Philipp Heinrich – Face Validity from Germany | Crowd In Theory | The Psychology of Security | SAFETY DOC LIVESTREAM #141

[Podcast] Philipp Heinrich is an entrepreneur, security instructor, and weapons trainer in Germany. He’s an oracle of face validity and recognizes both gradual and rapid nuances in society. Are Germans smashing into Finite Voltage? How does it manifest? Is anyone spared? Read the full blog post for episode #141 at

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Philipp started his career in security working as a night watchman while attending university. After working in human relations and studying business psychology, he decided to become an entrepreneur at the age of 24 and sold his business 3 years later. Returning to his passion of teaching security and weapons training, he is now working as a security instructor and business consultant.


Phil noted that things continue to rapidly change in Germany. He shared that the government put forth several economic stimulus initiatives for citizens including tuition and job training. As grocery stores presented with partially-filled shelves and limited hours, the cause was less a direct response to the virus pandemic and more attributable, per Phil, to people choosing not to work and accept government payments. He shared that stores are, surprisingly, flush with comfort items – trinkets, toys, etc. As a lifelong resident of Germany, Phil pointed out that these items are not ordinarily found on store shelves this time of year.


Commonly associated with economics, “Crowd In” theory also has a psychological interpretation described as people feeling they need to surround themselves with “comfort” items during a time of crisis – when they think they might be bound to their home for a long period of time. This is an intriguing concept and much different from “Scarcity” theory which fueled runs on toilet paper and pasta. Phil stated that video game systems had been sold out for three months and that it was impossible to even locate refurbished laptops. Doc and Phil unpacked Crowd In theory and recognized that observing it denotes that people believe a chaos event will be of a long duration. After purging the soup aisle, shoppers ramble their carts to the interior paint department. Phil perceives that elderly people in Germany remember World War II and how having physical possessions was deemed more important than money.


When the news of the pandemic stay-at-home orders were delivered at Phil’s workplace, he observed some co-workers immediately panic and embellish worst-case scenarios as if they had already come to fruition. He was shocked that some of the people that had been based in STEM and empirical processes were suddenly occupied with conspiracy theories and sought confirmation bias for their irrational, paranoid mindset. Phil judged that older Germans have become both anxious and reserved as they enter a fourth month of pandemic lockdowns or civil unrest curfews. The working class is choosing to limit participation in the workforce although the government is offering generous paid training and paid positions. Phil shared that high unemployment figures are, in part, due to people unwilling to accept training or jobs of manual labor, business, security, IT, etc. Finite Voltage becomes difficult to measure when people exist in an artificial environment that offers cash not to work. Doc and Phil speculate how this context might separate people from agency and purpose. Existing, but for what reason other than to exist?


Phil is trained in a civilian defense role that is similar to how the National Guard in America would deploy after a natural disaster. He’s served in medical support and in technical support to the fire department. Familiar with safety systems, Phil is cognizant of safety bravado and leaders choosing to fatigue protocols. He tells a story of participating in a routine civil defense drill in late February that involved spraying water from fire hoses. Phil spoke up and suggested that participants wear face masks to prevent inhalation of dirt or other particulate matter within the water aerosol (this was prior to COVID19 fears). He was aware of Legionnaires disease – which is caused as bacteria spreads through mist. And, water pumped from standing ponds or stagnant reserves isn’t anything you would drink without boiling. Sadly, leaders and peers shrugged off his recommendations. Phil noted that this “it won’t happen to me” response was in line with society’s overall tendency to downplay risks.

This is episode #141 of The Safety Doc Podcast


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