There is a notion that an object's history is contained within itself.

For example, a rock that have been smiled at will be somehow different than a rock that has been frowned on.

It has been humorously referenced to on SMBC.

I wanted to read more about as research for my fantasy writing. How is it called? What's the opposite of it called?


3 Answers 3



This is a video of Joe Rogan taking about whether inanimate objects have memory. I didn't watch it but I imagine if there is a specific term they'll likely mention it. That is, of course, if the term panpsychism (the idea that all matter has consciousness) isn't QUITE what you mean.


One thing to be wary of is the use of the phrase "within itself". It assumes that if something that belongs in some way to an object, such as its history, actually existed it would have to be within the object because otherwise a reductive explanation of it would not be easy. Keep an open mind. Reductionism isn't the only way to explain something. There is also an holistic approach to consider as well. Whatever it might be could be part of a field of some sort around the object or explained in ways no one has thought of yet.

Since plants are alive it may be easier to see that they might store their history in some way. See Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola's Billiant Green: the surprising history and science of plant intelligence.

A stone, however, is not a plant. Could it store its history? Can it respond to human negativity? An attempt to detect responses of water to human emotional behavior was done by Masaro Emoto. Although water is not a stone, it appears to be closer to a stone than a plant does. See Emoto's The Hidden Messages in Water. Expect people to criticize such research but keep an open mind. As a fantasy writer you probably already have an open mind.

Regarding fantasy writing, socionomists who predict a coming bear market would also claim that people will be more interested in the magical during that period. As long as your writing stays clear of rationalist science fiction themes, your writing should have a growing audience assuming socionomists are right and a long term bear market is coming soon.


Object's memory

This reminds me of homeopathic medicine. An object which can remember things without a filter, there is no distinguishing or interpretation of events done in the presence of the object.

And as with memory, it only has significance if it can be replayed. So objects may store information. And if the object cannot distinguish significance from just being, a smile or a frown means nothing, they are the same.

If life is a construction where the viewer is the centre, then the object could be effected because the most significant action is the mood or expression of the viewer. If everything has the potential to respond to the viewer, which is anticipated, then the system has the potential to store events and then replay them.

So the systems construction defines the objects potential, where we in an analytical empirical way believe the object is independent from the viewer and experiences which is an assumption.

If you know about lights wave particle duality where a light beam can be viewed either way depending on how it is looked at which suggests such a dependency. So maybe things are not as they appear.

  • Water memory seems related, yes. I'm looking for a concept based in duality, though, not physical mechanism for a rock to store the smile. It's more related to ancient myths and magic. Replaying such object memories in old beliefs would mean, for example "bringing bad luck". In magic it could mean the rock would be a happiness talisman. Though in the end I'm just looking for the label for the concept.
    – Minty
    Apr 21, 2018 at 8:45

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