Safety Naivety and the Delusions of KISS
Ah the KISS principle, its so simple: tell the rule, police the rule, punish the offender. That’s the safety way, why make things so hard when a good dose of brutalism will do. Sorry Safety that’s not the real world. If Covid has taught you anything it should be that Risk and Safety are wicked problems . But hey, let’s not let evidence and the real world get in the way of the KISS aphorism. Why seek reality when a good delusion will do.
Jarret writes so well about the nature of delusion when he states:
‘Delusions are one of the common symptoms of psychosis, which is a broader syndrome that involves experiencing an apparent disconnect from objective reality’.
And there is nothing more delusional than the denial of fallibility and the cult of zero. Yep, zero is clearly a psychosis. The quest for perfectionism is listed as a psychosis in the DSMV V, it’s a mental illness (https://psychotherapy.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2015.69.3.317). Perfectionism is a mental health disorder.
Second cab off the rank in the delusion stakes is the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle for risk and safety.
I was chatting to the new group doing the SPoR Introduction (https://cllr.com.au/product/an-introduction-to-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-1-free-online-module/) this week and we got onto the topic of controls and hazards. So, we got involved in a discussion about controls and I asked a simple question: ‘how can we control risk?’ If risk is all about uncertainty in the face of fallibility then how does one control something one doesn’t know?
It was like no-one had thought of this before.
Safety is so deluded about controls it imagines in its delusions that uncertainty can be made certain. Good luck, that would make you infallible. Say hello to god next time, I’m sure she will be glad to welcome you to safety heaven (https://safetyrisk.net/heaven-n-hell-and-the-safety-religion/).
At the moment we have a large group across the globe about to start the CLLR module on Linguistics and Semiosis (the making of meaning) and we will start with a discussion on the acquisition of language. Ah, that should be a simple one, nup. It’s a mystery, no one knows how children acquire language, especially grammar. Oh yes, there are plenty of theories, dozens of them from: Skinner, Chomsky, Wittgenstein, Lacan, Halliday, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, Berne, Piaget, Kristeva, Fuchs etc. but no one knows. Indeed, all of these researchers and linguists are far more expert than I in language; I only did undergrad linguistics in my first degree and in teaching English at school. I have also witnessed my grandchildren acquire language and it’s beyond amazing, one is fluent in English and Finnish at the age of 4 years of age and translates easily with an extensive vocab.
Of course once on the subject of language we haven’t even come close to the challenges of discourse and hermeneutics. All language is subjective and interpreted, language isn’t objective. Even the language of science and engineering is biased by those worldviews. So one may think one is transporting meaning in text about safety or engineering or even law but it is all interpreted. The language of science and engineering is far more loaded than the object of either discipline.
So, when we explore the challenges of discourse (the power in language) we begin to explore the many hidden things we cannot see in what is said and written. The medium is the message (https://safetyrisk.net/the-medium-is-the-message/). So just to show how wicked language is I will finish on some questions that the people doing the Linguistics module are investigating:
1. Where is the power in the ‘text’?
2. What is the cultural semiospherical sub-text?
3. What is the social politics of the text?
4. How does context transmit semiosis (constructed meaning)?
5. What hermeneutic guides interpretation?
6. What is happening in the hyphen of the I-thou?
7. What ontology/ethic is embedded in the text?
8. What is the Poetics of the text?
9. What is the Socialite of the discourse?
10. What ‘social languages’ are evident?
11. What is the environment in which language is used?
12. What disciplines and trans-disciplines are implicated in the discourse?
13. What are the hidden subjectivities in the text?
14. What is the etymology of the text?
15. How is language embodied?
16. What is the use of metaphor?
17. What is the intended purpose/semiosis of the language?
18. What is the methodology behind the method/medium of language?
19. What hidden and grammatical codes are embedded in the text?
20. What Technique is served by the text?
21. How is language embodied and made meaningful to the Mind?
Or if you want to study discourse analysis perhaps start with an introductory text like: https://anekawarnapendidikan.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/an-introduction-to-discourse-analysis-by-james-paul-gee.pdf
But as Jarrett tells us:
‘Unfortunately, despite hundreds of research studies over decades, we have barely begun to grasp the deeply mysterious nature of delusional belief.’
So, the nature of delusions is a mystery and yet we see so much delusional belief just in the risk and safety industry alone. ‘Safety is a choice you make’, ‘all accidents are preventable’, zero harm, common sense and so on, all based on the delusion that the world is predictable, binary, simplistic and risk is controllable.
This is the kind of lunacy that imagines that humans are infallible.
If you want to see what delusion looks like have a good laugh at this: