“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” ~ Rumi
If you consider two rugs woven with identical patterns, do you believe they are the same, or different rugs? If you had the choice to use a teleportation machine which destroyed you at the origin and recreated you at the destination, would you use it?
If you believe the rugs are different then you probably also wouldn’t use the teleporter, and identify yourself as the matter which comprises you. This matter flows through your body in the very same way that water flows through a whirlpool in a river. According to science it takes approximately seven years for every piece of matter in your body to be renewed, which is much longer than for water to pass through a vortex, though principally the process is the same. So if you believe the rugs are different, then you will be half of who you are now three and a half years from now, and someone else entirely after seven years. And that someone will look and act like you, but won’t be you, for the matter which you are is only passing through the process of this body.
If you consider the rugs to be the same and instead identify as the pattern or process of your mind and body rather than the energy that flows through it, then you could consider yourself seven years from now or seven years prior, to be you, however you would also believe that if you were somehow cloned using hypothetically conceivable technology, then that clone would be as much you as you are you.
Another solution is to identify your fundamental substance and nature in the way that modern physics and eastern philosophies suggest. That is that all is one, each ‘individual’ particle is simply a vibration in its respective field. We are all waves on the same string. In the same way that a river isn’t a vortex, but rather ‘does’ a vortex, we aren’t humans, we’re the energy of the universe ‘doing’ humans. Seen this way we are not only us for the lifetimes of our bodies, for we don’t die along with our bodies in the same way that a river doesn’t die when it stops producing a whirlpool. Therefore we aren’t humans in the same way a river isn’t a vortex, rather, like the flowing water of a river, we are the flowing energy of the universe. As a river is all of its eddies and vortices, the universe is every animal, blade of grass, and star that has ever, and will ever exist. As a river whirls and a dancer dances, the universe ‘peoples‘.