Ever since reading the Nanocosm by William Illsey Atkinson, I’ve always believed that many of the answers we seek in the upper kingdom of the macro world could be found in the lower kingdom; that we don’t need to travel the stars or build more powerful telescopes, but simply look within to find answers to the most perplexing mysteries of the universe.
A couple excerpts from Nanocosm…
As a writer specializing in technology and science, I’ve always loved Douglas Adams’s introduction to The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. “Listen,” it goes. “Space is big. Really, really big. You have no idea how mind-bogglingly, stupendously big space is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the street to the chemist’s (i.e., drugstore) but that’s nothing to space….”
This strikes the perfect note. As you read it, you realize that what at first seemed silly is instead deeply earnest: a near-hysterical attempt to convey what words cannot. The numbers are just too large.
You may not realize, however, that even this galactic macrocosm pales when we reverse the direction of our imaginative voyage. All we need to do is turn inward rather than outward, and peer with ever-higher magnification into the world of the small. The traditional Chinese conception of our everyday world is exact. It is ch’ung k’uo, the middle kingdom. It, and we its inhabitants, are poised delicately between the unimaginably immense and the unimaginably minute.”
Here is a very cool and mind expanding flash animation created by Carey and Micheal Huang which allows you to journey from the enormous to the minute and everywhere in between.