Here?s why legal systems and governments tend to fuck people over when they are designed to help them
?There?s nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people??Thomas Jefferson
Person ? a human being regarded as an individual.Human ? characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, especially in being susceptible to weaknesses.(If you notice something funny in the definitions, bear with me until the end)
Treating someone as a person means treating him or her as an individual.
When you treat someone as a person, you recognize that he or she is another individual, different from yourself, who has his/her own hopes and disappointments. They have their own fears, strengths and weaknesses that may be identical, similar or completely different from yourself.When you treat someone as a person, you treat them as a man, woman or anything in between depending on the individual person. You respect that person. You understand that this person has a story to tell and you are curious to learn more about it without judgment.
But what if you treat someone as a human?
If you treat someone as a human, you acknowledge the fact that you are not different from them. Paradoxically you treat them as an individual and as an indifferent member of a pre-defined group.
When you treat someone as a person, you are fair and you try to give them what they deserve, whether it be good or bad.But when you treat someone as a human you realize that sometimes we all need something that we don?t deserve. I love the final words from the Dark Knight because they signify exactly this very idea (?He?s not the hero we deserve, but the one we need?)Treating someone as a human being instead of a person is often irrational, selfless, and detrimental to our own good. It means giving someone a chance that they never earned, forgiveness that they don?t deserve, or power that they can?t handle.
As I explained in the beginning: if you noticed something funny about the definitions that I posted, then you were correct. I used the definition of person as a noun, but when I defined human I defined it as an adjective. I did that on purpose because I think that?s even more beautiful and?human?When we define human as a noun and we talk about people in this way, we are [linguistically?literally?] treating them as ?an object that carries out a certain action or holds a certain quality.? But notice what happens when we define human as an adjective and we talk about people in this way instead. Suddenly there is no object and all we have is a quality. Metaphysically-speaking, you can say ?red? is a color and there is such thing as ?redness? but it only exists when it?s applied to an object. There is no such thing as ?being red? unless there is a being or object that we can label as ?red?.
But what about ?human?? Is there such a thing as ?human? when there is no object or any ?being? to apply this to?
The answer is obvious.
Yes. There most definitely is. It?s right there in front of you. There is such a thing as ?being human? and in fact the only thing that can truly be human is a human being. Without human beings there can be no ?humanity? (even Descartes couldn?t think his way out of this one).
So when we want to be fair, politically-correct, open, understanding, and loving, the solution is not ?treat everyone as a person? but the answer is ?treat everyone as an individual human?. Furthermore, the person is no longer an object, s/he is a quality. Forgive me for the arrogance in this next sentence, but: There are all these movements today that think they know what they are doing and that think they understand the problem, but they themselves are part of the problem. People complain about objectifying women or dehumanizing minorities, but the reality is that the only way to fix these things is by defining people as adjectives, and it?s impossible to say ?all women/immigrants/gays/etc have a right to ____? because the only true statement is ?all women/immigrants/gays/etc have a right to BE women/immigrant/gay/etc.? If you try to argue that women are a specific type of thing (i.e. object), you have already lost the game. You are telling yourself that there is such a thing as ?being a woman? which all women can relate to and understand. But that is absolutely false. You show me a quality that ?all women have? and I will show you a woman who does not have it.
So what?s the solution?
Paradoxically, the solution is to treat everyone you know as a human adjective instead of a personal object, but since all humans are different you have no idea what that/each human adjective means until you meet them and get to know them. You may use statistics or probability to judge whether they might fit a certain type of human, but don?t assume a single thing about them. Please. For the love of god, don?t generalize. Don?t tell yourself that you ?know? anything, because you don?t. If we want to make this place a better world for all humanity, then everyone you meet is no longer a person(noun), s/he is a human (adjective) and it is your duty to find out what that ?adjective? means for this particular human being. Because we are all different and there is no single correct way to treat everyone.
Just imagine if everyone did this.