How do you measure the worth of a person?
My instinct is to deny the size of their estate or the greatness of their celebrity status, but those things clearly matter to the world at large. When a poor man dies, he gets a small obituary. When a movie star dies, or a multi-millionaire, he gets his picture on the news while Tom Brokaw talks about how famous he is.
But maybe it's not so much the fame and fortune that matters, but the influence that goes with it. When President Regan died, there was all this talk about his influence on conservatism and the economy and politics in general. When great evangelists and other religious leaders die, there is talk about the influence they had on the population and on the individuals closest to them. But where does this leave the relatively unknown? Surely they have impacted lives in less obvious ways. Are they not worth just as much? Does their worth depend on what kind of influence they've had?
And what about deeds? How does that determine your value? Do you add all the good ones and subtract the bad ones? Do you get more points for saving someone's life than for talking them through a mental breakdown? Do all the small good things add up to one big thing? If you kill one person but save the lives of two others, does that put you ahead? Do the rules change if you're engaged in military combat on behalf of your country?
Are you worth more if someone believes in you? Are you worth more if you believe in yourself?