How would you answer Hollo's molecule questions?

The poem is “Message” by Anselm Hollo. How would you answer the questions in it?


i’m one of Your molecules!

i started from Crab Nebula, but i move about. i’ve moved about for millions of years.

i entered Your body, perhaps as a factor in some edible vegetable, or else i passed into Your lungs as part of the air.

now, what intrigues me is this:

at what exact point, as i entered the mouth, or was absorbed by the skin, was i part of the body?

at what exact moment (later on) do i cease to be part of the body (i.e., You)?

let me know what You think.


Incidentally, the Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away and light from the explosion that created it reached us in 1054, less than 1000 years ago. Forget about starting at the Crab and moving for millions of years.

Heh! Maybe the molecule was stripped from the atmosphere of one of the planets orbiting the star that eventually exploded to form the Crab Nebula!

And… Our boundaries are rather “fuzzy.” We don’t have extremely sharp “set boundaries.” Are my arm hairs “part of me?” Are the loose frazzling split-ends of my arm hairs? How about the little flakes of dead protein spalling off of those frizzy split ends?

At exactly what point does the bolus of digestive products/feces in your intestine cease to be “part of you?”

I think it might just be possible to draw gradients of probability or conditional association. A series of concentric shells, at the 90% level, the 80% level, etc. It would still depend on some assumptions and some definitions that are not objectively verifiable.

If the molecule is in one of the strands of muscle tissue in my heart, it’s “me.” If it’s at the very chippy, chappy, grindy, gritty end of my toe-nail, it ain’t.

Dear Molecule,

You are a very shitty poet.

Sincerely Yrs,

It’s much more lovely in the original dioxidese.

I’m no Quantum Physicist so bear with me if I’ve got the terminology a bit garbled (maybe someone can help me with this) . . .

Your body is just a (rather complex) Quantum Waveform System, the location of which is described as a probability density function indicating the probability that you are in any location at a particular moment. The function is quite dense in that region where you (most probably) now are, trailing off to infinity.

So an atom anywhere in the universe is not either “part of you” or “not part of you”, but rather, every atom in the universe is “part of you with some probability”. As an atom wends its way, say, from the Crabby Nebula towards Earth, it never changes from being “not part of you” to being “part of you”, but simply becomes increasingly probably part of you.

There. I wrote that. I wanted to write something like that to the other nearby thread where the guy asks how far away one of his electrons needs to get to no longer be part of him. But I finally wrote it here.

hi, unidentified molecule!

on your level, I’m really just a fuzzy, blurry blob of atomic and molecular bonds.

at some point we exchange electrons.

then you’re part of Me!

but, if you’re a glucose molecule, I’ll destroy You on a molecular level to use You as energy.

eventually, Your atoms might end up in My breath, dead skin, sweat, piss, shit or farts!

goodbye, tiny molecule, and thanks for all the electrons!


Dear ‘Molecule’

I suspect you’re only an atom, actually.

Get over yourself.


Love it. Threadwinner. <lifts Senegoid’s writing hand aloft before a cheering crowd>