Rebuilding the past

22nd March 2024. Reading Time: 5 minutes Paranormal Theories, General. 753 page views. 0 comments.

Is energy absorbed into a location or do we project its history back onto it?

Before we begin, it may seem random but I will be discussing something that occurred in the final episode of the Marvel TV Series Wandavision which aired in 2021.  I feel enough time has passed with subsequent movies that I can discuss it without being yelled at, however, if you don't want to see a spoiler about what happened, then stop reading.  What does that have to do with the paranormal you may ask?  Well, read on to find out.  

In the final episode, we see two versions of the character Vision fighting to the death.  One is a mental projection created from chaos magic.  The other is the body of the original vision rebuilt with new programming.  The following discussion then takes place.

Vision: Vision: You are familiar with the thought experiment the ship of Theseus in the field of identity metaphysics?
Vision: W. Vision: Naturally.
Vision: W. Vision: The ship of Theseus is an artifact in a museum. Over time, it's planks of wood rot and are replaced with new planks.
Vision: W. Vision: When no original plank remains, is it still the ship of Theseus?
Vision: Vision: Secondly, if those removed planks are restored and reassembled, free of the rot, is that the Ship of Theseus?
Vision: W. Vision: Neither is the true ship.
Vision: W. Vision: Both are the true ship.

The Ship of Theseus

Image Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Greek writer Plutarch is responsible for this mind-bending philosophical conundrum.  Also referred to as the Theseus’ Paradox, this thought experiment raises questions about identity over a span of time.  

“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, insomuch 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, 1st — 2nd century CE)

The simple yet not so simple question is that as each plank of wood is replaced, eventually you have none of the original ship left.  Does this mean it is still the ship of Theseus?  Some believe there is no answer to this question while others try to argue some sort of resolution.

When I think of this, I immediately think of some of our favourite 'haunts' that investigators flock to.  Many are hundreds of years old and of course have been restored.  While some have the original foundations, they are mostly rebuilt much like the ship of Theseus.  With that brings our own paranormal philosophical question to answer.  Is the energy of the past absorbed into the original foundations or do we project its history back onto itself?

Absorbing the past

When researching the above, I came across the below explanation in which the very final line really got my attention.

The experiment applies not just to inanimate objects like the ‘ship’, but to living beings, too. Consider having two photos side by side of the same person, one picture shows the person in old age and the other picture shows the person in their youth. The experiment asks, how is the person in the two pictures the same, and how are they different?

The body continually regenerates cells, and science tells us that after seven years, the entire body no longer has any of its original cells. Therefore, the human body, just like the Ship of Theseus, has come to be different to its original form, because the old parts have been replaced with new ones to create an entirely new object.

Heraclitus, quoted by Plato in the Cratylus, argued that “all things move and nothing remains still”. This argument maintains that nothing retains its identity, or that identity is a fluid concept, and never one thing for very long. Therefore, neither ship is the original Ship of Theseus.

Regarding the above example, some theorists argue that objects like the ship, are different to a human being because a human has memories, whereas an inanimate object, does not. This comes from John Locke’s theory that it is our memory that links us through time to our past selves.

Therefore, is identity tied to memory, body, neither, or a combination of the two?

Is identity tied to memory?  This really resonated with me when it comes to the paranormal.  I do really think there is a strong connection between memory and paranormal phenomena.  Check out my article Memory and the Paranormal to go a bit further, but essentially it discusses the concept of psychic projection tied to memory.  Can the act of a person remembering or thinking of someone who has passed cause a paranormal event to happen.  I do believe to a certain extent that this is what is occurring at many paranormal locations that are hosting public paranormal tours.  You have a group of people all thinking about a particular person and their story hoping to make contact.  That is quite powerful not just on an emotional level but on a psychic level as well.  

We also must then look at the physical aspect as well.  Does the past get absorbed into the walls and foundations of a location?  If this is the case, what happens when we are taking away those elements like the rotting wooden boards and replacing them with new ones?  Does this mean we are removing the energy imprints of the past?  Some locations have quite a lot intact, while others don't.  Some believe that renovations can cause paranormal activity to stir.  Often people believe it is because spirits are not happy with changes being made.  What if it has more to do with the disturbance of the energy imprints being removed or changed?

Of course I don't have any answers here, I wanted to merely start a discussion and get you thinking.  So what do you think about the above?  Is the energy imprinted into the location itself or are we projecting onto it?  (Personally, I think it might be a bit of both).

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