Getting Excited about Seeing

We take our sight for granted. But we get more interested in it when we realize that we cannot see most of what goes on around us. And so our interest in microscopes and telescopes has grown over the last centuries. It must have been a “eureka moment” when someone first realized that telescopes could see much better if they were in space. Then came the Hubble. But now we begin to realize that the Hubble was not an ultimate. The James Webb will be 100x more perceptive. It will be launched in around 4 years (2018). Is this going to be an “ultimate”?`Most likely not, though we cannot now imagine how we could do better. But we will.

We might apply the same process to things that we see around us. We have realized for some time that we see only a small fraction of what goes on in our house, garden, community, city, state, nation, etc. And we have known for a long time that when we share information (in exchanges) we see much more. Perhaps this was why the invention of written language (revolutionizing how messaging could be shared across geography and over time) coincided with the start of civilization itself – both happened around 5,000 years ago. So far so good. But do we share as well as we could? Have we reached an ultimate in terms of sharing technology?

It is hard to believe that we have. After all, we just stumbled upon the internet, a thing that some call the “ultimate” in information sharing technology. Well, is the internet — as it is now — the ultimate? I think that folks reading this in the year 2100 will find this idea to be rather amusing. Like we find it odd that a single book could cost as much as a house. But so it was a few hundred years ago.

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