Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Imperative to Guide Youth at Transition

I am very moved by this quote, so share it here: “Like land birds instinctively setting out on transoceanic migration, given assurance, so to speak, from the experience of the species that there is land on the other side, the human adolescent organism reenters the dangerous ground of immature perception on the premise that society is prepared to meet his psychic demands for a new landing –that is, that society is organized to take these refractory youths through a powerful, tightly structured gestation; to test, teach, reveal; to offer as Erikson says, things worthy of their skill; to tutor their suffering and dreaming; and to guide their feelings of fidelity. If the infancy to which they look for an exemplary protocol of growth has been blighted, or if the adult group is not prepared to administer the new and final birth, then the youths create autistic solutions to their own needs and, prolonging the quest of their adolescence, sink finally, cynically, back into their own incompetent immaturity, like exhausted birds going down at sea.” -Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness (p. 65-66).