Does Safety Have A Soul?
In Chapter 1 of my latest book Envisioning Risk, Seeing, Vision and Meaning in Risk , I discuss the linguistics of ‘soul’ in art, music and movies. In the top 500 songs of all time we find endless reference to spirit, transcendence, Afterlife, soul and the unconscious. Most of these references to soul and spirit in music are connected to the ability to see and envision something others cannot see. You can download Chapter 1 for free here: https://safetyrisk.net/free-download-envisioning-risk-seeing-vision-and-meaning-in-risk/
We accept the metaphor of the soul in music just as much as we accept all the metaphors associated with love in text. We know from recent research that 70% of all pop music uses metaphor as the primary source of figurative language (https://neurosciencenews.com/language-music-love-songs-17719/). We also know that we cannot speak or write without invoking conceptual metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By https://nyshalong.com/public/archive/20150131/20150131_ref.pdf) We would do well in risk and safety to be far more sensitive to metaphor in the way we speak to people.
What we profess (https://safetyrisk.net/what-you-profess-in-safety/) and the way we profess it (https://safetyrisk.net/linguistics-and-risk/ ; https://safetyrisk.net/talking-zero-nonsense-to-people/; https://safetyrisk.net/the-medium-is-the-message/) matter for the creation of meaning and identity. In Art, Literature, Music, Song and Movies (Poetics) we accept without question all forms of metaphysical, non-measurable concepts as essential for expressing meaning about life, love and loss. When it comes to love, life and loss, we turn to Poetics (https://safetyrisk.net/a-poetics-of-safety/) not Safety, to explain the mysteries of fallibility-transcendence in suffering and love.
Envisioning is about a way of seeing that accepts the ‘Poetic Imagination’. Envisioning is a form of perception that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) doesn’t understand. Yet, look at how STEM tackles the mysteries of fallibility, myth and suffering and it is flooded with metaphor of transcendence and metaphysics that is doesn’t know it uses. This is why Safety tries to turn to the wicked problem of risk (https://safetyrisk.net/risk-and-safety-as-a-wicked-problem/ ) and ends up in the language of zero, infallibilities and heroics.
The Poetic Mind knows that when things go wrong, the last thing a fallible person wants to hear is: statistics, numerics, metrics and blame. The Poetic Mind knows that objects don’t matter and that persons do. The Poetic Mind knows that a verse of a song can touch the human heart with what she needs most (https://safetyrisk.net/sexual-harassment-and-safety-cosmetics/ ). The Poetic Mind knows that the last word ever used to describe love is ‘duty’. Breaching the Act and Regulation is an irrelevance to a person who has been harmed.
Of course, the language of the ‘soul’ is unique to Poetics. The language of the ‘soul’ connects the emotional mysteries of fallibility with the need for comfort, belonging, trust and care. There is nothing more alien to the ‘Poetics of the Soul’ than the stasis of zero. There can be no envisioning in zero. Zero dulls all perception under the command to count. If we want to connect to people who live each day in the realities of tackling risk, we need to know a Poetics of Safety (https://safetyrisk.net/a-poetics-of-safety/ ).
The ideology of zero doesn’t know how to connect to people. It doesn’t ‘care’ or ‘help’ people, it’s only goal and language is a number. When things go wrong in tackling risk, people step outside of the safety industry to find comfort in professions that help and care.