Today, I sit like many of you, in anticipation of the release of more images from the James Webb Space Telescope. A marvel of engineering and science capable of expanding our view to the light of the earliest universe and habitable worlds. In this vast and extraordinary cosmos, it is easy to find difference, to see the alien nature of what is “out there.” We feel like we look out from the eyepiece of this beautiful telescope… instead we are looking also within.
We are not distinct from the universe. Our experience is of a piece with it, a unique viewport coupled with the smells, sounds, sensations, and our unique thoughts of being it—of being this universe of experience we call consciousness. Not a separate self and a cosmos, but non-dual loving awareness.
Our existence, even in the most materialistic rendering of reality, is one with the processes of the universe. We are made of starstuff to be sure, nearly eternal in our mass and matter. Our existence, like all of the rich material structures of space, the stars, galaxies, and nebula, plays out in the ancient ruts formed in the first minutes of the universe by quantum fluctuations; places in spacetime where complexity could find temporary respite from the entropic, thermal equilibrium of spreading out.
And for now, complexity reigns in those places where we point the James Web Space Telescope. As the bits flipped and ran random instructions, a new process to counter entropy was programmed into these ruts in the early universe, selection, a way in which the universe could program the complexity into viable engines of greater entropy like galaxies, stars, planets, brains, and consciousness.
The fundamental layer of reality is not known. It is as likely bits as it, programmable quantum distinctions with basic subroutines like selection running in areas of high complexity, including in consciousness. The insufficiencies of separating ourselves from the complex, dynamic programming that we are one with, that makes the fundamental fabric of reality, are being revealed to the selection pressures core to the processes of the universe… to be stripped away every time we see ourselves in the cosmos.