Ah.. did i miss my December post? It’s weird, somehow i seem to have less time in December. In the week leading up to Christmas, i also forgot to post in my gaming blog. Oh well.. Speaking of gaming blog, that’s also kind of weird. I didn’t advertise it or anything, maybe WordPress does it internally for me, but i managed to get two followers. Maybe they’re just randomly following blogs to increase traffic to their blog, i don’t know.
Anyway, my computer’s motherboard died some weeks ago. A friend advised that i might be able to change the motherboard without the chip and reuse the old chip. Turns out that the old chip could not be slotted into any of the motherboards on sale, so i had to buy both the motherboard and the chip. I returned home to discover that the newer motherboard was smaller than the old motherboard. I thought it couldn’t be secured properly onto the casing.
I returned to the shop explaining that the new motherboard couldn’t fit into my old casing and wanted to buy a new casing. I’m pretty good at reading body language and reverse engineering. I bought the new casing, but before i reached home, i figured out that the new motherboard probably did fit into the old casing after all. And it did.
Then there was the problem with the operating system. The old computer was an Acer package that did not provide any disk for installation of OS. I had to buy a new Windows 7. Installing the new OS, i ran a program to check my hard disk. The program referred to my hard disk as “imminent electromagnetic failure”. And it did so the next day.
Godamit, it never rains.
New hard disk blah blah. All my old files gone. Photos, mp3s, work, etc. all gone. I was so sad.
And i started pondering about Theseus’s Ship Paradox. The one where the ship gets replaced part by part until the whole ship is replaced. Is it still Theseus’s Ship? Interestingly, we replace our brain cells daily and probably replaced enough cells for a whole new brain every fifteen years. Which really makes one wonder what exactly is identity.
Using a metaphor for my computer, let’s say i was in an accident and my body was failing. My biological brain was transplanted into a robot that not only looks exactly like me but works exactly like me, with all my limitations, odor and quirkiness. Most people would be able to identify the robot as still “me”.
Then later in my unfortunate life, i met with another accident that damaged my brain and only my brain. Fortunately, before the accident, i created a computer chip to map my entire brain. The chip has all my memories and behaves exactly as i would, capable of calculating and enacting every unpredictability i have while my biological brain was still alive. Like or not, this new chipped robot is still going to be “me”. It might help you to identify “me” if you reversed the order, replaced brain with chip before replacing body.
But my accident prone life doesn’t end there. Yet another accident and all my memory is erased. I get a whole new personality and everything. And still it’s “me”. But even i, am having a hard time reconciling what exactly “me” consists of at this point.
So here we are, my trusty old Acer computer, now running a new Asus motherboard with a new chip in a new casing with new storage and all data lost. Most IT people will say that it’s as good as a new computer. I’m IT, but i’m a philosopher too.
Anyway.. somewhere along the stream of consciousness above, i was supposed to embed the phrase “maybe we put too much stock into identity”, but i seem to have missed it somehow.