The Stress of Stasis

safety nothing happensOne of the challenging things about the Coronavirus crisis is stasis. For those without work and confined to home, for those in self-isolation, it’s like life is frozen in time. ‘Stay at home’ is the mantra. The trouble is, in order to be fulfilled as persons we need movement not just movement in home but social movement (https://www.economist.com/international/2020/04/04/how-will-humans-by-nature-social-animals-fare-when-isolated ).

There is no learning without movement. And there is no movement without risk

Nothing is more sure than the quest for stasis is the quest for death. This is the quest for zero. The only way to avoid harm and injury in the real world of humans, randomness and living, is to stop moving. Yet, this quest is the so called ‘vision’ of the global safety movement (http://visionzero.global/node/6 ). Zero is the mantra of the AIHS, SWA and NSCA, all signatories to the global ideology of zero. Moreso, the evidence for denial is extensive (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/ ; https://safetyrisk.net/aihs-bok-ethics-and-professional-practice-launch-brisbane-10-02-2020/ ; https://safetyrisk.net/it-was-the-sia-until-someone-wanted-to-swing-from-the-chandelier/ ; https://safetyrisk.net/dark-waters-the-true-story-of-dupont-and-zero/ ). This is why the quest for zero has no vision but rather zero vision.

The outcome of the zero fixation is paralysis by fear of injury. When your goal, language, mythology and ideology is ‘zero’ many hidden trajectories and by-products come into play. Who will be first to report the next injury?

When your work-life is defined by a number then, whatever flows from it must dehumanise persons. And of course, when mental health harm is increasing (https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report—tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8) and harm by a virus is increasing, how can Safety hide the numbers?

Once Safety locked itself in to the absolute of zero in 2017 it has nowhere to go. Every statistic and data that follows the language of zero looks dumb (https://safetyrisk.net/zero-is-meaningless/ ). Everything that follows the language of zero that involves fallible humans, randomness in the real world and the unpredictability of risk in learning/movement, looks dumb. The first step in being professional is being ethical and intelligent, zero fails on both counts.

Stasis is stressful. When stasis becomes dis-stressful then it becomes harmful (https://theconversation.com/cabin-fever-australia-must-prepare-for-the-social-and-psychological-impacts-of-a-coronavirus-lockdown-133353 ). So the quest for stasis is also the quest for harm.

It doesn’t matter how you examine this absurd ideology of zero you find absurdity. When you start with an absurd binary question (how many people do you want to die today?) you must get an absurd answer (https://safetyrisk.net/free-safety-ebooks/ ).

How an industry can collectively maintain the absurd denial of fallibility is a self-indictment. No-one who claims the title of ‘professional’ can be professional if they deny human fallibility. Immutability is stasis yet, everything about persons it opposite – mutable, vulnerable, mortal and fallible. There can be no immutability in movement.

We know that various forms of stress and, the drugs the body generates through stress, make stress addictive (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270849389_The_Relationship_between_Stress_and_Addiction ). Dis-stress is addictive (Scientific American Mind May 2020 The Stress Fix) and results in the prominence of various forms of self medication (https://americanaddictioncenters.org/adult-addiction-treatment-programs/self-medicating) used to help cope with the rising rates of anxiety and depression in society. One thing that has risen dramatically in this time of lockdown, staying at home and stasis, has been the rise in alcohol consumption, drug use and domestic violence (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-26/coronavirus-crisis-has-people-drinking-more-experts-say/12086790 ).

Hmmm, so its clear, the stress of stasis is for more harm and there can only be harm under the stress of zero.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

2 Replies to “The Stress of Stasis”

  1. It’s funny the number of times I go in and audit a workplace and there is a worker who actually wants something serious to happen because then they feel their management (usually) will take the risks in the workplace seriously – zero is a lack of understanding…

    1. Very much so. Zero in denial of fallibility is very other worldly, not this worldly. I guess this is why zero is represented so religiously and ritualistically and, when the next global mantra comes out is going to make zero look very ineffective.

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