Consciousness defines our existence and reality. But how does the brain generate thoughts and feelings? Most explanations portray the brain as a computer, with nerve cells ("neurons") and their synaptic connections acting as simple switches, or "bits" which interact in complex ways. In this view consciousness is said to "emerge" as a novel property of complex interactions among neurons, as hurricanes and candle flames emerge from complex interactions among gas and dust molecules. However this approach fails to explain why we have feelings and awareness, an "inner life". So we don't know how the brain produces consciousness.
We also don't know if our conscious perceptions accurately portray the external world, or if we all have similar pictures of what lies outside our conscious minds. In fact, the fundamental nature of reality remains as mysterious as the mechanism for our conscious perceptions.
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