|Frankie (centre, with a fiddle in the basket), with her friends, Pepe le Peug (right),|
and a Fat Tuesday Special (left), summer 2010
There's a question of identity in philosophy that wonders whether all the parts of one whole can change without creating a new whole. This question is often presented as the 'Ship of Theseus' problem.
The problem goes like this:
|Frankie, showing off her wine bottle holder|
Theseus, the Greek hero, sails the ocean on his ship. Theseus spends many years asea, stopping now and then to say "yo pops" to his father, the King of Athens. While he's asea, Theseus gets up to all manner of no-good things that are also hard on ships: meeting up with Poseidon's daughters, kidnapping Amazons, abandoning Ariadne on an island, drinking like a sailor, and returning with the youth of Athens after killing the Minotaur. This ship of his was venerable indeed. The Athenians decided to keep it around in the harbour, for many centuries apparently, to use it for rituals honouring Apollo. The problem is, when a wooden ship sits around in the water for a while, things need to be replaced. A sail here, a plank of wood there, eventually even the rudder and masts. Over the course of time, every part of the ship was swapped for a new part. So those wily Greek philosophers wondered, how much of this ship is the same ship Theseus returned on?
|Frankie with her new crank, fall 2010. This bike had it all.|
|Looking awesome with a bottle of wine! Summer 2011|
My inclination has always been to say that all of it is the same ship. Each unique part of the ship being swapped gradually over time doesn't, in my view, make a different ship - it's the same ship, with new parts all replaced at different times in an overlapping way. I think the same is true for bodies.
|Frankie and I having a brew in Montreal, summer 2011|
I don't find these questions so enthralling, being rather more of a pragmatist. I know that we do recognize people, and I know that despite cellular change we are more or less consistently the same unique individual over time, and I think that if Theseus' ship had a personality it would have remained similarly proud and respectable despite the changing of the nails in its planks (and I say similar because, come on, that ship probably saw a lot of strange things over the years).
|Frankie and Pepe having a hug, outside Fairmont bagels,|
|Frankie and I touring on Esplanade|
|Frankie and I on Esplanade, summer 2010|
And so, Frankie rolls on, as cheerful and speedy as ever: