Updated: Mar 18, 2021
Good morning. The alarm is going off! You fumble around to hit the snooze button to snatch a few more moments of rest before the day begins. As you roll back over, the sheets feel differently than usual as they tug across your skin.
Still drowsy, you get up and wander over to your dresser, stretching, and letting out a yawn. “That was a strange yawn,” you think to yourself as you slide open a dresser drawer. What is this? These aren't my clothes! Looking around the bedroom in confusion, a mirror captures your stare. Who is that? Why is that face looking at me?!
This, dear reader, is where I want your mind to begin. Regardless of your political, theological, or physiological views on transgenderism, take a moment to imagine the terror, confusion, and deep pain of feeling like your body is not your own. Of course, this realization may not happen all at once, but nevertheless, go ahead and fill in the next few hours of your own life, starting with the events I wrote above. Can you imagine going to work that day? What about meeting your friends? The clothes you saw in the dresser feel foreign; which ones actually match who you are? How do you plan to present yourself to the world?
This is a thorny and sensitive subject, but that is no reason to shy away. It is incumbent upon all of us to live authentically according to the Truth. If we feed a false self, we go hungry. If we clothe a false self, we are left naked and exposed. If we build a life and a home for a false self, we are left destitute and alone. Therefore, few questions take on such importance as the question of who we really are.
Such questions back us up all the way to philosophy, where our examination begins. As you may have noticed, trans-activists are most likely to see Christians, particularly traditional ones, as standing athwart their movement. That is why we will be contrasting these two views.
If you listen to the rhetoric from the trans movement, it is easy to spot hallmarks of Marxist thought. Their struggle is largely viewed through an oppressor vs oppressed paradigm, where structures of power must be systematically dismantled. Springing out of the sexual revolution of the 60’s, which was heavily influenced by Marxist thought, it is no surprise that they inherited certain philosophical ideas. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, how many trans-people do you know are advocates for radical free-markets, and how many are socialists?
As you can read in more detail in my article on Marxist philosophy, Marxism is a derivative of Hegelian thought. His dialectical approach is meant to be an alternative to traditional Greek logic that is subsumed by Christian, and by extension, Western thinking. As a result, trans-thinking and traditional Western/ Christian thinking don’t run on the same philosophical operating system at all and are thoroughly incompatible. So, what is Hegelian thought in a nutshell?
Hegel is an idealist, meaning that ideas are real things and that the understanding of the mind is more real than the reality of external beings. In contrast, a realist would say that beings outside of our minds exist and have natures that are entirely independent of our minds.
Example: If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound? Most of us would respond, yes, of course it would. Hegel, as an absolute idealist would say no. Furthermore, he may go on to say that since it was never perceived by a mind, it never existed in the first place.
You may already see where this dovetails into transgender thought. We Greek and Christian thinkers identify a transgender person’s body as a mind independent reality that will retain its nature, regardless of one’s perception of it. The Hegelian would say the mind’s conception of an idea is the definition of reality. In the Hegelian view, a transgender person’s self conception is not up for debate, it is, in fact, the basis for reality itself.
So, who is right? There are a variety of arguments against absolute idealism but I’ll try to outline one of them:
Imagine two minds: one is mine, and one is yours. As you are reading these words, we are transferring information from my mind to yours. If you accept that this is the case, you are acknowledging that there are not two but three, existing things in this scenario: my mind, your mind, and the information. Without a separate existence from my mind, the information in this paragraph would not be able to be transferred to you, or if it was, it would have to be transferred by somehow fusing my entire mind with yours, which obviously isn’t the case.
Here is a more tangible example. You could experience using a pencil that is made out of wood. This wood is a result of a logger felling a tree in a forest which you have never perceived. Either the wood exists regardless of a mind conceiving of it, or it doesn’t. If the first case is true, then this means that absolute idealism is false and realism is true. If the second possibility is true, then the wood must have gone out of existence after the logger ceased thinking of it, only to come back into existence when you are using the pencil. I could try to explain why this is absurd, but this should be self-evident. Taking this second view would be proposing that there is no real causal connection between the pencil and the tree from which it came, nor is there a connection between you the pencil user and the pencil producers. As we can see, this is entirely incongruent with any of our experiences with reality, nor is it the result of rational deduction.
These examples are meant to show that without mind independent realities, there is no way for minds to interact with one another. But they do interact, and within the same structure of reality, and therefore realism is true.
A realist view of transgenderism would say that there is a “truth of the matter” about a person’s sex or gender that is not dependent on their, or anyone else’s, mental conception.
Hegel is also an ontological monist meaning he believes that only one thing really exists. He calls this thing, “The Great Spirit”. All of the diverse parts of reality are ultimately a small sliver of this great spirit. Our job is to reassemble these parts and therefore come to a higher understanding of things. The way this is done is through the process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
There a a few basic “Means of negation” that are tools to find synthetic truths. His first one is called the “Division of Being”. Here the task is to take two unlike things and smash them together in order to show that they are actually united. The transgender movement uses this first means of negation to set up Man vs its antithesis, Woman. Transgenderism is an attempt to create a synthetic third that resolves the inherent tension.
Marx takes Hegelian philosophy and attempts to make it strictly materialist. Whereas Hegel would say that only ideas, logical propositions, math, and such things exist, Marx says the opposite. He claims all things are strictly material, while attempting to retain much of the rest of Hegelian thought. In this respect, the transgender movement is taking a cue from Marx. The tension of the dialectic process is not limited to their mind, but played out by reshaping their bodies.
You may have noticed that both of these philosophies seem hamstrung by a one dimensional view of reality. In contrast, Aristotelian thought sees reality as a composite of matter and form, material and immaterial. Christian thought sees the world in the same way: people have a body and a soul. Something like a wooden chair is the same material as a tree, but differs in form. If the chair is smashed, the material remains but the from is removed.
The one dimensionality of Hegel’s idealism doesn’t make sense because we clearly witness that material things are real and different in nature from immaterial things. Furthermore, mind independent realities are the only way to make sense of the interrelation with other minds.
Likewise, the one dimensionality of materialism doesn’t match reality either. We know that numbers, logical propositions, emotions, consciousness, and intentionality are all not material, and yet they exist and influence reality.
In either of the systems above, if you hold an idea, in a very real sense, you are the idea. For Marx, the idea itself doesn’t really exist; what we would call an idea is synonymous with you acting according to what you are. If you act evil, you are evil. End of story. For Hegel, the idea doesn’t have a separate existence from your mind. So if you have an evil thought, then your mind is evil; since you are only a mind, this means that you are evil.
This type of one dimensionality makes it impossible to attack an idea without attacking the person who holds that idea. Under an Aristotelian hylomorphic view, a Christian could say that homosexual actions are evil, but not believe that a given homosexual person is evil. Or they could think socialist ideology is evil without believing the socialist down the street is evil.
One of the few statements in Christianity that is both popularly quoted and true is, “Hate the sin and love the sinner.” This is actually ontologically impossible without the mater and form distinction.
When a transgender person hears a Christian say they are wrong to act the way they do and wrong to believe what they do, this is often understood as a condemnation of them as wrong and messed up people. Worse yet, if a Christian says there shouldn’t be transgender people, this is understood as a threat, a declaration of war, an intent to destroy.
Have you ever changed your mind? If you did, did you stop being yourself and suddenly become a different person? If you answered no to that question, then you understand there is indeed a difference between a person and an idea. Here is another example; I could chop down a tree in a forest one day and write with a pencil the next. Engaging in these activities does not change my identity.
This seems like an obvious point to make when placed in these terms, yet it can be harder to put into practice. There are in fact ideas and actions that we hold close to our heart. It is natural to feel like we are attacked as people when these ideas and actions are the real target.
Transgenderism seems not to have borrowed exclusively from the philosophers aforementioned. After all, the movement sprung up in a largely Christian nation. One of the earliest heresies in Christianity was called Gnosticism. Devotees believed that a privileged class could gain secret saving knowledge. To become holy enough to learn and understand it, one had to chastise their body and privilege their souls. Although they believed in both spirit and matter, they saw matter as evil and the spirit as good.
I am a straight white man writing these words. Some would say that I could never understand the plight of, say, a trans-gender black woman. This, like Gnostisism, sets up classes of understanding according to the sinfulness of our flesh. I have whiteness and therefore I am believed to be part of the oppressor class. Because some of Hegelian and Marxist thinking has been thrown into this philosophical salad, this means that because white people have done oppressive things, whiteness is oppressive. Because I have whiteness, I am therefore an oppressor.
Gnostisim offers straight white men salvation from this sin, but only if we listen to those with less sinful flesh, chastise and spurn our maleness as toxic, our whiteness as oppressive and racist, and our straightness as offensively hetero-normative.
Transgenderism continues with the gnostic theme by privileging their self conception over and above their material body. In fact, their body has betrayed them, lied to the world about who they are, and must be reshaped to match the pure spirit that tells them the truth of who they are.
Gnosticism as a religious view was by many measures larger than orthodox Christian belief in the beginning of the church. The religious arguments that finally defeated it were two fold. First, because God became man in the person of Jesus, an infinite dignity is now assigned to the human body. The Incarnation means the body is not evil. Second, the Gospel message discriminated against no one, neither Jew or gentile, man or woman, rich or poor. There is no privileged class that ought to hold secret saving knowledge.
From a philosophical standpoint, we might say truth is the equation of intellect and being. As such, a truth about the world can be held by a variety of minds and have the same truth value because it is rooted in the mind independent reality of existing things in the world. Truth is not greater or lesser based on the speaker. This is the genetic fallacy. Furthermore, even if it was speaker dependent in its truth value, since the idea is necessarily detached from the mind of those in conversation such that it can move from one mind to the other, a straight white man could fairly claim to be offering the opinion of a homosexual black woman, or any other type of person, so long as it is not logically impossible that such a person could hold that view.
If you are transgender and reading this, what Christianity's early defeat of Gnosticism means is that we believe your body is good the way it was made, and truthful in telling you who you are. It is absolutely true that because of your body, you can feel pains that we will never feel, pains of confusion, sorrow, and isolation. What the Incarnation means is that God choose to be in a body that was rejected, beaten, spit on, flogged, and crucified naked on a cross. God knows exactly what it is like to be a spirit that doesn’t match His body and to be rejected for it in the most cruel manner possible. Far from rejecting you as a person, Christianity invites you to join your pain and sorrow with Christ’s in a special way. You have been plunged headlong into the mystery of Christ’s suffering; why not participate fully in His resurrection?
Now that the groundwork has been laid, we move on to deal with some specific issues. Remember, I am not attacking anyone just because I am attacking a set of beliefs, nor am I denying any person’s importance of dignity as a person. So without further ado, what is gender, and is it different from sex?
Gender comes from the same root as “Generate”. It literally means “mode of generation”. For this reason I say there are two genders, because there are two modes of generation: the male mode and the female mode. If you were to generate a child, would your body do so in a male or female mode?
If, theoretically, a male had a fully functioning womb, such that they could perform the female mode of reproduction in addition to the male mode, it is possible that they are both genders, since they possess the potential for two forms of generation.
That said, some might say the ability to donate a Y chromosome is the characteristically male mode of generation. With this interpretation, only those who posses a Y chromosome could do so- and this makes sex and gender always perfectly linked.
Some say that gender is a social construct. However, the definition of gender is “mode of generation”, and it wouldn’t make sense to say that one’s mode of generation is a social construct because it is rooted in physical reproduction, not social consensus.
Perhaps the word “gender” has changed in meaning? Surely many words drift in meaning. The question is how and why did it drift. When the word “bug” was first applied to computers, it meant an actual bug got into the computer and caused the program to malfunction.
The word “bug” came to mean anything that causes the same effect. Note that as reality changed from vacuum tubes to silicon chips and lines of code, the word evolved to better fit reality. No one got together and decided to make the change, it moved organically form one meaning to the next. The word “gender” is the opposite story, a group of people wanted to change the word purposefully, not to meet with the reality it was previously attached to, but on the contrary, to redefine this reality.
Is it true that there are packages of stereotypes we inherit from our culture which inform what it is like to be a man or a woman? Sure, this is, and has always been, true. What seems odd is to believe that this subjective standard of masculinity or femininity defines reality more than one’s body.
I would say that a man who grows up playing with dolls, dresses like a woman, and enjoys traditionally female things, is just that: a man who has a female set of interests and desires. My philosophy makes room for that in a way that Marx and Hegel can’t. The duel nature of reality means that an action, thought, or a desire is not the sum of the person.
On the topic of words, what are we to do with pronouns? Here is my opinion: if someone has a name they prefer to use, that is their prerogative. People have every right to ask to be called by a particular name. Pronouns are a different story.
There are very few moral questions that are answered nearly unanimously. One of them is this, “It is wrong to act against your conscience?” If I define gender according to the Latin root and its worldwide, historic usage, and thus refer to men as “he” and women as “her”, then I would be forced to lie and violate my conscience if I were to say otherwise. Why? Because my conscience says that lying is wrong, and purposefully defining a person as something other than the definition I adhere to would be lying.
Therefore, if you hold to the traditional definition of gender, it would be wrong to use a different pronoun. Furthermore, to force someone to do so would be forcing someone to violate their own conscience.
What about the hurt and discomfort someone would feel by using non-preferred pronouns? I suggest simply using their name. Certainly don’t purposefully use a pronoun someone doesn’t like. Avoid that situation as much as possible. However, to circle back to what we said at the beginning, if you feed a false self, you will go hungry. If you make a life for your false self, you will find yourself alone.
The Christian view is that the truth will set you free. The truth is that our bodies are us, they are good, and that living in discord with reality is far more painful than bravely facing it. For a long time transgenderism was called gender dysphoria in all of the official psychological texts. Today, it is only seen as a condition if it also causes depression. However, if someone suffered from hallucinations, that is cause for concern whether or not the hallucinations causes depression.
If I were in a transgender person’s shoes, I would be offended that my lifestyle was being called a mental disorder. However, the first thing that needs to be on the table is that there ought to be no more stigma on mental illness than a physical one. If it is true that one has a mental disorder, then there need be no shame or offense.
Circling back to the scenario at the beginning of this article: after making certain there was no prank being pulled, I wasn’t dreaming, and I wasn’t physically ill, I would make a bee-line for a psychologist. In contrast to the philosophies and ideologies above, I don’t believe that my mental state dictates reality, nor do I believe that popular stereotypes are more fundamental to my identity than my body. I think my body is good and tells the truth of who I am.
In the Aristotelian tradition, I believe that just like a chair is made of material (wood) and the form of the chair, I too am material (my body) and have a form, which for living things is called a soul. Since my soul is the form of my body, it is impossible for there to be a mismatch. Having a mismatch between the two would be like finding a chair and saying it has the form of a pillow. Although the form is immaterial, it is expressed materially in shaping the matter. If the thing seen is still shaped as a chair, then for 100% certain we can conclude it cannot have the form of a pillow, anymore than a male body could have the soul of a woman, or vice versa.
I don’t think transgender people were assigned the wrong physiology, rather they have received the wrong philosophy. Not so much bad people, but bad philosophers. If you are transgender, ask yourself, if you were suddenly persuaded of my views on philosophy, wouldn’t you also draw the same conclusions that I have? If you answered yes, this shows that we have found the root differences between us. They are not rooted in hate, trans-phobia, or hardhearted ignorance of your pain. I am sure you have dealt with plenty of that, all of which was wrong and thoroughly unnecessary. If you could take one thing away from this article, let it be this: Your body is good, it tells the truth, and living in accordance with this truth will result in you flourishing in the way you were meant to.
In Christianity, every sin is a type of madness, because we irrationally turn away from the True, the Good, and Beautiful and we pursue a lie instead. These lies snowball, distort our reality, halt our flourishing, and ultimately destroy us. We all are in the same boat; all of us have this type of madness in us- you, me, everyone. You may have heard Christians say that you are a sinner; they might as well have called you a human. Obviously you are a sinner, and so are they.
There is a verse in the Bible that says “Judge not lest you be judged”. People conveniently forget that in many other places we are commanded to judge. Here is what this means: we are to judge whether actions are good or evil, but not whether people are good or evil. You and I could walk into a hospital and immediately tell which people were sick. What we couldn’t do is figure out who had a strong or weak immune system.
It could be that a transgender person is fighting off the madness of sin with more grit and ferocity than the Christian down the street will ever need to muster against his personal challenges. Then again, it could be the other way around. Maybe the transgender person easily succumbed to small sins at the beginning, and now is trapped in a quagmire that seems inescapable. Not for a moment does this mean that we ought to stop fighting off the madness of sin. Instead, we are to consider others as greater than ourselves, knowing that our descent into madness is slowed only by the grace of God.
Calling someone a sinner is like calling a sick person sick. Saying someone is very sinful is like telling them they are very sick. Neither is meant to be a condemnation of the person but rather of the illness and an invitation to the person to become healthy again. Hospitals attack cancer, not cancer patients, and the Church attacks sin, not sinners. If your reality has been warped by the madness of sin, the Church wants to give you medicine to heal your soul. If you have been injured by Christians and their condescension, I will be the first to apologize on their behalf. They, too, have sick souls and are in need of repentance.
Questions and Objections:
You say that my body is more fundamental than my experience in it. I say that I have felt like I was the wrong gender ever since I can remember. Why isn’t that the measure?
If you are talking about your experience prior to puberty, at this point you had not experienced what it was to be a man or a woman. Of all points in life, this is the one least likely to correctly conclude anything about one’s gender, much less determine that a change is in order.
If your experience of feeling that you are a different gender was after puberty, then again, you only knew what being one of the genders was like, and you had no access to what it would be like to be the other gender. You can only make a comparison of being male vs female accurately if you have lived as both. Being born as one or the other makes it impossible for such a comparison. Therefore the decision is based on stereotypes about what each gender should be. As we have addressed earlier, there is no reason to believe this cultural understanding is more definitive than your own body.
As we have addressed before, you don’t need to decide or “figure out” your gender because it is synonymous with your “mode of generation”.
Your constant assumption that there are only two genders is offensive. There are many inter-sex people who have different blends of chromosomes and reproductive parts. Your overly simplistic philosophical nonsense doesn’t match reality.
When I say there are two genders, this is true in the same way I could say that humans have two eyes. I am describing features of the kind of thing we call human. Finding someone with one eye does nothing to disprove my statement that humans have two eyes. Why? Because my statement is not addressing the sum of individuals, but rather the features of the kind. That one eyed man is an anomaly, just like someone who could be called inter-sex. If sexual abnormalities mean that human sexual dimorphism is disproven, then it would follow that one legged people mean that humans aren't bipedal.
Here is a very clear binary for sex: If the person has a Y chromosome, they are a man. If they do not, they are a woman. All people begin to develop as female in the womb. If they continue on this trajectory, they are called woman. When they diverge from this trajectory it is due to the Y chromosome they inherited, which makes them male. Woman literally means “not-man”. From a developmental perspective, it ought to be the other way around: men are “not-woman”. Anytime things are split into “something” and “not-something” this, by the law of the excluded middle, means there are only two categories.
If you believe that my view is offensive because it doesn’t comport with reality, then I could turn that back on you. Why would your view have a privileged place as the measure of reality such that mine is offensive, and not the other way around? Instead I propose that such offense is often an impediment to conversation and a barrier to finding the truth together.
You are saying that everything has to be rooted in the bodies that we were assigned at birth. However, what if the things we like doing doesn’t match that bodily assignment?
If you are a man wearing a dress, you are wearing a dress like a man. If you are a woman fighting in the UFC, you are fighting like a woman. An activity doesn’t make you male or female, your maleness or femaleness is what makes activities masculine or feminine. You are more fundamental that what you do. The proof of that philosophically speaking is this: if your activities and preferences ceased to exist, you would not. If however, you or your body ceased to exist, your preferences and activities would stop existing. Therefore, you are more fundamental to reality than those preferences and activities. You shape them, not the other way around.
You weren't assigned a body, you are that body. You are not a different thing from your body. It is true that you have a soul, but as the form of the body, that body is an accurate representation of your soul. As we discussed earlier, there can be no mismatch.
Why would you want to force a transgender person into a bathroom that they will feel uncomfortable in? This is humiliating and degrading. What possible harm is there in allowing trans-people to use the bathroom of their choice?
Private institutions ought to be able to set their own rules, because they own the bathroom and have a right to live in accordance with their consciences.
Where possible, it is great to have single use bathrooms available for added privacy. If these can be supplied and would make people feel more comfortable, wonderful, do it.
The opposition to transgender people using bathrooms that don’t match their sex is centered around safety and privacy. People don’t want any exceptions to be made that could allow men to enter a woman’s restroom, because this could open the door for men who are there for malicious reasons to enter, too. Since there is no good way to screen out those men, a ban seems reasonable. There are plenty of women who would feel very uncomfortable with a man in her restroom, regardless of that man’s gender identity. Sure, no one wants transgender people to feel uncomfortable, but what about women? No one wants women to feel uncomfortable, either. Public policy is a hammer. Hammers aren’t good at preserving people’s feelings. If government comes down on either side, people will be hurt. How about we focus more on making people around us feel respected and safe and less on what our law makers are doing?
Trans-children need to be spared the humiliation of having to spend their formative years in the wrong body. It is discrimination not to treat this condition with hormone therapy or surgery.
I have all of the sympathy in the world for those who feel like a different gender. I get it, it must be hard. The solution is to make sure no one has to feel that way. By telling a kid that their body in lying about who they are and is broken, you have sowed doubt in their mind about who they are. That will last for the rest of their lives. If you change their bodies to match your ideology, you don’t care about them, but yourself. If I see a sick person, I feel bad for them and want to help them. If I see a sick person trying to infect others, particularly children, this is an act of evil.
Absolutely not. Their bodies are not sick. They are not a mistake. The vast majority of kids with gender confusion have this problem solved by going through puberty. To foist an ideology with such tremendous consequences on a child is evil. We rightly condemn genital mutilation in other cultures because it is violence against an innocent person. Whether it is surgery, hormones, or a hormone blocker, this is mutilation of a child’s body and absolutely unacceptable.
Why not accept people the way they are instead of telling them that they can’t be transgender?
I do accept people the way they are. As I have reiterated, ideas and people are not the same thing. I do not except the logic of the transgender movement. I believe it would be wrong to use force to make someone change an incorrect belief. That said, I also believe that blandly tolerating self destructive beliefs is also wrong. The middle is rational argumentation, which is what I have sought to do here. Does their lifestyle affect me? No, my motive is not at all self interested. My religion teaches me that we are our brother’s keeper. We are meant to help one another fight off the madness of sin and embrace truth. I want transgender people to thrive and flourish as their authentic selves and not make a life for a false self. What I want for all of them is happiness and I believe that this is always found in living in accordance with reason.
People like you who only pretend to understand are only sticking their noses in other people’s business where it doesn’t belong. Let us have our rights and stop pretending you care while you are blocking us from having what we deserve- like participation in groups we identify with.
I want you to flourish as a human being so that you can be happy. I would be happy if you did the same for me.
If your demand for rights violates another person’s rights, forces someone to act against their conscience, or harms the common good, this could be justification to deny those rights. An example would be the right to participate in womens’ sports. Women have a pre-existing right to fair competition with other biological women. Additionally, the common good of having female sports is injured. Finally, there are issues of conscience regarding fairness, locker-rooms, and safety. As you can see, these justifications are far from being trans-phobic. They are rooted in the promotion of the common good, the preservation of conscience, and the rights of those women to compete fairly.
We see intersex animals, species that change sex, ones that have different sexual preferences...the works. It is natural to have this in humans, too.
This is a total non-sequitur. The mode of flourishing is according to the form of the thing. Humans and animals are not the same thing and therefore flourishing will not look the same. Animals rape each other in nature and yet this is obviously wrong. Just because it happens in nature doesn’t mean it is moral for us. In fact, it often means the reverse.
Hegel would want our ideas to smash together to create a synthesis apart from rational analysis. Marx would want our groups to violently clash to create unity through power and cohesion. Christianity echoes the sentiments of the great western philosophers saying, “Come, let us reason together”. A unity like Hegel’s is arbitrary, a unity like Marxism is violence, a unity in reason is truth.
So, it is morning, you have faced yourself in the mirror; what do you do? May I suggest this: first, recognize that your body is an ally in helping you find truth. You are no Gnostic, you know that your body is good and it tells the truth about you. You are no Hegelian, you know that the ideas that you or others hold don’t make reality, instead they reflect it. This reflection can be obscured by factors like physical, mental, and spiritual illness. Not one of those is a condemnation, instead each are an opportunity for healing. Humility tells us that we can’t fix everything on our own. Charity tells us that we are our brother’s keeper and have a responsibility for the care of others. As a result, we find the truth of ourselves together. We don’t ignore the truth (bland toleration), nor do we fashion it into a weapon against our neighbors. Truth becomes our means of unity, and bravery means fighting off lies, because that is the root of our pain.
Step outside and begin your life, building it for your authentic self, the one that you know by reason even when your emotions betray you. Know that you have been given a cross to bear that is not fair, and know that you are not the only one.