Is Corona virus – A Black Swan Event?

Naturopathy By Director NIN


A rare black swan has been spotted more than 9,000 miles from its native habitat drifting down a river in the West Midlands. The species, which originated in Australia, is common in wildlife parks in the UK but is rarely sighted in the wild.

Black swan event is a phrase commonly used to the disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.   

Black swan events can cause catastrophic damage to an economy, and because they cannot be predicted, can only be prepared for by building robust systems. Reliance on standard forecasting tools can both fail to predict and potentially increase vulnerability to black swans by propagating risk and offering false security.

Black swan events are unexpected and unknowable, hence get us unguarded. The psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event's massive role can leave huge repercussions. 

Black swan events were discussed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2001 book ‘Fooled By Randomness’, which concerned financial events. His 2007 book The Black Swan extended the metaphor to events outside of financial markets. Taleb regards almost all major scientific discoveries, historical events, and artistic accomplishments as "black swans"—undirected and unpredicted. He gives the rise of the Internet, the personal computer, World War I, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the September 11, 2001 attacks as examples of black swan events. 

Does it not take us to the current discourses on ‘massive’ social distancing campaigns amidst counter beliefs rallying in the media and social media posing a challenge to the administration and healthcare providers?  How arguments such as: we are a nation of thousands of year’s history, we have a culture of ‘Namaste’, we are a hot nation, and so on so forth justify their claims in the current situation? Is it difficult to understand the message that Corona virus is oblivious to all these and does its job?

Another, most exasperating tall claim that come from non-serious herbalists, acupressure practitioners, acupuncturists, unqualified naturopaths; that they have a solution to the problem and they should be allowed to treat these patients! While there was no precedent, how can they claim 100% success? In all such public health catastrophes one should not look for solutions like ‘digging the well when thirsty’.  Is there a need, and hurry to prove the efficacy of any system? 

Let us remember that, first of all, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme 'impact'.

The black swan event provides for a retrospective predictability, provided we work objectively and only by dumping subjective and inter-subjective realities which are termed as social myths by Yuval Noah Harrari into dust bin. 



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