In 2006, Wired Magazine published an article entitled “What Kind of Genius Are you?” The article highlights the work of economist David Galenson (currently a professor at the University of Chicago). Galenson is famous for postulating that artists fall into two classes: Conceptualists and Experimentalists. Conceptualists innovate radically, rapidly, and usually at early ages. The Wired article calls Picasso the archetype of Conceptual Innovation. Picasso upended modern art by inventing Cubism in his early 20’s.
One of the main tenets of outdoor survivorship is that it is essential to observe your environment. Closely. But observation is only half of the required skill. The other half is an unbiased interpretation of the data you are being given.
Wilderness mishaps and death stories are filled with cautionary tales of people who blindly ignored obvious signs of risk and danger. And, when I say blindly, I mean they made the types of decisions that cause people – those safely listening in their armchairs and far from the buggy, evening woods – to gasp, agog, and say, “What were they thinking?”