Here's a question you won't want to think about for too long. Someone dies. A woman. How do you describe the event? Perhaps, 'She just died.' Or what about, 'It just died.'
Which one feels better to say? And why? Was your decision bound up with a faith, a belief or circumstances? In using the first one, surely, as 'she' is not present anymore, is it the correct sentence to use? After all, there is just a collection of complex molecules in front of you now. No different to any other collection such as, say, your morning breakfast. Yes, but that does not sound respectful. We know this. And as for the second? Well, that's a no-brainer isn't it? Of course she's not an 'it.' Perhaps she was a relative or a close friend. Complex eh?
However, a week goes by. The body is now not the same as you remembered her. It has changed in many complex chemical ways. Notice I wrote the word 'it.' Is that now a little more appropriate? Now that 'she' no longer has the close appearance of the person you were once fond of? Where and when and how did this change of subjectivity happen? Would it be the same for all people? When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'?
Is this a useless piece of speculation? Perhaps. But by considering it, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and the way we look at the world, and more importantly, the relationships we have with people.
Okay. Its now been a year and, (do I still write 'it' or is it still 'she' in your mind?) lays there, perhaps an almost complete ruin. Nature has taken care of the situation. But what do you think? Has your opinion been divided? Have you changed your mind? And if so, when did that happen for you? Would you have the same opinion about, not a human body but an animal or even a pet? I ask again; When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'? Ah, language. We still have such a long way to go.