Safety as a perception
“Hurry up, this place is not at all safe”!!
“I want to live in a safe place”!!
“I want to be safe”!!
We have heard these lines; in fact, we have also spoken these ourselves. Especially in times of emergency like Coronavirus outbreak. The word safe is rather abstract. It’s a feeling. Most people are satisfied by having a ‘perception’ of being safe, rather than ‘actually’ being one. This is because they perceive safety in the sense of inner satisfaction. This may sound a little unreal, but it is true indeed.
Remember the security guard outside our society, the generally skinny guy in his late 50ties. He is not their guarding our gates because he can do it, but because he was unable to find a job of his choice. If he can get every visitor sign in the register, he will get an appreciation. The more he interrogates each visitor, the better is the sense of safety for us. This means that an average smart criminal/thief etc. will be able to fool the security and enter our home. Therefore, we only perceive safety as a feeling. Think of this as the number of locks in our main door. The more number of locks gives us a better version of safety. Although the truth is, not much of a mastermind is required to break through all the locks. In reality, it is difficult to be 100% safe in a substantive sense.
The other interesting thing about safety is that it is very subjective. The degree of safety varies from person to person. The most relevant example would be the smuggling of a nail cutter (either knowingly or unknowingly) from the security check at airports. The airport security check generally gives a high impression of safety, but that too is just an impression.
By and large, these impressions of security induce the majority of the population to abide by the rules and therefore the general community feels safe. At this point in time, the very natural question is — are we safe? The answer is subjective enough. If we feel we are safe then we are. This feeling is affected by what we see, what we read and what exactly we interpret out of it.
Simply put safety is a vicious circle, which can be broken by just one undesirable event. This will force us to revisit our safety measures and the circle would be initiated again.