Soul. Spirit. Essence.
Whatever you call it, even after we've long given up the idea of an after-life or all-knowing force guiding our fate, even atheists have a hard time giving up on the idea of 'self.'
It's pretty strange to face the idea that we are not this any one thing, but really a very complex combinations of biological and neurological reactions. Chemicals that are released in our brains make us feel he way we do. Our perception is really 90% interpretation. Can you swallow the idea that we don't have filters, but we ARE the filters?
To say that 'you' is 'you' and nothing more than organic matter takes a pretty complex understanding of anatomy and neurology. Probably should add in a good dose of psychology and psychiatrics, as well. And yet...and yet we still pretend that if our loved one suffers a traumatic head injury and survives, they are still the same person just by still retaining a pulse.
A total fucking vegetative state is only just now legally debatable as even being alive. How then can something so ambiguous and yet so fundamental as personality be overlooked?
Traumatic head injuries that result in major demeanor shifts sometimes quite literally means that the person you once knew no longer exists. No, it isn't a gray area of supernatural, but how else can we explain it? It isn't hyperbole to call these people 'ghosts.' Their brains no longer function in a way resembling that of what they were prior to trauma. Legends of demonic possession came about for a reason. Once damaged, the reconstruction of the human brain can now be even more radically different. Why? Because as technology advances, so does the survival rate of extremely severe injuries. Our medicine keeps getting better, so a head injury that would have been lethal a decade ago simply isn't more than a few extra weeks in the hospital and routine scans.
The god of gaps grows ever smaller with the constant erosion of the human supernatural as we learn more an more about what IS natural.
And yet, some regions of the brain remain barely explored.
Can you, do you believe that there is some thread within us that makes us really 'us?'
I'm not talking about energy or divinity or anything woo here.
I mean some purely unique neurological impulses that could be identified as the center of self. Explained by science, accepted by medicine, explained by Multiverse theory....whatever.