Poetics of the Self

Originally posted on June 11, 2021 @ 5:00 PM

imageWhen it comes to risk and safety, method is critical. Brutalizing and dehumanizing people to get a safety outcome doesn’t work (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/ ).

The best way to ensure a humanizing outcome in safety is to move away from zero, numerics and metrics and to focus on what can’t be measured (Poetics).

The foundation of safety is not injury rates, policing PPE or ‘telling’.

The foundations of effective safety is discovered in: listening, helping, conversing, creating understanding and respecting ‘the other’. This rests on a holistic understanding of personhood and an ethic of risk. How sad you won’t find any discussion or curriculum on ethics or personhood in the safety industry. (The AIHS BoK Chapter on Ethics, is NOT about ethics)

The foundation for a Poetics of the Self is understanding the nature of power and human ‘will’ (not discussed in the AIHS BoK). The Poetics of the Self hinges on a focus on all that is NOT measurable but essential for tackling risk. Coercion and policing for safety outcomes shifts responsibility and ownership to the ‘teller’ not to the workers. Policing for safety outcomes demonstrates that what you are already doing doesn’t work.

Ricoeur stated that a telling and policing approach to others simply creates ‘primordial discord’.

When we experience harm and injury, the last person we seek support from is the one who ‘police’s and ‘tells’.

So, when there are mental health issues at work, we learn quickly that this is the person NOT to go to.

When you experience harm, suffering and pain, the last person you would approach is some zombie preaching zero!

When we are in distress we seek out people who: empathise, listen, don’t ‘tell’ and facilitate ownership. How sad that safety doesn’t prepare people for this rewarding and valuable service at work (https://safetyrisk.net/essential-preparation-for-a-safety-job/ ). How sad that Safety has no other ethic than deontological patronizing ‘telling’. And there is nothing on the horizon in either curriculum reform or AIHS BoK to offer any hope of change. We can ‘play’ in the space of safety as much as we like but without foundational reform at an institutional level, nothing will change.

When most people ask me about sources of effective training for safety I send them to various institutions that teach the basics in counselling, helping and community service. These are the foundation of professionalism.

There are some really good Diplomas and studies online, if you are interested I can send you a link or two that will get you started.

Similarly, there are mentors and experts in the Social Psychology of Risk near you that we can put you in contact with. There is also the free online module Introduction to the Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) (https://cllr.com.au/product/an-introduction-to-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-1-free-online-module/ ) that will next be offered in September.

When we focus on the Poetics of the Self we know that being in the non-measurable space is where people find the most meaning. You have more chance of helping someone in pain, harm and suffering by sharing a song than by speaking anything about zero. When you know the Poetics of the Self you know that listening and dialogue are the foundation for helping.

Poetic discourse is not interested in silly nonsense talk of objectivity. Poetic thinking rejects the nonsense of binary language because its purpose it is to create alienation and isolation. Binary discourse poses ultimatums that have no possibility of ‘meeting’ in dialectic. There is no compromise in zero, no tolerance in zero. All zero wants is the answer zero!

All zero can hear is non-compliance.

In real and fallible life The Poetics of the Self knows that Harm can visit any of us. It doesn’t talk nonsense to people. It doesn’t fear stating that harm is inevitable. In the Poetics of the Self we find empathy and help, resilience and care. When we learn to communicate Poetically, we learn how to communicate to the unconscious.

Learning to communicate Poetically requires much un-learning to most of what is indoctrinated through the OHS curriculum. An introduction to SPoR can help safety people get started on this new journey. A journey that works! (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety )

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