If I undersdand it, the closest thing would be "not have it", or, have the original element in a "backup layer" (just a layer that you leave there and don't mess with it, nothing fancy), so, if you've made a destructive operation with the "dumb object", and it would be troublesome to restore it, you can always recover the original and do whatever. But if such smart objects can maintain "filters" and such things, that's simply no other way to emulate it other than redoing whatever you've done again. It's more a matter of having a certain (harder) workflow than a feature set approximation. :-/
I think Inkscape's objects are somewhat naturally "smarter" in this sense, since they're vectorial to begin with, and can be non-destructively edited but preserving effects/filters. It certainly won't be exactly the same with raster images you may use on it.