Zones Of Antagonism

The strangely entertaining (for a foreigner) New York Times Close Up slot features as its host the accomplished yet bizarrely expressionless Sam Roberts. On NY1 this weekend featured an English author’s new book.

Peter Pringle in Experiment Eleven (reviews on this Amazon link) documents the subterfuge and politics surrounding the birth of the pharma industry by way of a key antibiotic discovery.

He prefaced the intrigue by explaining the experimental process. Scientists went into a field, took a handful of soil back to the lab, separated out all the bacteria they found, then pitted pairs against each other in a petri dish. Their aim was to distinguish good bacteria from the harmful, then see which good defeated what bad.

Success came when a ‘clear zone’ appeared, where the good had prevented the bad from spreading. These are apparently termed Zones of Antagonism.

The word antagonism, for me, represents a sort of winding someone up by taking an opposing stance. And you can be antagonistic towards anything.

A quick web search, highlights a definition more insightful in this context;

inhibition of or interference with the action of a substance or organism by another

This of course has an interesting Sales parallel.

Shall we amusingly equate a less than enamoured person with us at a prospect to potentially harmful bacteria? Their negative vibes can damagingly spread, infecting those more disposed to our proposal so that their enthusiasm begins to ebb away, perhaps even to the point it becomes smothered and dies.

Well, with a simple piece of political mapping you can isolate such people. Once you’ve found them, you can then plan how to create your own ‘zone of antagonism’ to nullify their progress.

If we take our lead from these pioneering biologists, then where are your good bacteria that can make this happen for you?

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