The other night, my wife and I were debating whether or not someone who committed a crime decades earlier should be allowed to go free if they’ve been good citizens for the other decades. My wifes position, was no – they should be punished. My argument was that if prison was about rehabilition, then we should not punish them. I see my wifes point. If someone hurt her, I’d want vengence. On the other hand, does that make society a better place?
Rather than even contemplating that, I took a step back. Who are we really punishing?
The fact is, even five years ago I was a totally different person. Just the other day I was listening to some of my old music collection and I was really enjoying a song – only to find out when I checked who it was, IT WAS ME (for reference I used to play sax, panio, guitar, sing, and write music / poetry). The fact I can’t even recall a song I wrote not five years ago makes me question if I have alziemers, but also helps me recognize we all change. I should note, this song thing has happened more than once. It’s almost an out of body experience hearing something you wrote, but can’t remember – as if it was a different person all together.
As my roommate Robb likes to put it, “present Robb is dead, long live future Robb!” His sentiment is right, who we are today is not anywhere near who we will be in the future.
The fact is we – our souls – are fluid. I’ve noticed many times in my life that I simply move past things. I spent years obtaining a skill in playing the saxophone, tutoring, winning competitions, playing in bands, playing solo, only to give it up in an instance, when I decided to go to school for computer science. Looking back, I don’t even recognize my own music, which I spent hours or days creating.
We adapt, we move on, and quite frankly perhaps we should focus our judicial system on the same thing. Rehabilitation, helping families where we can, and recognizing we all evolve.