“The Ship Of Theseus, also known as Theseus’s paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ship which was restored by replacing each and every one of its wooden parts, remained the same ship. ….Thomas Hobbes introduced a further puzzle, wondering: what would happen if the original planks were gathered up after they were replaced, and used to build a second ship. Which ship, if either, is the original Ship of Theseus?”
– Source: Wikipedia (Obviously)
I came to know about the Ship of Theseus through the astoundingly amazing namesake movie. Although the movie explores the “questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death”, after watching the movie, I was left in a paradox of my own. It made me reminisce that morning at work, and the chain of events that followed.
Like every other day, I was sitting in my cubicle, staring blank at my computer screen, trying to look busy as people sitting around me, frantically abused their keyboards. As I, aimlessly, tried to open a new window on my screen, the mouse cursor, suddenly, became stubborn and refused to move. I tried to move the cursor by vigorously swiping the mouse on the table top, but it didn’t budge. I flipped the mouse over only to find that the red light of hope (that you see at the bottom of an optical mouse) was extinguished. In other words, the mouse was dead and I had to get a new one.
I raised my head from the table and looked around for expressions from the surrounding cubicles, but found none. However, my eyes fell on the adjoining cubicle, which had been vacant since the last month. I, again, looked around and found nothing except the noise of keyboard getting crushed. So, I stood up and discreetly exchanged my faulty mouse with the one from the adjoining vacant cubicle. Believe me or not, I always felt the space button on my keyboard at work was a little limp, but it felt even more so after I had replaced the stubborn mouse. So I exchanged the keyboard too.
The morning had turned into noon and it was already lunch time. Everyone was leaving for the cafeteria, but my mind was transfixed somewhere else – the 17 inch monitor screen in the same cubicle. My meager 15 inches screen looked like a beggar’s hut in front of the 17 inches of opulence. So I waited for most of the people to leave the work floor, and then I exchanged the monitor screen too.
Only, the CPU is left now. What happens if I exchange it too? Which one will be my computer? But more importantly, did anyone see me doing this. What if someone finds out I exchanged the computers. Can they fire me for this??? Oh my God, what have I done!