Detail

A moment ago, it just struck me as really strange that, in facsimiles and depictions, the only detail of the thing depicted is the detail the creator expects the audience to notice, but in real life, all the detail, in absolutely perfect intricacy, is always there.  Like -- there are hair follicles on my body that currently have hair growing in them, there are books that have pages that contain writing in every library in the world, even when virtually all of them are virtually always closed. In every star in the sky, right now, at this moment, there are specific, individual atoms smashing into specific other individual atoms with specific, individual consequences.

Depictions leave things out, though. Video games only render the face of a rock you're going to see: if you clip through it, you discover that not only is the rock hollow, it's not even visible from the inside. Paintings don't have a back to them featuring the rest of the person. Sculptures don't have hair folicles, individual, growing. The stars in "Starry Night" contain the same, inaccurate, combination of molecules they did when they were first put on the canvas, more-or-less.

And our perception even leaves things out. If you stare at a pattern on the wall long enough parts of it will just sort of stop being patterned in certain chunks of your vision. We think of obviously-fake things like books and movies as being real, whenever it's convenient or comfortable for us to do so. We think of other people as being basically like one of the other people we know, or like one of the other people we've heard described, or the person we remember them being last time we took a good look, 10 minutes/months/years ago.

But that detail is always still there. That person you haven't taken a new look at in the last ten minutes has had an entire ten minutes worth of new life happen in their brain -- life that may have had profound implications on the nature of your relationship with them, in that moment/day/month/lifetime. They may have remembered a song that changed their mood completely. They may have suddenly realized that they love you, or don't love you, or don't care and thought they did. They may have realized that about somebody else, in a way that's inconvenient for you.

Those changes grow from possible to certain when you scale up by decades, because it really only takes a few minutes for life-changing thoughts to occur, and given 10 years worth of time to have thoughts in, eventually one of them's going to relate to someone who hasn't been paying attention in the meantime.

This was a weird place for a thought that started with "It's weird that mitochondria have existed for thousands of years before we even found out what cells were" to have gone.