Fallibility and Risk – Book Seven Free Download
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Please note: If you find the academic level of the book a bit challenging then it may be best to read the first book Risk Makes Sense.
What the book is about.
In order to understand what the book is about I have attached the Foreword to the book by Robert Sams Author of Social Sensemaking, A Reflective Journal; how we make sense of risk:
Like it or not, I was once a ‘Crusader’. I lived a life dedicated to ‘saving’ people; from themselves, from others, from ‘things’. Who else could perform such a critical role? After all I was a Safety Manager, and with that, a bastion of all knowledge about risk. I even had a consulting business named Dolphin Safety Solutions.
I’d put some thought into this name as dolphins were something special to me; they are great communicators, they travel together and look out for each other and they are known for their intelligence. But what did I really understand of intelligence?
While intelligence is great, if we don’t understand our ontology (reason for being) or how we ‘know’ (epistemology), we can easily be deceived into thinking that such knowing will lead us to a happy, fulfilling and rewarding life.
Our modern world seems to place a special value on intelligence. However, if the only reason for knowing is to be the ‘smartest person in the room’, that to me indicates a life of ‘I’ rather than ‘thou’ (Buber). A tension that we all must live with if we are to be fallible beings in this world?
Welcome to Fallibility and Risk, a book not for the feint hearted, but one that just may challenge you enough to push you into ‘cognitive dissonance’.
This is a book about life and also about death, about risk and also security. This book may provide some answers, but maybe raise many more questions. This I’ve learnt, is the very nature of our ‘being’; it’s paradoxical, where seemingly things that should not co-exist, do. As we aim to make some sense of all this, we also realise that such sense may seem absurd. Yet we still seek to know our ‘being’.
The book is the latest in a series of books on risking, living and discerning. All ‘doing’ words, and things we all ought to do if our aim is to ‘be’ in this world. Yet doing such things and experiencing life also means that we must live with uncertainty and unknowing. The alternative is to be safe and secure.
However, as I’ve learnt over the past five years, Risk cannot be ‘solved’ or ‘ fixed’, rather, it defines our living and being. What a challenge to understand fallible being; especially if we believe life is about answers, rather than questions.
So, what can you expect as you venture through a book written by someone who seeks to help us understand; ourselves, our world and what it does to us?
To start, you’ll read about thinkers such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger; they weren’t among the recommended authors when I studied ‘solutions’. You’ll also hear stories of risk through movies, such as Indiana Jones; not from the perspective of some Risk Matrix or control, but rather ‘exegesis’, religious symbology and myth. I don’t recall learning about any of these in my undergrad degree in objects; yet, they are so critical if our aim is to tackle, rather than eliminate risk.
We also learn about hope, faith and importantly fallibility in this book.
These were not words that I considered in 2012, when I started my consulting organisation focused on ‘solutions’.
Not long after I started consulting in ‘solutions’, I started my own spiral into cognitive dissonance. is began after reading Risk Makes Sense. It’s also the year that I met Rob Long.
Rob is no hero of mine, nor is he a superhero at large. Rather, he is a teacher, mentor and friend. He was the instigator of a learning adventure, one that would change my life in a way that I could never have imagined, rather only experience.
For example, it was in Austria in January 2017, as my dear friend Gab Carlton and I took comfort from the snow and freezing conditions outside, that I first heard the term ‘perichoresis’ in a casual conversation. It was in the relative comfort of a restaurant in Linz ironically the hometown of Hitler, that I learned about the paradox of legs broken while at the same time carrying demonstrated in the mythology of the kriophoros. Time again, I have experienced being carried, where the pain is shared. Yet I did not realise, nor fully appreciate, how critical this was for learning, growing and developing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still regularly seduced to the ‘crusade’, it’s hard to avoid in our world of hero’s, answers and ‘solutions’. However, now as I struggle through life, I can recognise the cues when crusading prevails. I’m grateful for that, which is not to say that it does not continue to challenge me. Such is ‘living’ in the dialectic!
As I try to make sense of all this, I now feel some comfort in not knowing, instead my focus these days is on contemplating and reflecting with a new intelligence.
Reflection did not occur when I was caught up in process, saving and protecting! Crusaders need not reflect, for they already know everything! Thankfully though, reflecting is now a daily ritual.
When Rob first sent me a draft of this book, I initially noticed some mistakes; in spelling and in grammar. Isn’t it interesting what takes our attention if our focus is on saving and fixing? However, as I reflected on what the book was saying to me, and on the questions that it asked me, these trivial details drifted away and I opened myself to learning; rather than policing. It was quite liberating, while also a cause for some anxiety.
Maybe this will be the same for you?
Learning is not always easy, it’s about change after all. One thing I’ve learned about learning though, is the importance of ‘readiness’. Are you ready for what is offered in this book?
When I first read Risk Makes Sense, I thought that I ‘got it’. Then, I was confronted with what I thought I knew, and recognised that being the ‘smartest person in the room’ with the answers, was actually part of a bigger problem, not a solution. This was such an important learning for someone intent on ‘saving’. I now value questions, rather than answers.
This means that instead of fearing death, fallibility and harm (all of which have no answers), I now aim to embrace life, with all of its ups and downs and bits in between. Instead of saving others and seeing them as objects, I now see and connect with people, because after all, as Martin Buber (1958) suggests; “All real living is meeting”.
I learned a lot from reading, and questioning this book. I hope you do too.
Download the book here: https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/
Advanced Notice Workshops Canada and Europe May/June
Dr Long, Robert Sams and Gabrielle Carlton are booked to be in Calgary Alberta Canada in 7-11 May 2018 and in Finland Europe 25 June to 4 July 2018. As we are currently booked for dedicated clients during this time we are considering running additional public workshops.
If you live in Europe or Canada and would like to hear more about the Social Psychology of Risk then register your interest and we will organize some public workshops. The public workshops on offer would be the Introduction to the Social Psychology of Risk Workshop Unit One. We will only be offerring public workshops based on demand.
If you would be interested in knowing more about this proposal you can register here: firstname.lastname@example.org and depending on registration numbers we will conduct those workshops and notify details by email.
Do you Really Want a Culture of Compliance?
Catching a plane for some is like catching a bus for others. When flying there are many rules to which one ought to comply. ‘Switch all phones into flight mode’ says the attendant. This is the third such announcement. This command is interpreted by some as a request and by others as ‘cabin noise’.
When you fly every week as I do, you see many people, particularly those in high powered occupations not comply. You can tell that the busy CEO has much more important things to juggle in their hectic schedule than compliance. Then when they land to speak at their designated conference appearance will spruik zero harm in the theatre of executive compliance called Safety.
The game of ‘double speak’ is the sport of non-leadership. Don’t do as I do just do as I say, is the disingenuous character of the zero ideological game. Perfection rarely ends out that well for fallible people.
I often get contacts from people wanting presentations asking. ‘Do you do anything on compliance?’ ‘Rob, we want to develop a culture of compliance’ they will say. ‘No you don’t’ I reply. ‘Have you considered the trade-offs and by-products of a compliance culture?’ ‘Do you want creative, innovative, adaptive thinking people in your business, or just sausages?’ I ask. The conversation usually ends quickly after that. Compliance culture doesn’t want any critical thinking or questioning.
The nature of tackling risk is being able to adapt to change to context for a safe outcome. However, it seems in Safety that blind obedience is gold. Whilst rules are important and procedures valuable, adaptability and learning are equally as important. In the midst of a turbulent, volatile and unpredictable world, the last thing we need is blindly obedient sausages. In the real world boundaries move in moments and blind rule following can kill people.
So, here is the challenge. All rule making seeks to set an absolute in place for humans who interpret rules subjectively. Hence why we need courts to work out whose subjectivity is authoritative.
Research in social psychology shows that compliance can be influenced by the presence of others, the way a problem or rule is posed, by the presence of guilt, restriction in choice, moral complexity or ideological conflict. Compliance is not straight forward, even ego overrides the want for compliance in conflict for self interest. Similarly, various pressures in altruism show that compliance is not always right or judicious. Take whistleblowers for example. Most whistle blowing is moral declaration against unethical practice that delivers a brutal cost for the whistleblower but a benefit for the social many. Corruption in high places is always clouded in a culture of compliance so that whistleblowing is so painful it won’t be made. There is no cheap or easy outcome in the #meetoo saga. For example, there is no cheap cost for speaking out against institutions and staff that sexually abused children.
The enemy of the wish for compliance culture is deconstructionist critical thinking. Some very simple questions need to be asked against the ideology of blind compliance, these are:
• What is the trajectory of this policy or action?
• Where will this take us?
• Who has the power, and how is it being used?
• Where is the power and who loses by such use of power?
• What moral and ethical trade offs will be made to enact this?
• Who benefits the most, who is the biggest loser?
• What is hidden here, what do those with power not want to be seen?
• What are the likely by-products of this policy or actions?
• Will people be further dehumanised by this policy or action?
• Can one be fully compliant but still at high risk and unsafe?
• Does compliance culture suppress risk appetite?
Silence is the dear of compliance. Even if you disagree your silence is as good as agreement. Silence is understood as complicity. For the corrupt, silence is obedience and conformity. Please no critical questions, it will disturb our compliance culture.
Unfortunately there is no safety in non-compliance and in the industry of safety, compliance is gold. The last thing Safety wants is deconstructionist critical thinking. All is safe in agreement, all is safe when we pat each one on the back, please don’t ask an interrogative question, that will make you a trouble-maker.
To learn more about blind compliance and obedience you might like to watch the Milgram Experiments:
Compliance, Obedience and The Attraction of Risk
Most people know of the experiments of Stanley Milgram back in the 1960s and 1970s. Milgram’s book Obedience to Authority (1974) is a rare find these days but I did manage to get a copy a few years ago. A picture is attached from his famous obedience experiments. Milgram is one of the most known social psychologists of our time and like number of other researchers had direct connection to the atrocities of The Holocaust.
Milgram’s famous experiment engaged everyday people to administer lethal electric shocks to others simply because they were asked to do so by a person in authority (the experiment did not administer real shocks but was set up with actors). You can see a repeat of this famous experiment conducted more recently by Derren Brown here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6GxIuljT3w)
Other researchers such as Adorno, Frankel-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford (The Authoritarian Personality 1950) also wanted to explain why good people do bad things. Later Zimbardo (The Lucifer Effect 1974) and other social psychologists undertook experiments (eg. The Stanford Experiment) to show that we are all capable of similar attitudes and behaviours. A cursory glance at Facebook in response to the 60 Minutes story on Muslims in Australia this week demonstrates that similar xenophobia (as was exhibited by the Nazis) is thriving in social media space.
How is this all relevant to risk?
The study of Social Psychology seeks to understand how social arrangements affect human judgment and decision making. The evidence is overwhelming that the nature, structure and presence of others affects our decision making and judgments. Social psychology also demonstrates that humans are strongly influenced by the language, discourse and priming of messages presented to us as well as how our environment is structured. The science of discoveries made in social psychology are applied everyday to supermarkets (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmEI3_NhZj4) and a host of environments to affect the way we behave and act. Most people are not conscious of how the use of space, place and language affects them, but advertisers and social psychologists do. It is fascinating to see industries such as building, construction and mining (in their love of zero harm) completely ignore the discoveries of social psychology. So what has all this got to do with compliance, obedience and authority?
Social psychology is also interested in persuasion, conversion, influence, aggression, belonging, attachment, attraction and attribution-causality and host of other dynamics that affect our approach to risk and safety. Social Psychology is concerned with questions such as; Why do people not do as they are told? Why do people purposefully seek to non-compliance with rules, even rules for their own safety? What motivates people to work against their own self-preservation, the so named ‘precautionary principle’? Why are people disobedient? Why are people attracted to others and reject others? These are important questions for anyone involved in risk and safety. Yet, the risk and safety industry seem preoccupied with engineering and legislation as if the enactment of these dynamics doesn’t involve social psychology at all?
So why are people attracted to forbidden pleasures? Why are defiance, rebellion and disobedience attractive? Do we counter-intuitively make rebellion even more attractive by the way we administer and police risk and safety? A few simple principles may be helpful, these are:
- People are not machines or objects, they cannot be programmed and will not be programmed or controlled just because some engineer or legislator thinks so.
- People are not the sum or behaviours or naturally attracted to systems.
- Humans are limited in perception and awareness, mostly managing their day to day activities on autopilot, habits and the unconscious.
- Human comprehension is easily ‘flooded’ and this needs to be understood in the saturation of systems.
- Humans filter messages and communications according to their environment and history, there is no common sense.
- Many of the things humans do in risk and safety have by-products that are often hidden and subversive.
- The presence and structure of relationships at work strongly influences decision making. Group dynamics can heighten rebellion and defiance if misunderstood and mismanaged.
- You don’t get social psychology knowledge off the back of a postage stamp. Otherwise, you end up with people advocating zero harm as a great idea without any knowledge of the psychology of goals. A read of Gladwell’s Outliers is a good start to learn about the importance of acting on what you don’t know.
- Culture, sub-culture and micro-cultures are very powerful and culture is not systems, procedures, behaviours or just values.
- Humans and relationships are complex so when you hear of any safety snake oil, quick fix, simple fix, guarantee no injury, no harm spin, instant solution quackery in the risk and safety space, it’s probably nonsense.
One of my favourite sayings is: there is no learning in life without risk, and no maturity without learning. If an organisation doesn’t consider the counter-intuitive nature of human decision making, the importance of learning and human social psychological arrangements in what it does, any success with risk and safety will be very limited.
Online Studies with the Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk
If you want to study online the Centre for Leadership and Learning in risk, you can enroll and register at any time.
Once a person is registered for a unit of study they will be assigned an online tutor/mentor. Mentors are listed in the Prospectus as Academic Staff and all have undertaken studies with Dr Long since 2001.
Registration for each unit is $750 (Aus). This means that one can undertake study for the Certificate (4 units) for less than undertaking one unit at a University and for more unique learning outcomes. No-one is offering these units nor the Social Psychology of Risk Body of Knowledge in study globally (https://safetyrisk.net/social-psychology-of-risk-body-of-knowledge-2/).
Each unit is completed by undertaking the following through the support and guidance of a CLLR mentor:
1. Watching the video series (a login and password is provided).
2. Complete a written reflection/journal for submission.
3. Undertake online conversation (email and skype) in reflection on videos with mentor.
4. Undertake some recommended reading (students will be given access to some readings through dropbox). Six of the units automatically offer a complementary copy of Dr Long’s book related to the Unit.
5. Some units require a written response in the form of a blog or a brief video/skype chat.
6. The first three Units come with a manual to assist learning and reflection.
A Certificate in The Social Psychology of Risk (4 units) and Diploma in the Social Psychology of Risk (8 units) will be awarded along with a statement of learning outcomes and academic record on completion.
Once people have completed the Diploma they are then qualified to teach the Social Psychology of Risk including use of all SPoR Intellectual Property and Tools.
Units on Offer
• Unit 1. An Introduction to the Social Psychology of Risk.
• Unit 2. SEEK, The Social Psychology of Event Investigations.
• Unit 3. Introduction to Semiotics and Risk.
• Unit 4. Leadership and the Social Psychology of Risk.
• Unit 5. The Social Psychology of High Reliability Organising.
• Unit 6. Holistic Ergonomics.
• Unit 7. Learning, Community and The Social Psychology of Risk.
• Unit 8. The Social Amplification of Risk.
• Unit 9. The MiProfile Master Class, Diagnostics in the Social Psychology of Risk.
• Unit 10. Understanding and Developing Risk Intelligence.
• Unit 11. Communicating and the Unconscious in Risk. Advanced Semiotics.
• Unit 12. iThink – Critical Thinking, Dialectic and Risk.
• Unit 13. Due Diligence.
• Unit 14. The Social Politics of Risk.
• Unit 15. A Transdisciplinary Approach to Risk.
You can read more about the Online Learning offering here: https://cllr.com.au/online-courses-overseas-students/
Introduction to Semiotics – 4-6 April Canberra
The next program presented by The Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk in The Social Psychology of Risk is an Introduction to Semiotiics to be held in Canberra on 4,5,6 April 2018. You can register here: https://cllr.com.au/product/semoiotics-and-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-3/
This Workshop includes teaching through a ‘semiotic walk’ where one learns an awareness of how space, place, symbols and signs, design and discourse influence thinking and behaviours.