The hard problem
Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view. I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions (in this article and related articles).
Consciousness is generated by brain function. How this is accomplished is the "hard problem" designated by David Chalmers.
Facts (and likely facts) and conclusions:
Information = knowing (= consciousness)
Contents of mind and consciousness = geometrical shape (of molecules) + mathematical reality of physicality + everywhere that that information is stored.
What is "red"? It's more than photons at red wavelength. Also, includes information embedded in brain circuits that process "red".
The contents of consciousness and mind is: all the various brain functioning, the structure of brain processing.
What is like to be a bat? This is too hard of a problem. Can better isolate the factors of "what is red"? (And doing so answers the question of what is consciousness and mind.) If you know "what is red"? you can construct a bat's experience.
Can you answer "what is red"? by invoking a spiritual realm or God?
No! It just gives you a mental category in which to place your ignorance. You could just as easily propose Pantheism, with the ignorance = God. Then,... remove God. Having God in the solution provides no benefit whatsoever. (Because now you also need to explain why God is.)
Therefore, the sum total of the subjective experience of "red" is the full set of physical information involved (and therefore the universe must contain consciousness and mind within its essence).
Color-blindness: someone who can't see red. Part of the "red" circuit is mis-wired. (the part having color).
The brain has 86 billion neurons, each having an average of maybe 7,000 connections to other neurons. Certainly there is enough processing power in the brain to generate all the contents of consciousness. This includes: (1) every kind of experience, (2) every mental and psychological program guiding our thoughts and behaviors, and (3) all memories.
When you are so tired and sleepy, you long for sleep, knowing full well you will become unconscious. But you are happy about the prospect because of the weariness of extended wakefulness. Experiencing the feeling of consciousness with its contents is no longer worth the drudgery, and you happily drift off to sleep.
Certainly some people long for death if their life has become weary and burdensome. Perhaps a good way to not fear death is to think of it as a kind of unconscious sleep. Or maybe it's better to not think about death at all, to assume it won't happen, to ignore it.
Perhaps the experience of consciousness is: time flowing with information changing. For example, a folded protein has information embedded within its shape. As time progresses, this protein moves around, chemically interacts with other molecules, maybe even dissolves into its amino acids.
In the brain, these changes of information over time are highly concentrated due to the complex biological machinery of the neural network. Perhaps this is what we experience as consciousness?