFORTS THE BUSY MIND
It’s literally the perfect analogy for less is more. Less crowd, more space for your thoughts. Picture your mind in a crowded city, then picture it in the desert.
Press the + BUTTON in the right corner of the below scheme, to see the full FLOW.
2. THE ILLUSION OF HAVING MORE TIME IS MIRRORED BY THE STILLNESS OF THE SPACE.
Even though time is passing in the desert just as fast as it does in a crowded city, the dynamism and the speed which move things in a city have a powerful effect on our minds. It makes us more productive indeed through the pace-setting, but it also enhances anxiety due to the fact that multiple options and speed amplify the fear of missing out.
On the other side of the rope, the desert enhances the feeling of calm and peace, which for an agitated mind can be truly therapeutic.
It’s the broken window theory that confirms that “The environment frames both human behavior and our minds.”
3. EVERYTHING IT’S WILD & RAW IN THE DESERT AND IT ENCOURAGES YOU TO BE THE SAME
The whole setup is raw: the weeds, the wind, the rocks, the fauna. Everything is naked and it encourages you to be the same:
Undressed by misconceptions, fears, or boundaries.
Freedom to express the most exhilarating, profound, and authentic version of yourself.
4. THE WARMTH AND THE SUN REFLECTS OPTIMISM AND GROWTH
It’s not uncommon that warmth and light have been associated with positive aspects of life ever since the beginning of humanity:
- The fire fed the cavemen and kept them warm.
- Whether we tend to look for sunny beaches or mountain peaks to relax, the common layer for both options is we always check on the weather to make sure we’re gonna enjoy a few sunny days.
- Even if we love snow, we have to admit, it’s so much watching it near a fireplace. And light – well, light is abundance and growth. Nature blooms through photosynthesis while people pay a considerably bigger price for apartments that have a side that isn’t obstructing natural light.
It’s natural that a place with light and warmth will make us feel good.
To wrap it all up, the psychological effect that the desert has on the human mind is highly therapeutic for it gives it the space needed to deal with all the creative chaos that is shaken on the inside.
Until next time, cheers!