A journal entry from 24 Jan 2013
A dream last night: I had been found guilty of a crime — and rightfully so, a crime I had actually committed. While waiting for the sentencing, I was kept in an “enormous room,” like the Cummings novel. I met many colorful characters milling about, waiting as I was for their own judgments. One character turned out to be a judge in disguise — the very one presiding over my case. I learned that I had already earned nine out of the ten things required to have my sentence commuted. The judge awarded me the tenth because of some generous, compassionate thing he had seen me do while we were in the enormous room. He said that by doing so, I had demonstrated how much I had changed for the better since I had committed the original crime.
I was grateful, but I knew (and did not say) that both actions — the crime, and the subsequent act of compassion — were driven by the same motivation, and that in truth I had not changed at all. The only thing that had changed was how society saw the two actions: they claimed one was a crime and the other a charity, and that therefore no single person could have done both without having gone through some sort of transformation.
But I knew otherwise.