Welcome one and all, and thank you for taking the time to read this article. Let me start answering the article by telling you about the Sorites Paradox, AKA The Paradox of the Heap. The Idea behind this Paradox is that you start off with a single grain of sand, and then you add another grain of sand. That is not a heap of sand, but two individual grains of sand. You add another grain and another, and another grain of sand until finally you have created a Heap of Sand. When did this culmination of sand grains become a heap of sand? There is no way of knowing the exact moment because the definition of a heap is simply “a great deal”. And how do you quantify “A great deal”?
Now before you start to question where I am going with this, My Dear Reader, let this slightly insane blogger continue here for a moment before I answer that exact question.
Let me present one more paradox to you before I go into my answer. The Paradox of Theseus’s Ship is an interesting paradox with some similarities to the Sorites Paradox that I presented you above. Theseus had a ship, and over time after transversing the warm salty ocean water of the Mediterranean Sea it comes time to replace one of the planks on this wooden ship. We can all agree that one plank does not equal a ship, and the ship this plank was taken off of is still the original ship. Times continues to go by, and more and more planks and parts of the ship need to get replaced: the mast, sail, rudder, planks, etc. Now Theseus’s Ship has come to a point in time where everything on this ship has been replaced. With all of the various wooden components that were taken off the ship, are used to create a brand new ship that is identical to Theseus’s current ship in every manner. Which one of these two ships is the original ship? The one that had everything replaced, or was it the ship that was created with all of the original parts of Theseus’s Ship?
Bringing this back to the question at hand, “Are we the same person today as we were yesterday?” The way that I am going to break this down is into two different ways, from the Biological standpoint, and the Mental standpoint.
The body is a weird thing because it is what houses our intellect, our life, our personality all together as one being. At that same moment, it can get all taken away from this material world because we live in a state of contradiction. We both live and we die, and the matter of the fact is that we have always lived and died eternally within time, but that is an article topic for another day. We live and die, these two ideas albeit disturbing, but also quite interesting how we can live and not live in this state of contradiction. Just like Anti-Matter is the contradiction of Matter, as we know it. Another example of this being you see a stone in front of you and engraved on that stone reads “Nothing is written in stone”. Funny of course, but it is because it is such an obvious contradiction since the message itself “nothing is written in stone” was itself written in stone. Now, let’s bring the Sorites Paradox back into the picture once more, remember that weird sand heap paradox I told you about before? Well since the body is made up of cells, and as I am sure some of us here know, is that the body gets rid of the old cells and replaces them with new cells to keep your body happy and healthy. Every 5 years your body does not have a single cell it did 5 years ago. Does this mean you are the same person, and every 5 years you are slowly dying and reincarnating so to speak? Some of you may believe that you are the same person you were, but the only thing to change was the physical fitness or your mental status. Which brings me to my second point, the mental aspect of this question.
Every day we learn new things, we experience new experiences, and even if we are simply “Stalks of humanity prowling the concrete jungle[s]” going from work to home and back again mindlessly. There are different and various experiences that occur daily that have not happened before. Life is full of fun and excitement for multiple lifetimes if you are willing to risk the unknown. Every day we learn something new, as that old saying goes. Every day our experiences mount on top of each other, building the foundation for our personality, our mindset, and our humanity. The way that I like to visualize this is by imaging the Empire State Building being built in New York City. Each new day is a part of that great structure, and each idea a bolt to hold together that great building. To keep it from falling down on top of the weight of itself. Each of these bolts (ideas) are made and utilized correctly then they will keep the foundation of our lives up. As this building gets higher and higher, there is more weight on a faulty beam or bolt then the progress must be stopped until that issue is fixed. Some people in this world are as big as the house they live in (according to the metaphor), and some people are as vast as the Empire State building and above. It all comes down to what ideas and experience we hold on to that create us, as we are today. Every day our mindset changes for better or for worse, but there is one thing for certain. Our Mindset is the culmination of all of our experiences throughout our entire lives to this point, for better and for worse.
Even though we have changed over time, constantly learning and evolving into someone who was not here a few years ago, or into the exact same person but older there is still some sort of change occurring. We are not the person we were yesterday, because we did not have all of the experiences from that previous day even if the experiences were meaningless or life-changing. It comes to a point similar to the Sorites Paradox when we become someone we were not before, and that is something that I do not know the answer to. When did you become the person you are now, and this is a more difficult question than it may seem just on the basis that you may attribute it to a singular event. The thing that changed you the most was not that event, but what you did after the event that changed your life.
What do you think? Am I wrong, right? Or maybe I am completely insane!!!! Well, in any event, let me know in the comments section down below, I would love to hear from you.
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