This article on the Science & Consciousness review discusses the fact that brains appear to be persistent and consistent but their actual physical molecules are recycling in days, hours, and minutes. This makes me think of Steven Johnson’s excellent book Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants Brains Cities And Software wherein he discusses the life cycle of ant colonies from birth to death which have an arc of months or years, despite the fact that the ants themselves live only weeks (not sure if I have the timelines correct but that’s the basic gist of it.)

Another author who may be able to she light on this would be Ken Wilber in his book, A Brief History of Everything. His principle of holons (all things are both a whole and a part of something else larger which is also a whole) would certainly encapsulate (no pun intended) the findings in the Sci-Con article about how the whole shapes the parts as much as the parts shape the whole.

This also feeds into kinesiology and athletic rehabilitation theory around why the body continues to have persistent injury sites even though the molecules themselves are being replaced on a weekly or monthly basis.

It appears that for better or worse, the whole reinforces the new parts coming in and keeps them in the same functional or dysfunctional role/position that they were in before.