…for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.
-Plutarch, in Theseus (translated by John Dryden)
Image Courtesy: Ship of Theseus (2012)
It has really been a long time since there was a post on this blog which made sense! That being said, there are no guarantees that this one will. Hello to all the readers and also to those who have stumbled upon this page of obscurity while searching something meaningful. A lot has changed since the last post. There have been times when I was having an immense urge to share something, at length, but couldn’t. Life really sucks when things like that happen. The quote above comes from a very famous philosophy of Ship of Theseus. It is rather self-explanatory and will leave the deeper research and reading to the readers, once they are out, reading this mediocrity!
But why have I shared this quote? Over some time, I have been feeling a bit like it. Things have changed, piece by piece. There is a point beyond which a change breaks you down. Shatters the very thing that you recognize yourself with. Maybe one breaks down to just rejig himself and come out as someone better. It is a hope. I am not yet at that stage of hope though.
I have become that Ship of Theseus. No more am I recognizable to myself. While the flesh remains the same for the rest, the soul has turned inside out. I have all those planks removed and replaced. I have the existence and the clashes of my own identity. I am at the cross roads with my interests and compulsions. I am lost in my own ocean of thoughts while there are anchors all over me. While the water splashing on this ship tries to change its much-appearing stable course, the real direction still remains unknown to the sailor himself. Each splash taking away those planks, one at a time, and my consciousness replacing it with its own construct. I am not arguing with you, I am arguing with myself to why I am arguing with you. I am not loving you. I am merely arguing with myself that I do know how to love. Neither do I know things nor am I trying to be intelligent. I am merely arguing to where I stand in these winds of obsolescence. There are no shores for this ship and nor am I looking out for them.
The concept seems clear now that the concept is lost. The very foundation of this construct called life seems like a tedious exercise of self-acceptance and self-consolation. The constructs; talent, achievement, goals, hope, failures, limitations, etc. all seem to be nothing more than continuous reminders of why I am still the same ship, which I, actually, am not. There is no point in defining myself with those things for they have rather changed the entire thing without even me knowing it. Change is constant, hence, there is nothing like existence. The ship keeps changing to its core and not just the planks. The question whose answer I seek is, is this a conscious effort of change or it is so involuntary that it actually laughs at our idea of “existence” and “identity”? I have consciously tried to observe the changes that I feel I have undergone and it is horrifying. There are no good changes, there are starker realizations about what I really am. Some five minutes with myself, all alone and eyes closed, and I saw more than an ocean ready to take this ship apart. There is absolutely nothing that can stop it. It does not have any laws of the world. That deafening sound of those water droplets, leaking through those cracks of the ship. Each drop feels like a huge hammer hitting on every single vein. All alone on the ship and still I cannot hear my own scream. There is no option of jumping in the ocean as it does absolutely nothing to the ship. It may end the sailor but not the ship that has sailed along with him. What there is, is a chasm or an abyss, unimaginable. There is nothing where you can start from the scratch and feel good about it. There is nothing like a road not chosen for the one that has been chosen at that moment has not been the same ever after. How to define right or wrong choices is becoming annoyingly inexplicable to me.
Sometimes, I look at an anchor and start feeling good about its ability to protect ships in the middle of the storms. But here, the anchor, that appears to protect you, drags you in a direction so sporadic and inconceivable. You see a few more ships which appear happy in that direction, but they are no more what they were when they left the shore. They have survived the storm by taking that proverbial anchorage and kept themselves afloat. They have accepted that their ships are no longer what they started with. Ironically, they do not even care what they themselves have become. What has driven them to such a great and happy place? Is this the same thing which I am consciously refusing to accept to lead a better life? Have I become so adamant for my ship that I cannot leave it even if it gets torn apart? Am I hurting the ship too? Yes, I am hurting it. Why? I have seen all those happy ships that have changed their courses just because the anchor made them to. I have seen those happy ships that have accepted their new planks to be better than their older ones, which the ocean makes them appear to be damaged. Shall I give in for a newer better ship for something that I hold dearer? Maybe I am doing it. Maybe I should not be doing it at all. But then, would that be the existence of that ship I came with?
What do such questions do? They have made me question myself at all levels. Those damaged planks are no longer the question since the removal of one of them will actually diminish my own existence. An existence, myself, have not been very certain about but sure enough to sustain it in the same form. I am not being obstinate. Again, I see at all those ships sailing at a cruising speed, away from the direction, they thought they had etched. So, I decide what I need to do. Those ships have accepted the methods that work and have moved past their destined shore, cleverly. My ship sways under my own conflicts and those stormy winds that are compelling me to change. This is what I wish to do. Without those internal conflicts, I cannot get out and fight with the external and natural forces. I wish to accept everything aloud that I am not the person that people are seeing. Maybe I was, but now I am not. There is not an inch of talent left in me. There is nothing left in me that is worth for anybody. There might be unintentional but assured acts of disappointment from my side. There will be actions which will appear disturbing. There will be thoughts that would sound horrifying but thoughts that will keep this ship intact in this storm of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual storm. Without the existence of this ship, I am not even the right ship that reaches the right destination. But why should I do all these?
To keep this Ship of Theseus, the way it was meant to be!