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“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” is one of my favorite quotes from my favorite cosmologist, Carl Sagan. Therefore, let us fall back all the way to the fabric of reality, and recognize a clear problem which is commonly known as “The Problem of Perception”.

Simply put, we cannot know about things that we do not know exist. Sounds funny when I say that, but it is true. I can say it in a slightly different way, if you can imagine something happening, you probably already know something about it.

Let me give you an example. Take gravity. We do not exactly know “why” gravity exists, but we know that there is gravity where there is mass. If I tell you, “Moon has half the gravity of Earth”, you can imagine what it would seem like if you dropped a ball on surface of moon. You can very vividly imagine it. That is, because your brain has already calculated the physics behind the falling of the ball, it bouncing and jumping very high into the sky before it gets pulled back by gravity.

Why would that happen? Afterall, you have not experienced the moon by yourself, if you are not one in a billion astronomers who have actually been to moon and back. That is, because you ‘know’ gravity. You have observed it for a long time, and your brain can take the nature of gravity, isolate it, and change certain properties of it, without having ever observed it, or it being impossible to happen naturally. Rainwater flying upwards, levitation of objects, breaking of things, we can all imagine it and guess an average result, even if we have not really seen it happen.

What about phenomenon that you do not ‘know’ exist? How would you imagine it? You simply cannot. Do you think there are some phenomena in nature that you are not aware about? You know there must be. However, you cannot explain it. Why? because you have never ‘perceived’ it, after all.

Apart from natural reality, we do have an alternative, computed reality, happening in our mind which can exist in a system of itself, in isolation. And your brain can create these isolations as much as it wants, whenever it wants.

figure: Sri Yantra, Vedic Representation of Consciousness and Computation. The center on the dot represents the atman, or the conscious observer. Imagine the straight lines as the observable universe, the outer green circle as your ‘image’ of you as can be felt as being ‘you’, the yellow petals as your physical, material body, the pink lotus petals as your internal organs, grey circle as your brain and the inner flower as your consciousness.

In the real, physical world of our manifestation, or that which we observe, we do not know the limits of what can, and cannot happen, even though we can imagine it happening, or the limits of these phenomenon.

You must be saying, so what is the actual point? What does the James Webb Space Telescope represent? It represents the observation that we have been missing. It will be able to clearly visualize billions, trillions of events that have happened in the universe at some point in time, which means that collectively, we are going to observe millions of phenomena that have happened among different galaxies, stars and planets, and thus, understand more of the hidden secrets of the universe.

Probably about 2000 years in the future, we will look back at this milestone as a very minor achievement in understanding the fabric of the universe.