What if an atom could think and perceive it’s surroundings. What would it make of the world it found itself in. It would see the other atoms around it, it might find itself attaching and detaching from other atoms. sometimes it might find itself constantly passing atoms, never staying in one place. Other times it might be stuck in one spot for long periods of time, and get to know it’s neighbors very well.
But it would be very hard for it to get a good sense of the larger system it’s a part of. It could be part of a stone, but it wouldn’t really know anything about the stone, all the atom would know is that it’s been mostly staying still for quite a long time. An atom could be part of a living cell. It would see lots of other atoms zipping by, in a wide variety of molecule formations, but it wouldn’t be able to grasp it’s part of a living creature.
It may have a much better understanding than we do of the smaller systems it can more easily perceive. It might have much better understandings than we do of how it interacts with it’s immediate neighbors, how the smaller systems of quarks and subatomic particles work together that we have a hard time grasping, maybe even smaller particles we don’t have the means to know about yet.
Likewise we may be completely ignorant of unfathomably large systems we’re members of but have no way to observe. The largest structures we know of, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, maybe the universe itself, could just be a small part of a much larger system we have no way of comprehending. We just see the other stars, galaxies, clusters, in the universe, and observe what we can about them. Just like an atom would just see other atoms and not the larger structure, we could be looking at a tiny, minuscule slice of a much bigger system and not realize it.