The Rosebud Effect

posted in: hopeful muttering | 0

For a god, it would not be impossible.

Finding all of the atoms that currently come together to make up what I think of as “Me” really could be done – even 6 billion years ago.


Whatever god searching  would have to be able to travel pretty quickly though. 6 Billion years ago before the planets around us formed, the calcium atom about 1/4inch down and a little to the left, in my right knee would be over . . . .there. Then a few of the hydrogen atoms in my brain would be off about 16 or 20 light-minutes down in THAT direction . . . . oh… and that one zinc atom presently in my hip, that’s so far off it would take light 23 light minutes to reach it . . .could be pinpointed THERE. . . .


So many tiny particles . . . or, philosophically speaking  “points of probability”. . . scattered over an area larger that our current solar system – all those billions of years ago, somehow wandered through space and time and fire and wind and water and dirt to eventually coalesce into my current form.

Bizarre and improbable are BOTH massive understatements no matter who you apply the timeline of molecular migration to.


In fact, if we’re to believe what we’re told by very brainy scientists “in the know” . . . the configuration of all the sub-microscopic particles that make up who I’m supposed to be, isn’t even the same configuration as it was when I started typing this sentence.

“So what’s the point here anim5? Where are you going with this?”


Well . . . . I’ve been cleaning out my basement.

And I’ve been finding things.

Relatively speaking, I’ve been finding OLD things.

One of the images I have posted on my personal website (, is of a bookstore window display. Two of them actually. One side of the entrance had “Fantasy” as its theme. The other side, “Science Fiction”. The displays held paperback and hardcover classics from both genre’s along with sculptures, buttons, plastic models and posters all meant to supplement the widow’s overall ‘feel’. The windows and the pictures are from the year 1983.


B. Dalton Booksellers. 1983 - My Science fiction "book" display.
B. Dalton Booksellers. 1983


One of the plastic models on the “Science Fiction” side was of an evil killer robot named “Maximilian” from a Disney film called THE BLACK HOLE. It was fun looking at the photo all these years knowing I had built all those models and put them on display for the public. Supposedly it was to sell books, but I didn’t care much about that. I was just keen on showing off all my STUFF.


A few days ago, I found that very same Maximilian model in a box in my basement. Somehow it made the journey from one living space after another on and off shelves, into boxes wrapped in whatever came to hand to keep it safe. . . . and most recently spent the last 15 years resting comfortably in a box for so long that I’d forgotten I even OWNED the thing anymore. But there it was.

Another collection of Bizarre and improbable particle arrangements.

Bizarre And Improbable Particle Arrangements.



Seems like everything we look at could be called a “BAIPA”. ( Browse around for exotic bugs and animals and you’ll just GAPE in wonder that anything like them should exist at ALL.)

But the objects made by humans, along with the humans themselves are at the top of my list for strangeness.

It just strikes me as Outrageously Weird…. The moment of discovering that silly plastic model of a cartoonishly evil monster robot from a pretty poor motion picture, invoked a wonderful feeling of familiarity, youth, home, roots . . . .original wonder at the epic possibilities in the imagination. And it was something I glued together and painted long ago. It’s an object that could never be replaced, because it was put together 34 years ago by a collection of particles that had my name and evolving personality/memory/knowledge  pattern.




So, fast forwarding in jump-cuts to 2017… Here’s me, a BAIPA that, for reasons that aren’t fully understood, is self-aware and conscious …having an emotional response to another BAIPA that was assembled by a version of me that’s physically long dead. What triggers the emotion?


Should strong attachments or reactions to decades-old personal possessions be tossed into the mix for Turing Tests to determine if androids are “sentient”? ( Now seeing Data and his hologram figurine of Yar. And the replicant from BLADERUNNER holding onto his old photographs.)


I have no doubt I’ll find other BAIPA’s in the basement that will ALSO trigger strong mental/emotional responses. Items I’d long forgotten I ever had.

How strange it is that one fluid, fleeting and completely improbable packet of elements should form an emotional or sentimental attachment to a “thing” or collection of “things”.

Maximilian plastic model kit.
Re-Discovered object in my basement.


It’s nostalgia cranked up to higher and higher levels when we KNOW they’re “things” we valued over many versions of ourselves. The time the items come from might have been a time with more possibilities.

It dredges up images of the classic “rosebud”, whispered by the billionaire on his deathbed in CITIZEN KANE.

I don’t know why souvenirs of any kind cause the response. Souvenirs are not PEOPLE… they’re THINGS. Amazingly Bizarre and Improbable Particle Arrangements. BAIPA’s . . .just like  Humans.


Applying some ‘fuzzy thinking’ to the subject, I now have to speculate that if these THINGS had any kind of consciousness . . would they feel the same attachment to their owners?

After being re-discovered in old paper wrapping after a few decades tucked away in a massive field of LABYRINTH style junk . . . would they react if they could?

“Hi! Remember us? You thought we were important once.”

Wouldn’t it be grand if the creator of the universe came by the human race one day and and we could say the same thing?


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