Safety is not a Person, Safety as an Archetype

imageUnderstanding Archetypes is critical for an understanding of SPoR. An Archetype is not a person nor about persons in a group or industry. An Archetype refers to the power and energy of a thing and how it acts as a persona. An Archetype has characteristics as a persona, what one might also attribute as cultural characteristics.

In SPoR, we refer to Archetypes by capitalisation so, Safety is the Archetype and safety is the activity. So, when one challenges or criticises the Archetype of safety this makes no reference to persons. In this way, the use of language helps understand how and where Power works. This is similar to how we use metonym all the time in language and we do so by personification of things like ‘the Economy’, ‘the Market’ or a place, Washington. When we say ‘Washington says’ we are not referring to the people in Washington but rather to Washington as an Archetype for the seat of power and Government. This is how SPoR uses the language of Safety.

Any study of Linguistics or Jungian psychology (eg. Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious ) is essential for understanding this worldview.

If one doesn’t understand this method of Linguistics one assumes they are being attacked or vilified by association, as if they identify with Safety or as Safety. How strange when we all use Archetypes, personification and metonym unconsciously in popular culture. But oh yes, Safety is special.

Archetypes are best understood as core socio-psychological drivers of culture. This is why religious practice, deeply held values, customs, semiotics, myths, discourse, rituals, experiential knowing and taboos are essential to any study of culture. Mary Douglas’ book (free download ) Risk and Blame, Essays in Cultural Theory (1994) is a good introduction. Unfortunately, none of this is ever mentioned in Safety such are the many cultural silences in the Industry (

Tinkering around the edges playing with systems and focusing on behaviours doesn’t really tackle the core archetypical drivers of culture. No wonder Safety doesn’t want to talk about Culture.

It is in the Collective Unconscious that we find most critical issues associated with the dehumanizing focus of the Safety archetype. The Archetype of Zero is also another powerful force for dehumanisation and unethical conduct. Technique is an Archetype as also Propaganda.

When SPoR explores the culture of Safety, it looks at the Archetypical way the Industry enacts its worldview, its philosophy. This is most commonly observed in groups that wield power: associations, regulators, organisations, collective Safety activities. The use and abuse of Power is foundational to an understanding or Ethics, Personhood and Psychosocial health. Unfortunately, Safety is also silent on these, which is Archetypical of the Industry.

Of course, the positive outcome of criticism of Safety is the realisation of its methodology, use of power and deontological ethic. Once this is deconstructed one knows what not to do, what to unlearn and what to do, in order to be professional, ethical and humanising.

In all of the deconstructive criticism of Safety there is no connection to individual persons and it would seem strange that people would anchor themselves to the Archetype, as if they are one and the same.

In SPoR, that is the risk that is taken, and such an interpretation and framing is a choice of individuals but it is not the focus of SPoR. If one wants to identify with the power of the Archetype, then one is welcome to do so.

But SPoR doesn’t just deconstruct for the sake of deconstruction, SPoR is the expression of a very different worldview that offers Safety an alternative. So, the motive for deconstruction is positive.

This is where SPoR makes available (for free), a different methodology and methods that are positive, empowering, constructive and enabling, that work (

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