Making sense of chaos or making chaos of sense?

This is the pig that was tried, convicted and executed for eating the face off a child in its crib.


Not an unusual fate for animal criminals in times past.

Nicholas Humphrey recounts the reasons in his history of animal trials, Bugs and Beasts Before the Law:

Taken together, Evans’ cases suggest that again and again, the true purpose of the trials was psychological. People were living at times of deep uncertainty. Both the Greeks and medieval Europeans had in common a deep fear of lawlessness: not so much fear of laws being contravened, as the much worse fear that the world they lived in might not be a lawful place at all. A statue fell on a man out of the blue, a pig killed a baby while its mother was at mass, swarms of locusts appeared from nowhere and devastated the crops, the Holy See was becoming riddled with corruption. At first sight such misfortunes can have appeared to have no rhyme or reason to them. To an extent that we today cannot find easy to conceive, these people of the pre-scientific era lived every day at the edge of explanatory darkness. No wonder if, like Einstein in the twentieth century, they were terrified of the real possibility that “God was playing dice with the universe. 

“…In other words, the job of the courts was to domesticate chaos, to impose order on a world of accidents — and specifically to make sense of certain seemingly inexplicable events by redefining them as crimes.

The legislators, scientists, inspectors and bureaucrats of today share the same fear.  ISO management accreditation is animal trials for the modern man.  The crimes it finds are non-compliances and there is no appeal to a higher court.

Assessors live in denial of the multiple contradictions of the central dogma of inspectionism – all things can be controlled by the act of hoarding records for inspection.  They live in fear that their roles are worse than useless because they are founded on a lie that cannot keep their deeper fears at bay.  Their response is to do more of the same.  They are trapped in their ever-decreasing circles and want to take as many with them as they can – Medical Royal Colleges, businesses, politicians, scientists…  It’s a convenient fiction for all of them that the magical rituals of accreditation can keep the chaos at bay.

Future generations will look back at accreditationism and laugh.

This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Cartel, History, Philosophy, Science and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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