From Wuhan to Covid-19
Derek Cabrera, PhD
Derek Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is an internationally known systems scientist and serves on the faculty of Cornell University where he teaches systems thinking, systems leadership, and systems mapping and is Program Director for the Graduate Certification Program in Systems Thinking, Modeling, and Leadership (STML). He is a senior scientist at Cabrera Research Lab. He’s authored 8 books including, Systems Thinking Made Simple and Flock Not Clock.
More posts by Derek Cabrera, PhD
Derek Cabrera, PhD
We make #distinctions constantly. We really cannot NOT make a distinction. Despite their constancy, like breathing, it becomes something we take for granted. Few of us, when starting the car, remember the early days when our natal minds struggled with distinguishing a car from a truck. When the words didn’t fall from the lips with ease—t-r-u-c-k— when sounding it out slowly paralleled our brain’s processing of what it was and what it wasn’t. That’s why whenever something new comes along, I pay particular attention to how we grapple with distinguishing it: New mars rover discoveries, new chupacabra, new scientific discoveries, new deadly virus strains, etc.
Distinguishing this new virus occurs on many levels and evolves overtime:
* Wuhan virus
* Part of the corona viruses that includes the common cold
* novel coronavirus
* Symptoms like the flu but different and deadlier
• “the one that proteins kind of look like a crown under an electron microscope
* Not SARS or MERS but equally or possibly more deadly and scary?
This interview is excellent in showing all the problems and considerations wrought in making a single distinction. https://www.npr.org/…/coronavirus-presents-first-test-of-ne…
DSRP helps us understand this boundary creating distinction process as requiring two elements: an identity and an other. So we think of distinctions in shorthand as “Distinction-identity/other” or just “Dio”). We cannot distinguishing this new coronavirus without comparing and contrasting it to its other near-neighbors (i.e., SARS, MERS, Coronavirus, etc) and evening to other things it’s like but not the same as (i.e., a crown, the flu, etc).
Because the virus itself will perpetually be thought of in a negative way, we should be careful that whatever name we give it isn’t tied to a people, place, or thing. Stephen Colbert did a bit last night on the new name: Covind-19. Not tied to a place or people, but not great for the long standing cable connectivity company called Covid (covid dot com).
#systemsthinking #dsrp #systemsthinkingdaily #cabreraresearch #distinctionmaking #boundary #identityother
To avoid giving offense or creating stigma, the WHO guidelines recommend against naming new pathogens — the emerging coronavirus, for instance — after people, places, ethnic groups, animals or foods.