The Problem of Modern Innovation
One of the biggest setbacks of modernity is the curtailing of people’s natural drives via innovation. Look at young kittens, wolves, deer–young animals have a greater amount of energy. It’s usually coupled with stupidity which, in animals, can be cute. In humans it can be distressingly harmful. Our adolescence takes longer than most animals, and has higher stakes. Yet for the majority of our youth, we have increased appetites and energies that are not being put to use.
Video games are no match for the real thing. Digital reality has steadily augmented our natural behaviors. Breakdowns aren’t just likely, they’re to be expected. Put two otherwise friendly felines in a box long enough, eventually they’ll be at one another’s throats. Do the same thing to thousands of human beings caged in a metropolitan box, it’s easy to see why things like violent crime exist. But there is a trend in such activities.
For example, approximately one in four violent victimizations of a serious nature are committed by juveniles. That statistic is measured over the last twenty-five years, and it has remained fairly constant. Why is there so much violence in a society where everyone has everything? The better question is: how can everyone have everything if they have no outlet for their energies? If there isn’t violent crime, things like obesity and addiction are there to fill the void among youth on a regular basis. It’s getting to the point where a regular upbringing without one of these things is the exception rather than the norm.
Outdoor adventure for struggling young adults is one of the best ways to simultaneously employ an outlet for excess energy, and inculcate a larger-world perspective that helps young adults cope. Outdoor adventure for struggling young adults often incorporates situations that require critical thought, but are desirable. Consider rafting down a river of white-water rapids. Exhilaration combines with attentiveness–not paying attention could be painful! On the other side of that coin are activities like hiking, biking, climbing or horse-back riding. There isn’t a lot of danger involved, but there’s just enough to bring on excitement and help expel unnecessary energy; help funnel it into something useful.
Outdoor adventure for struggling young adults can also help them learn useful life lessons which will come in handy later. There are precious few true outdoorsmen in modernity. Reliable engineering usually stipulates the fewest necessary moving parts. Outdoor adventure for struggling young adults as a form of treatment is kind of like therapeutic engineering in its most simple form. Furthermore, it saddles youth with skills that have perpetual value. Learning to survive in the outdoors as a means of curtailing at-risk behavior provides a two-for-one advantage: at-risk youth cease their bad behavior, and pick up a new skill at the same time.
The last thing to think about when looking at a therapeutic program that features outdoor adventure as a means of treatment is individual concentration. The program should tailor its activities and treatment to the individual as much as is reasonably possible. Everyone is different, and no two outdoor activities are going to affect a person the same way. So find a program willing to work with people on a one-to-one basis.