PRESERVATION OF IDENTITY ILLUSTRATED

An illustration may help us understand how this preservation of, identity can take place without the transmigration of any "self-identifiable" entity. Suppose we have a candle burning at 8 o'clock. If we come back in an hour, at 9 o'clock, we see that the candle is still burning, and we say that it is the same candle. This statement is completely valid from the standpoint of conventional linguistic usage. But if we examine this matter close-up we'll see that at every moment the candle is burning different particles of wax, every moment it is burning a different section of wick, different molecules of oxygen. Thus the wax, wick and the oxygen being burnt are always different from moment to moment, and yet because the moments of flame link together in a continuum, one moment of flame giving rise to the next, we still say it is the same flame. But actually the flame is different from moment to moment. The flame itself is an entirely different phenomenon. It is conditioned by wax, the wick and air, and apart from them there is nothing.

Transmission of the flame
Simile of the candle

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