• Styles Yugen

Plato's Biscuit


There once was a ship. It was built from wood and sailed proudly across the ocean high for many years, but as with any machine, pieces break. The ropes, the sails, the masts. Each was replaced in turn until there was nothing of the original ship left. But the ship’s name remained the same nonetheless: Theseus. Some would say it’s not the same ship anymore; others say the opposite. Now consider for a moment if the ship had an identity, a consciousness of its own. One that grew and matured with every storm it weathered--a consciousness born the moment Theseus took its maiden voyage. The ship at the end would remember its younger days, identify as the same vessel, but it would be matured. Experience does that to a person, or the Theseus. One cannot simply live their life and be the same person at the end. Any small experience encountered along the way, just like the Theseus and the sea, adds to the whole, creating a stronger individual. Each time a mast cracked, or a new coat of paint was needed, the Theseus became stronger for the repairs.

As with people. We experience our lives at one second per second--no faster, no slower. The identity of the current second is created by the seconds before. The past constantly creates the present, just as the present always creates the future. The Theseus will always be the Theseus created by its past, merely a sum of its collective experience.

Just as the Theseus will always be itself, people are people. Doesn’t matter what side they butter their biscuit on, biological, mechanical, artificial, somewhere between. If it talks like a person it’s a person. Even if they’ve replaced every part, even if they’ve dissolved into the cybersphere, they’re a person. Different than you, absolutely, but no excuse for a lack of rights or dignity. There are too many of us to stay homogenous these days; change is our nature. Any who say otherwise are full of Rustshit.

Keep your head high, Theseus. For all your broken parts, for all your repairs, for all your flaws add to your existence. Your worth isn’t determined by your starting point; it’s who you are now, and what you’ve done to get here.

I ask you, in my second of present before it becomes past, can you look at the mechanical weirdo down the street and declare them inhuman? Can you in your second per second existence press judgement upon another enduring the same voyage? It’d be like tossing a molten bucket of shit from one spacecraft to another midflight, hoping to hit by sheer providence, to pass judgement.

It’s pointless, Theseus. Live your own sea, and remember: the butter goes on the hottest side of the biscuit, an AI told me so.

Styles Yugen, signing off.


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Science Fiction and the pursuit of escapism, 2020.