I find this fixation on identity AS Safety so amusing (https://safetyrisk.net/the-mental-illness-of-identifying-as-safety/). When I meet people in real professions, they never introduce themselves as Teacher Tom or Doctor Debbie or Lawyer Lousie. Similarly, real professionals never identify with obsession or geek/nerd identity. What is it about this safety industry that cultivates such absurd levels of identity in obsession.
The word ‘geek’ is associated with obsession and we know obsession is a mental illness (https://psychcentral.com/ocd/psychology-of-obsessions). But here is Safety telling people obsession is good (https://www.tollgroup.com/about/we-are-safety-obsessed).
The whole pride of being a ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ for safety is so sad, because framing one’s life by an outcome (https://www.fanbolt.com/120383/geek-vs-nerd-a-look-at-geek-culture-and-nerdy-obsessions/) draws one away from social connection, normal living and balance.
Why would someone want to be proud of being a ‘geek’ for safety? Worse, how could someone advocate a mental illness as being moral, ethical or good? How could one associate this with leadership? Of course, we know why, because Safety acts as an Archetype and draws on the compulsory mis-education of the safety curriculum. And all of this is encouraged by the extremism of Zero.
If you look up ‘safety geek’ you will get overload with people seeking to normalise mental illness.
I see associated with one of these websites a conference to become ‘a safety rockstar’? Really, what is all this nonsense that seeks to be socially distanced from others. Rockstars are above everyone, in another world? This is the same quest to be a hero! Why would you want to be identified with Indiana Jones? No-one connects with obsession, heroes or geeks.
Surely the best approach to working in the safety industry is be as normal, level-headed and ‘everyday’ as could be. Why would someone want to identify as a hero? Heroes don’t listen, heroes ‘save the day’, heroes seek worship, heroes are not real, heroes are unapproachable, superior and disconnected from everyday fallible reality. Heroes are beyond and above fallibility, so they never talk about it or identify with it.
The first sign of mental illness is social disconnectedness. All of this marketing of zero heroes, geeks and obsession is the marketing of mental illness.
How strange to see a ‘safety geek’ writing on ‘psychological safety’. Nothing could be more absurd. You are never safe around a hero. Heroes and heroines are all about ego and the last person to approach if you have any concerns about fallible personhood. The hero has no empathy for the everyday needs of the fallible person. Heroes don’t motive anyone to anything. Heroes and heroines are unstable (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0193397397800056). Heroics is about fiction and mythology (https://ia800909.us.archive.org/19/items/heroesheroinesof00walsuoft/heroesheroinesof00walsuoft.pdf). Heroes are identified with salvation, religion and detached being. The identification with heroics and obsession should be anathema to anyone in safety (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/231608816_Heroines_and_Heroes_Embodiment_Symbolism_and_Narrative).
The other thing that is most disturbing about these hero/geek websites is the astounding level of ignorance and incompetence marketed as being of value. Much of what is written in psychologically and socially untrue, misleading and incompetent. Most of what is published by these heroes, geeks and heroines is dangerous and harmful portrayed as some kind of expertise, where there is none. The stuff written on culture demonstrates extraordinary incompetence, immaturity and mis-information.
Such is the nature of an industry founded on desperation and the ideology of zero. When your ideology is zero and behaviourism, it’s all about simplistic answers for complex and wicked problems.
Nothing is a bigger turnoff that Zero is Our Hero (See Figure 1).
Figure 1. Zero is Our Hero
And the reality is, in fire protection they don’t want heroes. Any heroics with real firefighting is discouraged and, a considered a recipe for suicide. Real firefighters know that this marketing is dangerous. The firefighters I know talk about NOT rushing in, NOT being heroic, about steady balanced assessment and taking time. Zero the Hero is a myth.
Heroics is mythology, geeks are myths and the identification with heroes is unhelpful. All of this stuff is the stuff of movies, its not real. Indiana Jones is a myth.
Safety people need to be approachable, humble listeners, infused with care, helping and connectedness. And one will never help anyone tackle risk if one is anchored to heroics and geek identity.
In SPoR, we study the nature of mythology and how myths work, particularly in relation to tackling risk. This is why the approaching SPoR convention in Canberra (https://spor.com.au/september-canberra-workshop/) is doing a module on Mythology. Nothing is more alienating to a balance approach to tackling risk than identification with obsession, heroes, heroines, geeks and Zero.
The key to tackling risk is getting one’s head out of the clouds and false mythology, to demythologise myths (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305078334_Ricoeur_on_myth_and_demythologising) and make risk real (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/real-risk/ ).
If you want to register for the September workshop on Mythology and Risk you can email here: email@example.com