Many of us thinks that the ‘I’ they use to refer to themselves is separate from their physical self, and perhaps takes the form of a little person who sits inside our head, looking through our eyes the way Captain Kirk looks through the screens of the Enterprise. Those who think this way are likely to be mistaken, but the mistake is a common one, and many people make it without knowing they’re doing so.
Many persons are more religious than they realise.
A person said to me recently, on the topic of what some call ‘gender reassignment’, that some of us are ‘born into the wrong body’. This is a common expression, used by persons to explain what causes a person to want to change their gender.
The idea that a person can be ‘born into the wrong body’ is physically, chemically, biologically, and philosophically illiterate. What makes the expression an interesting one has nothing to do with the ‘truth’ it contains, but rather what the expression presupposes.
The following isn’t perfect, but it will do. Imagine a factory, in which bodies are on a conveyor belt: robot arms insert the conscious mind into each head. Now imagine a fault in the celestial software which makes the belt lurch forward, throwing the bodies out of synch to their mind-inserting arms, and what is presupposed becomes clear.
Persons are not ‘born into’ their bodies at all. It is impossible, therefore, for a person to have been born into the wrong body. Every person is as nature ‘intended’.
(I marked the word out because I’m aware that ‘intention’ presupposes agency – which is obviously nonsense – but the expression is another good example of how our thoughts are saturated with the idea that consciousness can exist without the brain.)
Under ‘born into the wrong body’ is that very idea – that consciousness can exist without the brain.
What is under that idea?
Under that is the belief that we survive death.
And what is under that?
Under that, motivating everything else, is the fear of death.
Could it be that, a person can make a ‘throwaway’ remark on a topic about gender surgery, and what motivates it is a fear of death – something we weren’t talking about?