As pointed out, the general tendency is towards degeneracy - entropy always wins in the end. I’ve been a strongly visual person from a pretty young age and engaged in very visual pursuits through the years. So, over time, as my eyesight slowly totters into antiquity, my sensitivity, recognition and understanding of visual aspects has increased. Which has made every progressive decline a psychologically sharp ache.
A lot (not all) of the decline tends to be in accommodation, and there some things like magnification can help put the image into a zone where the dilapidated eyes are at their best. I doubt that telescopes aimed at the non-scientific, non-big budget enterprises (I.e., you and me) are going to go grossly beyond what the average eye is capable of handling. They are made by firms that need to make profits and there is little market for products that promise experiences one cannot experience. Sure, we can factor in some psychological factors like bragging rights, wishful thinking (and seeing) etc. but my guess is that would be at the margins and not the median level of the market. Sort of like a (very) small number of people may buy Ferrari LaFerrari/ Musigny Grand Cru wine/substitute your high end, expensive metaphor but the Toyota Camrys will outsell them by orders of magnitude.
In that sense, the eyes have always been the bottleneck - we don’t know what we don’t know till somebody does something crazy (like the Herschel’s grinding their monster mirrors) and we get to experience it.
I guess it might be some salve to recognize that the visual experience is in large part an illusion generated by the brain. And it uses all kinds of nifty tricks and hacks to provide us with a coherent experience. As but one example, we all have a blind spot in the retina where the optic nerve exits the eye and heads back into the brain (thus no photoreceptors in this region). None of us has the experience of walking around with a gaping hole in our visual field and this is because the brain uses memory for the area (developed as the eye darts around in sacchades) and if you artificially restrict that, it samples the region around the blind spot and fills in the area - it makes up stuff.
In fact, in some sense, all of our experience is something of an illusion. A very entertaining read is ‘Phantoms in the Brain’ by neuroscientist V S Ramchandran who documents and explains some pretty bizarre experiences that result when this system is messed up by trauma or disease. Makes you appreciate just how tenuous our experiences are.
Edited by dnayakan, 24 May 2023 - 06:40 PM.