I just finished watching Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus. It’s an amazing piece of art by the way. One of the most beautiful and moving films I’ve ever seen. Anyway, I visited their FB page and there was a contest for free DVDs or something, and I just entered on a whim. In the form, there was a question, Is it still the same ship? Huh.. that got me thinking. So I just wanted to repost my response here, which came pouring out of my heart, through my fingers, some thoughts I didn’t even know existed. I just wanted to keep a record of this here.
From an outside perspective, for all intents and purposes, I’d argue that it’s still the same ship, because it’s playing the same role and the same part with respect to all the people that interact with it. We are not primarily defined by our own inner thoughts and ideas, but by our actions, our relationships, our gestures, our place in society and how we effect the world around us. It’s like batman said, it’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.
As far as the innermost self is concerned, it’s constantly changing. Each moment, each thought, each realization changes something inside of us that we can’t undo. We keep learning, we keep unlearning, and so we keep changing. Something that was so important to us moments ago, may no longer hold any value. So are we ever the same even if the body, the cells remain the same? Aren’t we reborn with new thoughts and ideas every second? Yet, we perceive our inner self to be the same.
You can choose to look at it any way you like, just as described so beautifully in the film, you don’t know where you end and where your environment begins.
P.S. You can watch the movie for free here: http://cineoo.com/sot/ Do watch it, it’s pretty brilliant.