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Dreaming of a solution to the COVID-19 crisis

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Dreaming of a solution to the COVID-19 crisis

I don’t put much stock in the meaning of dreams, but last night I had a very vivid one I feel compelled to share.

My dream was an algorithm. I don’t remember all the details, but essentially the goal of the algorithm was to escape a puzzle. The puzzle was the algorithm itself. As in all algorithms, I would make choices which would lead to the making of other choices.

At no time could I escape the puzzle or the algorithm if at any time along the way I made any choice for personal freedom. The only successful navigation of the puzzle required avoiding any selection of any personal freedom option. However, as long as I avoided any personal freedom option I could fairly easily and quickly exit the puzzle and resolve the algorithm.

In the dream I also applied the algorithm to the current COVID crisis. Again, any time I made a personal freedom choice the virus could not be overcome. Only by surrendering personal freedom could the virus be overcome.

Personal freedom choices included wearing masks, going out to dinner, having worship and many similar things. These choices were quite vivid as was the algorithm itself. COVID could not be overcome without the total avoidance of personal freedom options. Schools could not reopen. The curve could not be flattened. Even vaccines did not help all that much.

I am not just telling a story here. My dream was real and woke me up. I decided to get it written as soon as I could. Make whatever you will of it, I cannot stop thinking about it.

Please feel free to play analyst with me. My dream convinces me that the human freedoms we enjoy in our society may be the chief impediments to our successfully overcoming COVID.

To reopen our society we may need to surrender personal liberty for a time. For schools and churches and businesses to reopen we may need to sacrifice freedoms.

It was a dream, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Tom Hartshorn is the pastor of Christ Reformed United Church of Christ.