There’s a lot of comfort in the myth of personality—the myth that says people just are who they are—but it’s not true. The reality, I think, is that personality is always in flux and it’s always contingent on context. The rough materials of a personality may stay the same, but people grow or they shrink, they get better or they get worse. Some people gain wisdom. Others calcify in old ways of thinking.
Hinkson articulates why I believe in neither punishment nor redemption. Unless you catch and punish a person at the exact moment that they commit the crime, you can’t punish that person, because they won’t exist for long enough. By the time a person is executed for murder, the murderer is long gone, and the person who is executed has been reborn many times.