Zombies? Identity? Transgender? Consciousness?



Amber Hawkes, News editor

What is consciousness? Why can we feel things?  These questions seem to have no answer, no matter who you ask there is no definitive answer with reliable proof. In 1994, David Chalmers gave a talk on consciousness and the “Zombie” effect. Oliver Burkeman describes the event and the way this young philosopher presented himself at such a monumentary conference throughout the philosophical and psychological fields.


Why do we process thoughts and actions? Why aren’t we essentially in survival mode? Is our concessioness our soul or is it just a function of the brain? Wouldn’t you love to know why we are who we are, if god(s) is real, or are we just a product of the big bang? Religion is one of the most prevalent topics in our society. In almost every field of work or education there are new discoveries. Our whole lives we’ve watched and contributed to the world developing, adapting, and changing. Throughout psychology we have learned about mental health and brain functions and how these factors make up who we are.Throughout the world many religions have been made. Several believing in something beyond human control and in a greater power. Is our consciousness connected to our physical brain. This becomes a big debate especially when we look at the transgender community.


The transgender community still has a wideley known stigma surrounding it. There are many transgenders in our communities who keep a very low profile in fear of becoming an outcast, receiving threats, or even being harmed by others in our society. They receive all of this hate just because their conscious mind doesn’t align with their physical body. No matter who you are, shouldn’t you have the right to listen to yourself, to your identity, and make these decisions based off your mind without getting everyone’s input from the world surrounding you. No one is inside your mind this is why psychologists have yet to figure out what consciousness really is. Every person has their own ability to think, feel, and interpret things throughout their life in a different way than everyone else. 


In October, there was a custody battle in Texas invovling a 7 year old transgender female. The case became very public getting a lot of mixed opinions about whether the child was being ‘manipulated’ into being transgender due to the age of the child. Affirming a child’s opinion and desired name/ pronouns is what most psychologists say is the best way to address the situation.  


In a study done by two spanish psychologists it shows how transgenders brains have more similarities to their prefered gender compared to a non-trans male and female brain. Francine Russo talks about the study quoting on of the scientists saying, “‘Trans people have brains that are different from males and females, a unique kind of brain,’ Guillamon says. ‘It is simplistic to say that a female-to-male transgender person is a female trapped in a male body. It’s not because they have a male brain but a transsexual brain.’ Of course, behavior and experience shape brain anatomy, so it is impossible to say if these subtle differences are inborn.” These findings could change the way the transgender community is looked at by the world. Potentially, the conscious brain of a trangender person could be realizing that their brain isn’t aligning with their body correctly which can be altered to fit their identity more accurately. 


Identity, is looked at as who we are, what we value and who we want to be. There are several aspects that make up our identity and can be seen as a personal choice with several factors playing into it. Consciousness and identity go hand in hand when finding out who you really are. Without a conscious how would you be able to have an identity, you wouldn’t.