What is humanity? What is personhood? Are the two synonymous? These are questions that seem philosophically obvious: of course it is possible for a non-human entity to have personhood, to deserve the moral treatment we reserve for people. But when confronted by persons who don’t look like us, again and again throughout history we have failed to move beyond our visceral feelings of discomfort.

Maybe you don’t agree that extraterrestrials have landed yet. Maybe you don’t believe the reports of people coming home from the wars changed. Tell me that you have never experienced alienation, that you have never looked at the face of a loved one, and felt that they were unusually “other” that day.

The physical manifestation of a person is not fixed, it morphs with perception. As we change, so do the forms of those around us. Now, more than ever, we need to remember that our bodies can lie, but our spirits an always recognize the common personhood underneath, if we give them time to speak to us.

Leave a Reply