The cost of ranking

If you asked a mother of two to pick a favourite between her children, what would her answer be?

Most mothers would refuse to answer that question. But you could force them to pick an answer. What if these children were stuck in a fire and the mother had the choice of rescuing only one among the two?

This question itself is toxic – the very act of answering it feels base. A question that forces you to rank your children erodes the meaning of parenthood. As a parent, you are better off ignoring it entirely.

One could extend this thought experiment to several other dimensions. The act of ranking one’s friends erodes friendship. The act of ranking ones vacations keeps us from enjoying each one to the fullest. The act of ranking children for adoption undermines the generous act of adoption.

We live in a world where ranking is ubiquitous. Yet, the act of ranking comes at a cost, which we don’t have to pay if we refuse to do the ranking.

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