In A Dimension Where Covid-19 Did Not Exist

Original source: Celia Martinez Bravo / FreeImages

In this version of the world, Covid-19 hasn’t come to be known and thousands of people who would have departed, walk among us unassumingly. They look at us as they always did, sometimes they even dare to argue with us and other times the grace to hug us. Should they have a reason to suspect anything?

In this Covid-19 free scenario, my hands are softer and my mind holds firmer certainties. I don’t recall the details of my house so well or the details of how everyone who lives in it acts. As a whole, we know fewer food recipes and fewer games.

On no day of the year was any scarcity of selfies taken from the crowded streets of Rome, Prague or New York. There was no coronavirus to clear out those places that no longer knew how to exist deserted. I see these people smiling at the camera as if they have discovered a new kind of happiness for themselves, one that will not fade, that doesn’t seem to suffer any risk.

Without a pandemic invading my reality, I spend more than I should, as a kind of a frontal challenge to financial laws. I have been through several years of frail economy, but I would never suspect that within a few months the country’s economy could recede so much. And with this naivety, I ask for another overpriced beer.

In this dimension, my knowledge is shallower, I underestimate what just soap and water can accomplish and I ignore that the Spanish Flu took more people’s lives than the First World War. For me, SARS and Ebola sound more like themes of a disaster movie and not like a risk that should have concerned me. And, not by chance, before I finish my overpriced beer, I try to buy through an app two tickets to my favorite movie theater in town. All its two hundred seats have already been sold out and this makes me disproportionately angry. Of course, I could go to another screening or another cinema, but it is effortless to get anything to maintain an internal contempt, regardless of which dimension we are.

Something tells me that I should strike a better balance between appreciation and anger. It’s a very reasonable idea, so reasonable that I can’t imagine any objection to it. However, this doesn’t prevent this idea from being diluted amongst other ideas, dwindled by the cell phone’s warnings and by the flow of microdecisions and microdistractions along the course of the day. There is never any rest in this world without Covid-19.

Science Fiction Spurred by Covid-19

When we read about the new normal or the post-pandemic reality, normally we see a consensus about more remote work or speeding up digitalization. That makes total sense; at the same time, though, there is a problem: that makes sense because it requires little of our imagination. More remote work and digital processes are just more of the known trends; in contrast, we could think more like a science fiction author to see further on the horizon. In other words, let’s consciously exaggerate and imagine some other developments :

  • 100% automation plus minimum income. Human bodies can contract viruses; human brains can contract memes and fake news. For all that, let’s the machines do the physical work and the calculus; as long as the high productivity achieved by this sustains the basic income for us.
  • Full virtual and augmented reality. Depending on moving your body through contagious places in an attempt to have good experiences, it’s, all in all, an obsolete idea. Give me the beautiful Italy in my bedroom.
  • Uploading our minds in non-organic supports. From bat, cows, birds, viruses find a home in our poor cells. Until now: why don’t we get rid of this mortal organic platform? We are never happy with the look of it in the first place! Perhaps, with our artificial bodies, we could meet in real Italy for once.

This fictional world could seem strange and cold, but so are the viruses. To summarize, they don’t mind about what we think. On the other hand, until they caught us all, we are free to conceive some outrageous solutions.


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