So much that is critical to culture is never spoken about in safety. Safety is so noisy about zero ideology, whilst people voluntarily harm themselves under cultural pressures. Yet, you will never read about the importance of embodiment in relation to culture anywhere across the globe in safety. The dualist brain-centric industry of safety understands the body as a problem that gets in the way of safety. The worldview of safety is primarily a dis-embodied worldview of personhood.
Yet, so much of culture is mediated through the body. Merleau-Ponty describes the body as a medium through which we encounter other humans. After all, we have to live with our bodies, so why not practise acceptance? Why reject the body as just a carrier for a brain?
Let’s have a look at how embodiment is central to understanding culture.
The human body is often the canvas that cultures use to express values, unconscious beliefs, religiosity, symbolism, artefacts and myths. Most of these cultural expressions in using the body involve some form of harm. When it comes to the human body and culture we delight and invite harm. Let’s have a look at a few examples:
Tattoos and Scaring
Tattoos and body scaring have been used for centuries across all civilizations (read Collective Unconscious) and societies for initiation, belonging, religious belief, mythology, symbolic and moral meaning and as bodily artefacts of culture.
A semiotic exploration of the history and culture of tattoos is instructive (https://research.library.mun.ca/13443/1/Martin_ChrisWilliam_doctoral.pdf ). Body art and body markings go back as far as recorded history and are best understood semiotically. Indeed, one can only really understand culture through a semiotic, religious, mythological and embodied worldview. An engineering or scientism worldview can never help cultural understanding.
What we learn from tattooing and scaring is that cultural identity, collective unconscious, religious belief, moral belonging and mythology override any concern of harm. Imagine taking your western nonsense ideology of zero harm to a country of first nations people in Canada or Australia and preaching the nonsense ideology of zero!
Body Sculpting and Augmentation
In opposition to Indigenous body markings in Western cultures the use of steroids, substances and surgery for body augmentation is at amazing proportions.
So many people flock to the surgeon to re configure every part of their body because of cultural pressure. Many even go for surgery in third world countries for cheap surgery and the trail of harm is astounding. Such is the pressure to manufacture belonging and cultural identity artificially. None of this is cheap either. How interesting that so many people are willing to put silicon, plastics and all sorts of objects and substances into their bodies and all as a process of cultural self-harm. If you want to learn more about regenesis (http://www.regenesiscosmeticsurgery.com.au/ ), strap yourself in for a journey in self harm.
Imagine what the nonsense of zero ideology sounds like to anyone who is prepared to harm their body under the various cultural pressures to belong, change appearance and inject substances.
One of the most profound ways of manufacturing harm in Western society is observed in eating disorders. As a result of cultural trends, many people suffer the results of eating disorders, including obesity as a result of cultural comforts provided by sugars, alcohol and fast foods. None of this is marketed as harmful and most of the sugars, alcohol and fast foods are linked to happiness, fun and pleasure.
Just imagine what zero ideology sounds to a person suffering an eating disorder?
Religious Rites and Rituals
Religions, cults and religious mythology has always used the body to mediate theological practice. The most common forms of harm are: circumcision, various forms of mutilation and veiling the body. Such forms of harm are not an option but are considered a cultural necessity, initiation or rite of passage for religious observance.
Other forms of harm occur in sex change and accompanying substance use, physiognomy and eugenic practices, dehumanisation with sex dolls and various forms of Phrenology.
One of the most profound influences on the demonization of the body has been Augustine and Descartes. It is from these that we get this crazy idea of brain-centrism in safety. Interestingly, the dualist nature of safety that prioritizes the brain over the body, manufactures the demonization of the body as the enemy of safety. Every time safety-as–zero counts an injury it declares the body as the enemy and the brain as the solution.
Stress, Distress and PTSI
We all should know the four forms of stress: stress, eustress, distress and stress. It is in eustress and distress that the greatest harm to the body is experienced. Interestingly, it is in holistic therapies that the greatest help comes from people who are experiencing PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Injury).
Whilst Safety runs about spruiking the nonsense ideology of zeron the real world is suffering an epidemic in stress (https://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/stress-health-epidemic-21st-century/ ). Zero harm indeed.
Then of course there is the growing rate of suicide particularly with young men aged 18-44. Or we could also engage in understanding the problem of heartache. Of course, in safety, the heart is just an organ that pumps blood and the gut an organ that digest food. We know of course that this is nonsense:
One in 20 Australians harm themselves with substances, one in 6 do so with alcohol. Then there are numerous medications for mental health issues and also self-medication for all nature of self-diagnosed problems, essentially as a way of coping with life. The nature of somatised depression and anxiety is extra ordinary (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4221083/). AS Van der Kolk explains so well: The Body Keeps the Score. When trauma and distress are experienced as a result of lifestyle, how strange that we seek healing in self harm?
Then if you do get sick particularly with cancer or similar, we then go deeper into the chemical toxification of the body to find wellness again. Even the way we talk about wellness, illness and disease is socially psychologically constructed to make all of this palatable and morally good (Radley: The Body and Social Psychology; Making Sense of Illness, The Social Psychology of Health and Disease).
Of course, Safety makes no mention of embodiment as a way of understanding human ‘being’ and culture, nor how the body serves as a canvas for cultural belief. There is no mention in safety of the intercorporeality or interaffectivity of culture or how persons and groups are ‘enculturated’ through embodiment. This is how behaviourism and scientism rob safety of any mature sense of cultural understanding. This is why the changing of systems often develops toxic cultures in the name of good.
Goodness me, Safety doesn’t even ask questions about any of the complexities of culture because it has so defined it as behaviours and systems. So once the definition enables a simplistic definition, all that is culture can run under the radar so that nothing changes in Safety. Then of course there is zero, the single most toxic symbol, principle and irrational cult-ural poison in the safety world. In the face of the embodiment of culture, how silly does this ideology appear?
What does such an ideology (of zero) tell people culturally? Bodies are bad, any harm is bad, only zero harm is good. Such a culture manufactured by zero demonises persons and sets a course for unethical practice and cultic observance.