I'm reading berserk currently and came across this sentence
I read this usage of である the same way I would read it as if it was の (人のこと). Are they interchangeable here? If not what is the difference between the two?
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I believe 在る here is used not as part of the copula である but in the actual literal meaning of "to exist". This is partly hinted by the use of kanji instead of kana (though it is not a 100% indicator with manga).
I.e. the meaning is roughly:
"people tend to forget that they exist as humans"
"people tend to forget that they're humans"
According to デジタル大辞泉, 在る can apply to people:
(when perceiving existence as objective or abstract) people existing. to be (of an animate object). "Once upon a time, there were an old man and wife". "there are also people who disagree".
to live in this world. to exist "while [I] am/exist in the world".
Another example that comes to my mind is this line from the song Hemisphere (RahXephon Opening):
I want to keep existing as me until I turn into ashes