That right there could be the idea: that man isn't just uniquely capable of abstraction, but then abstracting his abstractions into a meta-abstraction. This is why metaphysics isn't just possible but necessary. It is necessary because it is what we inevitably do. Therefore, we might as well do it well. But first we have to recognize we're doing it, which most thinkers refuse to do, especially for the past, oh, 700 years or so.
Why do the beast and blighted of modernity refuse to admit they are metaphysicians? Well, there are a number of reasons, some of which are almost coherent.
As to when it all started, Richard Weaver, in his consequential Ideas Have Consequences, blames the triumph of nominalism over realism, or Occam over Thomas, way back in the 14th century. According to Prof. Wiki, Occam is considered "the father of modern epistemology" by many modern idiots
because of his strongly argued position that only individuals exist, rather than supra-individual universals, essences, or forms, and that universals are the products of abstraction from individuals by the human mind and have no extra-mental existence.
So lacking in self-awareness was this Occam fellow that he didn't even realize that the philosophy of nominalism is itself an abstraction.
Imagine a fish who denies the existence of water becoming the most important thinker among fish. That's what happened to man: despite being founded on an overt denial of reality, this denial became the new foundation of western thought (or anti-thought, if you want to be literal).
Not coincidently, this is precisely when religion and theology went off the rails of reality, for Occam was also "a theological voluntarist who believed that if God had wanted to, he could have become incarnate as a donkey or an ox, or even as both a donkey and a man at the same time."
He is closer to Islamic than Christian metaphysics, because he is one of those folks who would say that God doesn't command certain things because they are right and good, but that they are right and good because God commands them. If God commanded abortion, or theft, or idolatry, then these would be good instead of immoral. There is no natural law written on our hearts, because abstract universals can't exist, and besides, we're so wrecked by original sin that we can't think straight anyway.
Oddly enough, just two days ago I ran across the same analysis in Barron's The Priority of Christ, except he's much more polite about it. He writes of how Occam's kooky voluntarism renders both God and man "self-contained, capricious, absolute, and finally irrational."
And of course, "Both Martin Luther and John Calvin were formed according to the principles of late-medieval nominalism," leading them to propound a foundational principle that makes God look more like a monster than a savior, in that he arbitrarily creates people only in order to damn them, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Which, among other difficulties, flies in the face of the principle that everything God creates is good.
Now, modern secularism is a lot of things, but it isn't un-Christian. Rather, it is anti-Christian, and could only have arisen in a thoroughly Christianized culture that denies its own ground, starting with Occam. I don't want to spend much more time on this subject, because this post is supposed to be about psychology, not the history of ideas, but Barron writes of how the turn away from realism redounds to
a not very convincing form of Christianity and the opponent to whom it naturally gave rise. Modernity and decadent Christianity are enemies in one sense, but in another sense, they are deeply connected to one another and mirror one another. In most of the disputes between Christianity and modernity, we have advocates of the prerogative of the voluntarist God facing down advocates of the voluntarist self (emphasis mine).
In short, the human world is reduced to will vs. will, and may the most ruthless win. The infinitely wider, deeper, and richer world of human intelligence and divine intelligibility is reduced to will and the power to enforce it.
This is precisely why Thomistic psychology was tossed aside in favor of modern superstition. If you want a perfect example of the insane and irrational advocacy of the voluntarist self, look no further than the website of the American Psychological Association, which tells us that "A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability."
If this is the case, then there's nothing wrong with a contented pedophile, a fulfilled psychopath, or successful terrorist. Who are we to judge? In a post-realist world there can be no objective right or wrong. Man has no reason for being -- no telos -- so it no longer matters if you do bad, so long as you feel good about it.
If everything is a function of will -- or is Just Your Opinion, Man -- then naturally we can not only choose a gender but invent one, and we have no basis on which to object.
For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons.
There's no such thing as right or wrong, except it's wrong to judge someone's gender delusion. But what if doing so causes me no distress?
I can't even. Well, I could, but I need to get some work done.