Today is Thanksgiving, when we celebrate the day that Americans fed illegal immigrants from Europe.
My blog represents my personal experiences and perspectives. This includes many anecdotes from my medical practice. I have been scrupulous to anonymize these anecdotes and to avoid ever belittling or making fun of patients. (I often make fun of and criticize myself, my colleagues, and the institutions where I have worked.)
Have a pleasant conversation.
Ask, don't tell.
Listen to learn.
Stories and ideas, not facts.
I'm a Hannah Arendt fan. She often took two words that were often used as synonyms, identified a difference, and then found meaning in that difference. For example, consider the words action and behavior:
It’s not that far, really.
Just off my back deck and down the hill
Through what I still remember as pasture for our mare,
To the little wooden foot bridge o’er the stream.
No, it’s not that far in steps, though in full winter
When the snow is newly deep, the going is slow and makes you wish
You’d bothered with your snow shoes.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple spheres of American society is a novel event. Some have used the term black swan, Taleb's term for an event that can't be anticipated because it is outside the realm of experience. I prefer to think of it as a gray rhino, Michele Wucker's term for the big and obvious thing coming at you that you don't want to acknowledge. I think of this as a threat to our society writ large, not just as a threat to our economy or even just to public health. I think those narrow framings guarantee inadequate analysis and response.
As the severity of the novel coronavirus becomes obvious to more and more people, and as they begin to grasp the depth and duration of the changes in daily life that will be required of all of us, it is worth thinking about the need to protect and strengthen the social fabric on which we all depend. In fact, the changes are likely to be so profound that they provide an opportunity for a 'reboot' into a new 'operating system' better designed for our future than our past.
This snippet nicely expresses what I hope anchors our core values going forward: