What can camels teach us about fundamental truths?

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What can camels teach us about our deeply held assumptions?

This may seem like a tangential statement, but bear with us, by the end of this article we will have shed some light on how things we think are “fundamental” may not be so accurate.

Have you ever thought to yourself “where do camels come from?” Probably not, the answer is obvious: the dessert! So, what if I told you that these quintessential creatures of the desert may have gotten their start somewhere you’d least expect them?

Image: Riding camels at sunset
Source: Riad Ouzine

In this hilarious TED Talk, Latif Nasser, of one of our favorite podcasts, Radiolab, explains the peculiar origins of this odd creature and along the way reminds us that sometimes how we know what we know may not sit on steady footing…

Via: TED 1

I love that talk for a few reasons. It reminds me that sometimes the tiniest discoveries can change our worldview dramatically.

While these moments are not always as earth-shattering as the origins of the camel, it is important to remember that what we believe may be overturned in an instant.

Much of our lives, the way we act, the way we interact, the way we walk through the world, relies heavily on countless assumptions, along with stories that we have collected and taken on as fundamental truths.

How would our lives change if we operated from a place of open skepticism instead of steadfast opinion?

Image: Camels in the snow

Would we ask better questions?

Would we interact with people more openly?

Some of history’s most groundbreaking discoveries have grown from thinkers who questioned “facts” society took to be “true.”

Perhaps, if we can learn anything from a camel, it’s that maybe the world is almost never as steadfastly black and white as we’d like it to be, and we can celebrate the wonder of losing a long held belief!

As the amazing Ben Zander  loves to say (in one of our User Favorite articles), “How fascinating!”


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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV