I was sent this classic today (https://www.shponline.co.uk/culture-and-behaviours/dominic-cooper-to-err-is-human-or-is-it/ ). I get so much safety nonsense sent to me it is hard to keep up.
When you have no linguistic sense nor understanding of an ethic of personhood, it’s so easy to write gobbledygook.
Of course, the context for the saying ‘to err is human’ comes from Alexander Pope (An Essay on Criticism, Part II , 1711) and a Transdisciplinary understanding of Poetics is essential to get its meaning. The phrase sits in a lengthy poem, I have written about this before (https://safetyrisk.net/to-err-is-human-to-forgive-divine/). When I use to teach Pope in Year 12 English and University, and we always knew that context is critical for understanding. Not so in safety.
Safety is one of those industries (not a profession) that frames the world through its own narrow lens, grabs whatever language it decides to mash and distort, all justified by its own ends – usually, the projection of some engineering or behaviourist worldview. Without a Transdisciplinary approach that takes theology, ethics, Poetics, Semiotics, Learning and Religion seriously, one is unlikely to understand Pope, nor what he meant by his phrase ‘to err is human’.
Similarly, discussion about the nature of being phenomenologically human (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326268113_Phenomenology_A_Philosophy_and_Method_of_Inquiry) cannot be separated from an ethic of personhood or cultural anthropology.
When you frame your view of the world through safety, you usually distort that worldview (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-as-a-worldview/ ).
This is why Safety writes so much about the confusion of culture, that it creates for itself.
Safety as an adjective, conditions all that follows. I don’t live for safety; I live to be and live. The meaning and purpose (semiosis) of living is NOT safety.
So, when we come to this piece from Cooper, there is no surprise about the distortion field applied to human meaning. More behaviourism, more engineering, more safety worldview and even a classic sub-heading ‘beyond human’. Transhumanist language is alive and well in safety.
All this sourced in safety classics such as Reason and Rasmussen, there is no element of anything connected to an ethic of personhood.
If an ethic of personhood interests you then perhaps read:
· Arendt, H., (1958) The Human Condition.
· Bauer, J., and Harteis, C., (2012) Human Fallibility, The Ambiguity of Errors for Work and Learning.
· Benner, D., (2016) Human Being and Becoming, Living the Adventure of Life and Love.
· Fuchs,T., (2018) Ecology of the Brain.
· Harding, S., (2015) Paul’s Eschatological Anthropology: The Dynamics of Human Transformation
· Jewett, R., (1971) Paul’s Anthropological Terms, A Study of Their Use in Conflict Settings.
· Kirkwood, C., (2012) The Persons in Relation Perspective, In Counselling, Psychotherapy and Community Adult Learning.
· Lotman, Y., (1990) Universe of the Mind, A Semiotic Theory of Culture.
· Madsbjerg, C., (2017) Sensemaking, What Makes Human Intelligence Essential in the Age of the Algorithm.
· Martin, J., Sugarman, J., and Hickinbottom, S., (2010) Persons: Understanding Psychological Selfhood and Agency
· Schwarz, H., (2013) The Human Being, A Theological Anthropology. Semler, L., Hodge, B., and Kelly, P., (2012) What is the Human? Australian Voices from the Humanities.
· Splitter, L., (2015) Identity and Personhood, Confusions and Clarifications across Disciplines
And there is so much more. If you want to know about fallibility and error then make sure you don’t read Reason (https://safetyrisk.net/no-good-reason-to-follow-reason/) or anything from Safety.
Poor old safety, never talks about ‘fallibility’ (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/), only loves talk about ‘error’ and even then, never in the context of an ethic of personhood or human meaning. Then mash together a triarchic semiotic with no understanding of semiotics.
One thing is reliable about safety, when it wants to map an idea, it’s most important to leave out the human.
What Safety constantly dishes up in these magazines is a brain-centric worldview, consumed by behaviourism as if this is somehow related to the nature of what it is to be human.
None of this is helpful, constructive, positive or realistic. An alternative practical, positive and meaningful method is offered by SPoR and its free (https://safetyrisk.net/whats-the-alternative-to-traditional-safety-spor/). SPoR is not just about deconstruction but rather a reconstruction of a new approach that works (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/) as if humans matter.
Unless an ethic of personhood and an understanding of fallibility is foundational for incident investigations, you are likely to already know the outcome and it certainly won’t involve learning. It’s very rare that Safety ‘learns’ from accidents.
If you want to learn about Learning then this may help (https://safetyrisk.net/a-definition-of-learning-a-video/).
If you want to know how to do a good incident investigation then you can study SEEK (https://cllr.com.au/product/seek-the-social-psychology-of-event-investigations-unit-2-elearning/).
There is much that SPoR offers for free as in the current module on culture (already running and oversubscribed).