I, Theseus

third year nicolas horne

photo by noah buchanan

photo by noah buchanan

The people of Athens, Greece have a grand ship, Theseus, that they have been sailing for many decades. As time goes by, pieces of the wooden vessel decay and rot away needing replacement. Yet, instead of building a new ship, the Athenians renovate Theseus piece-by-piece. Eventually, most of their beloved ship is replaced, but the question remains, is it still their ship? Despite looking completely different, is it still Theseus, the same ship they set sail with decades ago?

Parts of me have been decaying and rotting for a while. At first, it was barely noticeable. However, it is now too evident. It’s starting to affect my path and navigation. At first, I did my best to blame what was happening on the winds, but over time it’s become apparent that I am the problem. I am no longer suitable for the waters I’m in. Like the Athenians, I must replace the pieces of myself that are decaying with newer pieces—pieces more apt to the waters I choose to sail.

Currently, I am very comfortable with my life and routine I have constructed here so far at UGA. It's the reason I am who I am and know the people who I know. This comfort is a problem. I have stopped pushing as hard and reaching as far as I used to. At least, I feel this way. A lot of time has been wasted. Repetition in life is necessary, but if you sail on the same planks for too long, I guess something is bound to break down.

It really is difficult to replace these pieces, as I imagine repairing an actual ship would be. Along with it comes the anxiety. What if the new pieces don’t sit well with the ship? What if more damage is inflicted on the ship in the attempts to fix it? What if the planks do not seal right? Will people still recognize the old grand ship and what it stands for? Is the ship still Theseus? Will I still be me?

The brilliance of the Athenian people was their ability to spot the rot and decay that would’ve later made their ship sink. There are many ways one could go about answering the question, “Is the ship still Theseus?” I like to think it is the same ship, but all that really matters is that it's still floating above the water. I hope the same will be said for me.

Happy Monday