How to be a person among persons

This week I read Kevin Simler’s Per­son­hood: A Game for Two or More Play­ers, a soci­o­log­i­cal essay on what it means to be a per­son. It’s a real­ly inter­est­ing piece, of the type that makes me pause every few para­graphs in order to high­light a real­ly inter­est­ing point. For exam­ple, this expla­na­tion of the ben­e­fits of per­son­hood:

Being a per­son enti­tles you to con­duct your­self among per­sons. Or to be more pre­cise: The more per­son­hood you dis­play, the more you’ll be wel­come in the soci­ety of per­sons.

And what I thought to be a quite bril­liant sum­ma­ry of tran­si­tion­ing to adult­hood in soci­ety:

A large part of grow­ing up con­sists of inter­nal­iz­ing the social con­se­quences of fail­ing to main­tain integri­ty.

He also talks about per­son­hood in terms of being a fic­tion­al con­struct, which I found par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing because I’ve recent­ly fin­ished read­ing Yuval Harari’s book, Sapi­ens, which also talks about cul­ture and human­i­ty in terms of fic­tions. But I’ll write more about that sep­a­rate­ly.

Per­son­hood is always a fic­tion: the fic­tion of being a con­sis­tent, sin­gu­lar agent.

I prob­a­bly haven’t done the arti­cle jus­tice with my choice of quotes here. It’s real­ly quite fas­ci­nat­ing, and I rec­om­mend it to you.