Sayings, Slogans, Aphorisms and the Discourse of Simple – SafetyRisk dot net

by Dave Collins on August 18, 2014

Sayings, Slogans, Aphorisms and the Discourse of Simple One of the most annoying things about social media, especially Linkedin (as its intention is to be professional), is the constant flooding of the airwaves with the quest to be simple. The most recent was this: Whilst I understand the quest to keep life simple, the denial of complexity creates a range of by-products and trade offs that have a troubling trajectory. The worst aspect of this constant repetition of pithy meaninglessness is it often comes from people who claim to be in leadership or in coaching. Why this constant quest to regurgitate that life is simple, when it isn’t. Whilst we don’t have to parade complexity about like a float at a Mardi Gras, why is it so difficult to remain silent on sloganeering? Why most we talk zero? Just take it out of your language. Why talk about ‘common sense’? Just don’t talk about it. So, what’s the by-product of cheap sloganeering? The first by-product of sloganeering on simple is that denial isn’t healthy? If things were just simple, why do we have to lecture people on it? If it really was simple, this poster would be meaningless. The reason why the poster for simple is regurgitated is because it isn’t, that’s why it is posted, perhaps out of frustration by the person putting it out there. In a society plagued by broken relationships, a mental health epidemic, chronic anxiety and depression, substance abuse (medicated and recreational) and intractable social problems it must be delightful to tell everyone else that things are just simple. Really? You are overweight, just diet. You are addicted to gambling, just stop. You don’t like something? Say it. Now there’s a recipe for losing your job in a hurry. The second by-product of sloganeering is that it tends to be binary, it leaves no opportunity for grey and in-between. You want people harmed? Well zero? Support the Gaza action by Israel? Well, you are an anti-semite. The trouble is in risk and safety binary is dangerous, forcing people into absolutes and driving cultures of intolerance. For example, it is crazy to think one can drive a culture of zero in an organisation and then expect a complementary culture of confession to emerge. Absolutes drive denial and the quest for perfection promotes silence. When ‘all accidents are preventable’ and you have one, the first human recourse is non-reporting. The third by-product of sloganeering is what it does to the disadvantaged. It is relatively easy for the wealthy to hide addictions and dependencies in denial that they are addicted and dependent. However, the poor or financially challenged don’t have such luxury. We saw this week the political disaster of a treasurer who was out of touch with people struggling on low incomes. His sweeping generalization (the quest for simple) was easy but a total denial of complexity and earned him the isolation of the country as a whole. Three word slogans are cheap but not reality in …


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