The first computers were free-standing machines. Later, we learned how to hook them up and the result was an enormous increase in computing power. A parallel shift in our notion of selfhood is called for. The current default self, subscribed to by most people most of the time, is a stand-alone model. The new default self, to be posited in this essay, is more like a computer network.
What does it mean to treat other persons as ends-in-themselves and never merely as means? Well, the central idea is that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, that in all of our interactions, even with those with whom we disagree, or whom we don't like, or who may even disgust us in some way, we must engage them in ways that recognize their humanity.