~ Ship of Theseus’ Paradox ~   5 comments

Same river twice

This is a recent status update from a contact, a friend of cyber sorts, on Facecrack. A quite simple, and near dismissible statement at first glance, but seeing it a few times, giving it a little thought, it comes to me that there is a lot more to think about than what first meets the eye. Within me wee nugget rages (simmers, more like) the paradox of yea, or nay. Were it posed as a question, would there indeed be a true, and concrete answer, or simply a matter of opinion?? There are certainly valid points of argument for both sides.

On the Nay side:

Physically, the most noticeably obvious argument would be that the river is in constant motion, therefor changing with each and every moment. The very water one once stepped into has now travelled downstream being replace with water from upstream which has now taken it’s place. With this motion does so exchange the sediment on the river’s bed which squishes up betwixt your toes. It is a river rising and raging with spring thaw or heavy rains, a river receding and dawdling in times of drought.

Of the chemically technical aspects, if’n I walks out into, and has meself a wee pee in said river, is it still the same river, or is it now “the river Archie peed into”?? Well, ok!! Lets just think of that as a metaphor for pollution, and leave it at that. The clearest present example I can think of being northern Alberta’s Athabasca River being transformed from a river of life sustenance, to a river of disease and death at the hands of mankind through the exploits of Tar Sands Oil production. Through all of this turmoil, how could one possibly consider that it is the same river today as it was yesterday??

How’s bout human development along a rivers shores, clearing and building to satisfy our lust, greed, needs, and whimsical wants?  Perhaps now levied to keep back the higher waters from our properties and playgrounds, signed no swimming, no fishing. Would be pretty danged tough to consider this stretch of river to be the same as you stepped into yesterday. Well of course, that’s back to the physical nature, but hey!! Had to mention it.

On the Yay side:

In simplest terms, one need only go to one’s handy dandy dicfictionary to see that a river is defined as precious little more than a conduit. A large natural channel of water: a natural stream of water that flows through the land, and empties into a body of water such as an ocean or lake”. Sounds pretty simple … sounds as though yes, you most certainly can step into the same river twice.

Then too, one might take … the feel of the experience into consideration. Do you feel that it’s not the same river? Do you feel as it is the same river, alive, of subtle alterations with passage of time. Does it feel like the same river from flowing in summer, to frozen over in winter with the fishes hiding out in the deeper of the eddies ‘n pools? Are you wired to observe the life of the river as opposed to the moment in time??

Conclusion, a Matter of Opinion:

There are a few places on a few rivers which I have, and will do make many ‘a trips to, and have always considered that Yes, I Am stepping into the same river again, again and again. As for stretches physically altered by man’s own hand, I spose I’d have to say the same river, pillaged and raped.

Redwood by Jackie (crop)


Today, a plant will emerge from a seed lying winters wait in the lush green underbelly of a forest. One hundred years from now, after all of it’s changes through course of earned seasons and growth, someone will be staring in awe up the spine of this magnificent Red Wood.

It will be, after all, that very same tree.

Archie Rilett

*neener neener … *

This then gets me ponderin on other thangs. You know … Like in conversation bout the old days, and the question posed, what ever happened to that person what once was?? Friend might riposte, “Well, we just ain’t the same folk what we used to bin ten years ago.” Just how much credence do we give this statement?? I’ve heard and have read that there is a cycle of seven to ten years what we humans slough off, sweat out, expel every single solitary cell, molecule, every neuron and atom such that we are in fact, by total and complete replacement of every little bit ‘n byte, a completely different person. Am I indeed a completely different person, and how is it, if’n I’m replaced every ten years, that I manage to find the time to age??

A bit ‘a more pondering, and curiosity bites the cat. There I am Googering to see where Elaine might have found the quote “You can never step into the same river twice.” Lookin down the list, and not too very far from the top, second entry …

                              Wiki_Ship of Theseus

A danged interesting (as well, quick) read with a few ‘a more examples of the “Ship of Theseus’ Paradox”. I spose I’d have to say that the example of ~Cultural differences~ Would be my favourite entry. An observation by Douglas Adams, and consequent conversation with his Japanese guide in regards to the ~Gold Pavilion Temple~ in Kyoto. Kind ‘a leaves one thinking of conviction. Seems Douglas goes in with open mind, but the Japanese guide seems on the flip side with conviction such as there is no room for negotiation, nor argument. I love his tenaciousness. *grins … *

Take good Care, Enjoy the day.

Ciao Fer Now …



Posted February 28, 2011 by Archie ~Grumps~ in ~ Bright Side Blobs ~

5 responses to “~ Ship of Theseus’ Paradox ~

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  1. Archie, The Illinois river runs trough Peoria and I would not drink from it or set foot in the waters that flow from Chicago. It is sad that once pristine waters are fouled and polluted with all manner of pestisides, industrial waste, effulivem and such. Enjoyed reading your post and as ever be well

    • Tis a shame for sure Stephen. All these rivers one wouldn’t want ta swim in, nor eat the fish caught from ‘em. All in the name of progress??
      Thanks for the visit and comment Stephen. Take good care and enjoy.
      Ciao Fer Now …

  2. Says Elaine in E-mail:
    Wow! you are the thinking man’s man – the same river pillaged and raped? you are more than just a purty face. *smiles* *bows*
    I need to re-read ….I’m like a dried up sponge today thanks to revenue canada…will cogitate on your post

  3. Says Elaine in E-mail:

    I post quotes that resonate with me in the moment but reflect my way of moving through the world…and I guess I believe you CAN’T step into the same river twice (so thank goodness – in case you had peed in it….maybe at Big Bend Conservation area….lol)..
    I say that I have Buddhist leanings so I guess that’s the genesis of my interpretation.

    but our point of view is relative and shaped by references/framing – our personal experience and world view..and I do appreciate your perspective ♥♥

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