No Ethic of Hope in Zero
The denial of fallibility in the language of zero offers no hope for fallible human beings. Hope is much more than a concept of wishing, naïve optimism nor some unrealistic sense of desire. Hope is always about the unknown future and therefore should be understood as messianically, prophetically, transcendently and apocalyptically.
Hope always implies a paradox. There is no hope without faith. Hope implies endurance and will for something not yet attained.
Mature hope needs to be distinguished from infantile hope, naïve hope and baby hope. Baby hope is not realistic and lives in denial of reality, hoping that Santa will come. This is where Safety is situated, hoping for zero that can never come. In the real world of fallible people and worldly randomness where insurance policies make sense, the language of zero is nonsense.
Zero is not just a target nor just a goal, zero is an ideology and semiotic that embeds a discourse of perfection. Speaking perfection to fallible people self-defines mental illness.
The writer to the Hebrews states: ‘Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen’.
The seventeenth century poet Alexander Pope wrote: ‘To err is human and To forgive divine’
‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come. (an Essay on Man)
One cannot read Pope without knowledge in poetics and theology, to do so is to take interpret Pope out of context. Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation. It is always entertaining to watch Safety without any sense of hermeneutics, impose its positivist and behaviourist assumptions on texts. Pope always puts into comparison the fallibility of humans and the eternal nature of Hope. Hope is best understood when it is personified.
Most people in safety misunderstand hope as searching for an object of desire. Hope is not about objects. The desire for an object leads to hopelessness.
Hope implies an ethic (moral philosophy) that must be connected to the fallible human. The denial of fallibility can only promote an unethical approach to hope. Until Safety grapples with the reality of fallibility (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/) it can never be ethical and by implication – professional. One cannot be professional with out an ethic. Unethical language, wrapped in expectations of perfection can only ever invoke unethical conduct.
Real Hope is not about ‘pie in the sky’. Mature Hope is anchored in realism where fallible people live. False hope and false consciousness (https://safetyrisk.net/false-consciousness-and-perception-in-risk-and-safety/) can only ever bring disappointment and delusion. Any activity that maintains this false consciousness can only ever be a cult.
Envy, despair and zero are the enemies of Hope. Hope comes into the darkness of human despair and suffering with the light of human possibility and promise. Hope is not about having but about an ethic of being.
The quest for scientific certainty extinguishes Hope. The language of zero can only ever offer the despair of hopelessness. There can never be an ethic of resilience in zero. There can never be any ‘engineering’ of resilience. Hope and Faith are matters that engineering has no idea about because they can only be experienced dialectically. Hope and risk, resilience and faith can only ever be experienced ecologically. There is no hope in systems. Hope is for fallible people, not systems. Humans risk because there is Hope. Those who don’t hope don’t risk.
In Fromm (The Revolution of Hope) or Moltmann (Theology of Hope) we find that the nature of Hope is not fearful of risk or uncertainty. One lives in the present because of Hope in the future. Hope and Faith are about vision, imagination, discovery, creativity, learning and wisdom. Zero attacks all these things. All expressions of faith and hope are poetic. Hope stands outside of the fixation on empiricism and implies a non-rational knowledge ‘beyond’ the certainty fixation. Tacit knowledge (Polanyi) is connected to the love of life and the sure knowledge of the certainty of death. We don’t stop living in love just because we know we can die.
Hope for fallible people implies the need for patience, learning, imagination, vision, resilience and waiting. These are the gifts of fallibility.
If you want to make a workplace toxic and hopeless, keep spruiking the nonsense of zero.