Consciousness is not solely perception. It is also our ability to store semantic trees, so that we may remember a mental state.
Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem implies that all meaning is subjective. Yet rather than searching for meaning in randomness, there is higher utility in creating our own inner language to describe the universe. I’ve said before that any simulated universe must be contained within a self-computing base reality. In order for thought to exist, there must also exist a base reality which is self-contained, describing everything. Curiously, when we look at the halting problem with turing machines, we find that there are systems which have an unknowable end state, because we don’t know if teaching two turing machines communicating in parallel to generate symbols to describe their internal states has a finite output. This may have to do with the way information is created. I may be writing the same symbols as other English speakers, yet my internal state includes an active flow state of mental information as chemical and electrical propagations through my biological wetware. I can describe my biology, or my thought process, or my emotions, or my formative memories, or even map out my synapses. Yet my sense of self includes a temporal existence which persists between changes. A memory of my experiences from who I was before today, and a multitude of covariant wishes and aspirations for who I will be tomorrow. Thermodynamics and self-determination implies that we are all interacting with the same base reality, so even if the symbols we use are inherently meaningless, we can learn to create an inner language which allows us to communicate with other people, and reconstruct their own perception of reality. One way of storing imaginary abstractions is in semantic trees. Representing an idea as a tree, allows us to store a flow chart as a neural embedding, and incorporate the biological memory of our perceptions as a physical information highway which embeds our imaginary flow charts into a biological framework which we can reactivate with a visual or auditory cue.
Consciousness is not solely the ability to learn and remember. It is also our self-awareness. Self-awareness requires a biological metastructure which reflects our thoughts back to our attention center. This is like having a database which allows backpropagation of signals, so that when we send a signal to ourselves, we can hear our own thoughts. This is useful for learning self-awareness, self-control, editing our perception of pleasure, and validating our self-identity. Learning to listen to ourselves is the key to self-improvement, and introspection allows us to better understand ourselves. Becoming our ideal self begins with a wish!