There is no shortage of musical groups which contain no original members, perhaps an inevitability if a group lasts long enough. For instance: the Dixie Hummingbirds have been a working singing group since 1928; founder James B. Davis died in 2007 at ninety-one. Then again, the Britpop group Sugababes, which dates only to 1998, has no original members remaining, though apparently they’ve always been a fractious bunch.
Regarding the latter, Andrew King muses:
Which mythical hero’s conveyance links the Sugababes with a river and George Washington’s Axe?
The river in question is the one mentioned by Heraclitus, the one you can never step into twice because it’s never exactly the same river. The vessel, of course, is the Ship of Theseus, as described by Plutarch:
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 place, 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.
Where this gets convoluted is in a later analysis by Thomas Hobbes, who wondered: if you gathered up all the original, discarded planks, and built a ship from them, can it legitimately be called the Ship of Theseus?
Until Starfleet Command can reassure me on these matters, I’m not setting foot in a transporter.
(See also this contemplation of Washington’s axe.)