The Ship of Theseus is an old thought experiment that involved taking a ship (Theseus’s, if you were wondering) and then replacing this part, that part, this other part, and then as everything eventually got replaced asking whether this ship was still The Ship of Theseus. There are a ton of variants to this thought experiment which include taking all of the original parts that were replaced and building a new ship from those, to examples called “George Washington’s Axe” (or Abraham Lincoln’s) and discussing whether it could still be called that even though the handle and axe head had both been replaced a couple of times.
Philip K. Dick did a good job of saying something to the effect of “now imagine that same thing, only with a person.”
And his punchline, of course, was that the person is you. (And me and everybody.)
We’re ships sailing in the fleet of Theseus.
I’ve recently spent some time re-reading Impostor (a quick read, maybe 10 minutes, tops) and carving out time to get to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (a story that, somehow, I missed during my “I NEED TO READ EVERYTHING HE EVER WROTE” phase).
And thinking a lot about the Ship of Theseus.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)