Dreaming the Limits of my Faith

2016.12.23, 2017.04.24

Warning: this post contains semi-graphic content just as I dreamed it.

I had a dream this morning, a half hour before my alarm was set to go off. In this dream, one of my children had a minor medical problem. I don't know what the medical problem was, but I think the child was Becca who, in some ways, is the most innocent of my children compared to her age. We turned her over to the care of medical doctors who did their diagnosis work and planned for a procedure to help her recover.

At this point, I must pause and provide some mental context. I am fascinated by how far the medical profession has gone. Every decade they are able to do more, to cure more. They are able to remove body parts, replace body parts, open up the human body to repair deeply hidden body parts. Sometimes it seems they have nearly reduced medical treatment to an engineering problem. But, I am one who has thought long and hard about things such as the teleportation depicted in the humanist and reductionist Star Trek. I have decided that if science could some day learn how to transport a person's physical body through the air in the form of a stream of particles or in the form of data, it would certainly kill that person. I believe that science and medical practice will never fully reduce the human soul to a human body-machine or to data that can be represented by a physically coded signal.

In that context, you should be as jarred by disbelief as I was when the doctors in my dream showed me what they had started to do with my little girl. For the minor medical problem she had (I don't know what it was), they found it convenient to completely dissect her. Not only was she dismembered, but her various types of organ were separated from each other and placed carefully in different compartments of a type of crate lying on a table. It looked like a small meat display case at a grocery store. There were no coverings, no preservative liquids. There was nothing remaining intact that looked like it belonged to a human child.

I instantly realized -- as you can only do in dreams -- that they found this dissected state of the human body easier to work with. They would affect a cure in whatever part seamed best and then they would put it all back together. I was horrified and repulsed by this infinitely precarious situation and immediately woke up, unable to sleep any more.

What am I to make of this dream? I know some people who have that level of faith in human reasoning or medical skill. They believe medical science will some day allow doctors to reconstruct a human body like a Frankenstein's monster or a robot. Apparently they live in the world of my dreams.

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