Is Your Ethic of Risk Poetic?

Is Your Ethic of Risk Poetic?

I define risk as ‘the faith and trust required to suspend uncertainty to act’. When we discuss Ethics and Risk we must reflect on our worldview and how we are disposed and oriented towards risk. This is how we make sense of risk ( ).

In the face of uncertainty what is our ethos? What characterizes our orientation – to others, the common life, persons, culture and the environment? When considering Ethics, this is where to start.

The moment one enters into the subjectivities of Ethics and Morality, one moves away from the quest for measurement into all the things that cannot be measured. This is a huge problem for an un-professional industry that frames its world by what it measures and defines safety as injury.

The Poetics of Risk is about all that CANNOT be measured in the common life of persons in community. And the best way to understand the Poetics of Risk is not by rationalist-reductionist definition but rather by semiotic mapping. It is through visualization that we best understand Socialitie (the common life), Mentalitie (shared history) and relationship.

If you are interested in safety differently then you need to move your methodology and method away from the rationalist, cognitivist, behaviourist and positive foundations of traditional safety. If you are still using the same tools as orthodox safety to tackle risk then your methodology and method are not ‘different’. If you are still governed by the myths of measurement and have no balance with non-measurables, then it’s is most likely that you are still practicing traditional safety, perhaps under a different brand.

If you want to understand what these non-measurables are then perhaps pause and reflect of Figure 1. Poetics of Risk.

This map illustrates but is not limited to, the many non-measurable of human being. Each represents an aspect of living that engages with risk, lives in risk and thrives on risk. We engage with all of these when we study SPoR in Ethics, Linguistics, Poetics, Politics and Communicating with the Unconscious ( ).

Unless there is some sense of balance in the way you ‘face’ risk that validates the non-measurables (Poetics), it is not likely that your ‘method’ will be moral or ethical. Unless these are considered in your orientation/disposition toward risk, it is not likely that your practice will value personhood. Indeed, if your primary focus is on mechanics, numerics, objects, process, behaviourism, metrics and zero, it is most likely that your method will dehumanize persons. If this is the case, whatever you are doing is not professional.

The challenge for people in the safety industry is to consider this map and think about a sense of balance. If all you are doing is capturing metrics and policing objects, then it is not likely that you have developed a mature approach to tackling risk.

If you are interested in starting a new journey to something different, then you can sign up for the free SPoR Introduction that will be delivered in April ( ).

Figure 1. Poetics of Risk.


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