When we think that we are persons, we are immediately enmeshed in a ranking system. According to this system, the death of a queen is vastly more important than the death of an unbaptized orphan in a country with no weapon systems and a minor league GDP. The word ‘person’ comes from the Latin for actor’s mask. Clearly, there’s no benefit to be derived from reforming our systems. We just need clarity about who we are not.
The judgements of young boys, as Emerson noted, are swift, confident, and summary. Eventually, they become more equivocal, less certain. Their eyes flicker. They begin to speak from the calculator in the head.