Safety and Non-Neuroscience

Construction Working IndustryOne thing you can be sure of, if Safety jumps out of its field of expertise in objects into anything to do with humans, it stuffs it up. This is no more pronounced in some of the material floating about in safety at the moment on Neuroscience. It’s amazing how Safety makes one qualified in Epidemiology, Neuroscience and Jurisprudence. Hmmm, I want to learn about Covid-19, let’s ask a safety engineer?

There’s nothing more fraudulent and unethical than the safety industry masquerading as what it is not. But hey why worry about ethics, just check your gut ( ).

First, let’s get a few Neuroscience fundamentals out of the way:

  • Neuroscience is NOT the study of the brain and the human brain is nothing like a computer.
  • Human brains are not ‘programmable’ and any language about such simply demonstrates that the speaker has no expertise in Neuroscience and is a behaviourist.
  • As much as Safety would like to turn Neuroscience into behaviourism, such language completely manipulates what the human nervous system is about – a nervous system.
  • Neuroscientists most often study the embodied human as a ‘mind’.
  • The nervous system is complemented by the endocrine system and immune systems, all working independently and embodied.
  • The brain doesn’t ‘control’ the nervous system, at best it functions as an organ that hosts conversations between these three independent systems.
  • Anyone who uses the language of the ‘subconscious’ has no idea of the history, development or knowledge about unconsciousness.
  • Human decision making is not ‘made in the brain’, human decision making is embodied and many aspects of automaticity don’t involve the brain.
  • The concept of ‘inattention’ is simplistic nonsense for how fallible humans embody the following: cognitive biases, social biases, emotions, feelings, heuristics, habits, intuitions, implicit knowledge and experiential learning.
  • Safety might like to turn Neuroscience into some simplistic behaviourist sausage, the human unconscious is a wicked problem.
  • Yes, there are reasons why people do what they do, but don’t go seeking answers from Safety.
  • Any talk of zero associated with Neuroscience is an indictment of the speaker. No one with any expertise in Neuroscience would entertain for one second that human decision making and zero were compatible.

How strange this safety industry that seeks expertise it doesn’t have within its own enclave? I wonder when Safety might seek a Transdisciplinary approach to knowledge rather than this constant tirade of ‘Safety knows all’. I know let’s find out about Jurisprudence, lets ask a safety engineer?

Let’s actually consult some experts in Neuroscience and see what they say, hey we wouldn’t want to let a little bit of academia get in the way of a good safety theory would we:

  • Claxton, G., (2015) Intelligence in the Flesh. Yale University Press. New York.
  • Colombetti, G., The Feeling Body, Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind. MIT Press, London.
  • Damasio, A., (1994) Descartes’ Error, Emotion, Reason, and The Human Brian. Penguin, New York.
  • Damasio, A., (1999) The Feeling of What happens, Body and Emotions in the Making of Consciousness. Harvest Books, New York.
  • Durt, C., Fuchs, T., and Tews, C., (eds.) (1997) Embodiment, Enaction, and Culture. MIT Press. London.
  • Fuchs, T., (2018) Ecology of the Brain, The Phenomenology and Biology of the Embodied Mind. Oxford University Press. London.
  • Ginot, E., (2015) The Neurophsychology of the Unconscious, Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy. Nortons. New York.
  • Noe, A., (2009) Out of Our Heads, Why You Are Not Your Brian and Other Lessons from The Biology of Consciousness. Hill and Wang. New York.
  • Panksepp, J., (1998) Affective Neuroscience, The Foundations of Human Animal Emotions. Oxford University Press. London.
  • Thompson, E., (2010) Mind in Life, Biology, Phenomenology, and the Science of the Mind. Belknap Press. London.
  • Tversky, B., (2019) Mind in Motion, How Action Shapes Thoughts. Basic Books. New York.
  • Van Der Kolk, B., (2015) The Body Keeps the Score, Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Penguin, New York.
  • Varela, F., Thompson, E ., and Rosch, E., (1993) The Embodied Mind, Cognitve Science and Human Experience. MIT Press, London.

Of course, these are just a start if one wants to know a little bit about Neuroscience but you won’t find any of these texts in the OHS curriculum, OHS Conference speeches or Body of Knowledge. If you actually consult the Neuroscience expertise it contradicts all of what is being peddled about in safety on Neuroscience.

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