Zooming in–The magic of looking more closely

Too often, we take what we are offered at face value. The zoom setting is determined by someone else, and in our rush to get onto the next thing, we fail to discover what is going on within.

The act of zooming (actually or metaphorically) is a modern thrill, the opportunity to see what was there as we move closer to what is there. Suddenly, new levels reveal themselves to us, and we begin to see the mechanisms that are hidden from us at first glance.

My hunch is that once a medical student has understood what makes us tick, people don’t look quite the same anymore. And once you understand how the banking system works, a credit card offer feels a bit different as well.

If you want a cool example of how this works, click on this photo of 84 million stars, a composite of photos shot by a telescope in Chile. The ESO telescope is capable of putting together a 9 billion pixel image.

But once you click once, you can zoom, again and again and again. Those repeated clicks reminded me of just how vast the galaxy is, more than I ever could have learned from a single picture. It turns out that this vastness is repeated in every system in our lives. If we only care enough to zoom.