I am going to be incredibly arrogant and say that I think that quite a bit of the current thought on therianthropy may be going about this the wrong way.
By ‘going about this the wrong way,’ I mean that there seems to be a general tendency to think of therianthropy in terms of a process or means rather than an end result. In my incredibly arrogant opinion, this is incorrect.
Take phantom limbs, for example. I recently experienced what could be dubbed ‘phantom paws’. And yes, they felt like phantom paws, and my brain interpreted them as phantom paws. Notice interpret. They were most likely not, as I initially thought, phantom paws. Most likely, they were odd sensations brought on by bloodflow abnormalites after lying down in my bed after two and one half hours on the road in a cramped seat. But my brain interpreted them as phantom paws, and that’s what got me thinking. The vast majority of our phantom limbs may be abnormalities such as these- exactly what kind of abnormality I don’t know. Does this make our brain interpretation false or not? Well, yes, but that does not necessarily kill therianthropy. It does, however, make the idea of therianthropy as a condition in all cases that less likely. In my opinion, what matters is not why a phantom limb occurs, but how our brain interprets it. Our self-image, I think, has been modified in order to construe what normal people would regard as simple odd feelings as phantom limbs- that would also explain why so many therians cameo-shift phantom limbs. And I think that that is what in the end matters. Exactly how I’m not sure. I’m thinking about it.
What if almost all of our behaviors can be explained through similar means? I’ve heard people argue it, and argued back that therianthropy is a group of behaviors, not an underlying condition, at least not in all cases. But I think that an addendum should be added- part of therianthropy is how the brain interprets this information. It is well-documented how our brains can turn random noise into patterns. It is also not unheard of for a therian to interpret everything as a shift. Perhaps a large part of therianthropy is interpretation- this thing and this thing and that thing are because I’m a therian, we think. Of course, most people don’t exactly have consistent symptoms- a few common trends are reported, but on closer examination these ‘trends’ turn out to be general things (phantom limbs) that cover a huge range. Instead, I think that a consideration of therianthropy as an end result is in order. Instead of ‘this thing and this thing and that thing are because I’m a therian,’ ‘this thing and this thing and that thing make me a therian.’ Where does interpretation play into this, you may ask?
Well, let’s put it this way. If someone thinks they have a psychiatric disorder, and they don’t but the end result’s the same, it doesn’t exactly matter all that much why they actually are having the symptoms of the disorder, at least in regards to how they view themselves. If I think I have autism but actually have a host of other things that make my symptoms like someone with autism, then I might as well be autistic. If I think I have therianthropy but actually have a host of other things (blood flow abnormalities, autism, learned behaviors, etc) that produce an end result pretty much identical to therianthropy, for most intents and purposes about talking about therianthropy, I might as well have it. Yes, there are exceptions, but the rule generally holds. And that is where the two are linked.