And something to chew on:
"...whatever ideas are put forward, one thorny question remains: How can something as immaterial as consciousness ever arise from something as unconscious as matter?
If the anomaly persists, despite all attempts to explain it, then maybe the fundamental assumptions of the prevailing worldview need to be questioned. This is what Copernicus did when confronted with the perplexing motion of the planets. He challenged the geocentric worldview, showing that if the sun, not the earth, was at the center, then the movements of the planets began to make sense. But people don't easily let go of cherished assumptions. Even when, 70 years later, the discoveries of Galileo and Kepler confirmed Copernicus's proposal, the establishment was loath to accept the new model. Only when Newton formulated his laws of motion, providing a mathematical explanation of the planets' paths, did the new paradigm start gaining wider acceptance.
The continued failure of our attempts to account for consciousness suggests that we too should question our basic assumptions. The current scientific worldview holds that the material world--the world of space, time and matter -- is the primary reality. It is therefore assumed that the internal world of mind must somehow emerge from the world of matter. But if this assumption is getting us nowhere, perhaps we should consider alternatives.
One alternative that is gaining increasing attention is the view that the capacity for experience is not itself a product of the brain. This is not to say that the brain is not responsible for what we experience -- there is ample evidence for a strong correlation between what goes on in the brain and what goes on in the mind -- only that the brain is not responsible for experience itself. Instead, the capacity for consciousness is an inherent quality of life itself.
In this model, consciousness is like the light in a film projector. The film needs the light in order for an image to appear, but it does not create the light. In a similar way, the brain creates the images, thoughts, feelings and other experiences of which we are aware, but awareness itself is already present.
All that we have discovered about the correlations between the brain and experience still holds true. This is usually the case with a paradigm shift; the new includes the old. But it also resolves the anomaly that the old could not explain. In this case, we no longer need scratch our heads wondering how the brain generates the capacity for experience.
This proposal is so contrary to the current paradigm, that die-hard materialists easily ridicule and dismiss it. But we should not forget the bishops of Galileo's time who refused to look through his telescope because they knew his discovery was impossible." - Peter Russell