Turn on a TV set. What do you see? At the very least, in analog TV sets, those flickering black/white lines. What causes them, or any moving pictures on the screen? Electrons hitting the phosphor screen behind the glass. But what’s the result of these finite, quantized events? The TV picture.
Likewise with the brain, and consciousness. Not a “hard” problem at all. We know that consciousness requires a functioning brain. You have neurons flickering on and off all the time. Yet this somehow results in our conscious perception of the world, the “what we see and experience” when we are awake.
The neurons flicker, and in so doing re-create or just create the physical world. Just like what happens with a TV set.
But if you follow this idea further, you will come to realize that there can never be a “brain in a vat”. We need our bodies connected to our brain, since the data that the brain gets doesn’t just come in from the physical body, but our brain sends signals back out to the body. This happens all the time. Afferent and efferent nerve signals. So, solipsism cannot exist. My brain gets signals from my body, it connects these to the real world, and sends signals back to my body in response.
Think of it this way. As we experience the world, we mold neural pathways in our brains. When we send electrical signals along those same pathways, it’s as though we are re-experiencing that same world. This is indeed correct, since it’s been proven that if we imagine ourselves going through a physical movement, like a sports movement, our brain can’t tell the difference between our imagining ourselves doing it, and actually doing it.
As though our neurons were building a picture of the real world in our heads.
Instead of facing a brick wall and saying that consciousness is a “hard” problem, it would be more instructive to ask how consciousness is affected if we do things to the brain. Drugs dull consciousness. What’s going on here? Consciousness is being turned down. An electrical current to the claustrum in the brain results in unconsciousness.
In addition, consciousness is not smooth or continuous. Our eyes jerk around all the time, they are called saccades, yet we experience the world smoothly. So, right off the bat, consciousness is illusory in some small degree.
When a person is about to perform a physical act, it’s been shown that the signal goes out before the person is conscious of the event. So, consciousness is limited, in addition to being unsmooth.
Consciousness is indeed illusory. It’s not continuous, a lot of stuff happens below the radar of consciousness. Our consciousness serves a purpose: it gives us a coherent view of the world with which to interact in it.
The thermostat is NOT conscious. It has no memory, and cannot intentionally react back against the real world.
When we are conscious of the real world, it’s like we’re watching the TV show from inside of our heads. Also, qualia are the same for everyone. All that pain is is simply a signal that a distortion to the body has occurred.