As the sun is setting among the sandy dunes of the Negev, we sit in silence and reflect. To many, the silence strikes them. A refreshing reminder of the human condition before the mind and body was polluted with constant connectivity to the superficial. An existence that requires the innate adaptive mechanisms your body has been fine tuning for millennia.
Others feel a stronger desire to conquest this ecosystem that has challenged their ancestors for forty years. They tap into the spirit of Ben Gurion, a known advocate of development and opportunity in the Negev, who thought that “as man gains mastery over nature, he gains it over himself.”
This poses a contradiction, as it suggests an inherent divide between man and nature, but also an inherent connection. If man conquers one thing, and in doing so, simultaneously conquers another, are those two not the same entity?
Sitting in the Negev robs you of your arbitrary demarcations between man and nature. Your food supply is the same as the salamanders; your water supply is more scarce than the desert rhubarbs; your protection from the heat is as weak as the last layer of sunscreen you applied, and your protection from the sun is as measly as your carefully purchased white hat from your University’s Bookstore, now stained with rust coloured sand.
You are the desert. The desert is you.