Dream of:15 March 1996 "What Good Am I?"
I walked over to a small white sink on one wall of the room in which I found myself. In my hand I was carrying a flat brown cardboard pizza box which I set down in the sink. I did not think of the box as a pizza box, but instead equated it with a book which I had read several times, Der Prozess by Franz Kafka. As I looked at myself in the small mirror hanging above the sink, a startling revelation came to me.
I recalled that Der Prozess had been the story of a man known only as K., who one morning had been placed under arrest and had been faced with trial. K., however, had never been told what his crime had been, and all through the book he had struggled to prove his innocence. Every time I had read the book I had strongly identified with K., and I had always believed in his innocence.
Now in a flash, however, I realized something quite disturbing: what if K. had actually been guilty? What if all along, K. had known he had committed a crime and had known exactly what his crime had been? What if the book had been so cleverly written that K. would only seem to be innocent, when in reality he had actually been guilty? What if the book had been written so an astute reader would be able to discern K.'s guilt?
This revelation was extremely upsetting to me because I had been so certain that K. had been innocent. It shook me to the core to think it possible that I could have been so wrong about something like that. What else had I been wrong about? Perhaps I was even wrong about some of my fundamental beliefs about myself.
I looked more closely at myself in the mirror. I had a thin face and a burr haircut. I did not look more than 25 years old, but my face was in terrible shape. On different places of my face, something appeared to be moving under my skin, causing my flesh to move up and down in different spots.
I looked closely at myself – could I even be wrong about who I was? What was I doing with my life? I thought how my father had wanted me to practice law, and how I had given up my law practice to write books of dreams. I had abandoned a secure lucrative normal life to pursue some path that seemed fraught with uncertainty. I felt myself seriously looking at myself and saying, "Are you crazy?"
As if in answer, a song began going through my head. It was a Bob Dylan song which I thought was titled "What Good Am I." I recalled a line from the song which went "What good am I, if I'm like all the rest?" I knew immediately what it meant. I was not like all the rest, or at least I was not supposed to be like all the rest. I just had to accept who I was and what I was supposed to do, and go on from there.
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