Man looking at his feet

This fairly clear 2011 paper by Axel Cleeremans reveals an understanding of where consciousness comes from: the brain attempting to describe itself.

“Learning and plasticity are thus central to consciousness, to the extent that experiences only occur in experiencers that have learned to know they possess certain first-order states and that have learned to care more about certain states than about others.” 

Take that, Skynet.

via ncbi.nlm.nih.gov