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Bullet Points

Updated on August 13, 2020
Aydasara profile image

Aydasara Ortega Torres is a Faculty Member of Psychology, Research Methods and Statistics.

Stories Are How We Remember

Stories are how we remember;
we tend to forget lists and bullet points.

  • “In early 2020, after a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified SARS-CoV-2 as a new type of coronavirus. The outbreak quickly spread around the world.”

We develop “our” own individual understanding of illness.

  • “In this period of global uncertainty, the public is being inundated by information (and misinformation) from news sources, social media, and the community about the spread of COVID-19 and disease more generally.”

“Our” collective understanding as well.

  • “Harvard Medical School's HMX Online Learning team is offering a selection of immunity-related videos and interactive materials to help with understanding how the body reacts to threats like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”

And we develop “our” responses in turn.

  • The response to the coronavirus “is becoming a confused and agitated blend of health guidance, protest and partisan politics — leaving residents to fend for themselves.”


We Tend To Forget

All in a world that is not of “our” own making.

  • “Our state, and every state, and all nation states negotiate that same state of emergency. We share a common necessity to preserve human life and health. And most of us do that from circumscribed confines not of our own making.”

A world where “our” daily options are played out by:

  1. access to health care

  2. the media

  3. social status and resources.

  • “What’s more, the underlying problems of U.S. economic inequality today will only prolong and deepen this coronavirus recession. Historically high economic inequality has concentrated economic resources among those at the very top of the U.S. income and wealth ladders while leading to fewer and fewer protections for the economic security of workers and their families. This has left the United States particularly vulnerable to shocks such as health, climate, and economic crises.”

Lists And Bullet Points

A world where “our” experience with illness and how it is handled continues to reinforce the existing structures of power.

  • “This global pandemic gives us an opportunity to really look carefully at health inequities [...] what we understand more and more is that the structural factors—how the country votes, whether or not people have medical insurance, whether or not people are able to get sick days—these are all things that influence individual health and health of populations in profound ways, certainly more than just their individual personal habits.”

Leaders use story to author the future.

© 2020 Aydasara Ortega Torres


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