A reader writes:
I have to point out that Manzotti's explanation for consciousness, and his comparison of it to viewing a rainbow, is tautological. He posits a viewer of the rainbow in a particular time and place for consciousness to arise, but who is this viewer of consciousness, other than consciousness itself? He requires there to be a conscious observer for consciousness to arise, which means that consciousness must be prior to any set of conditions, and not the result of their fortuitous confluence.
This is why the non-dual traditions of Hinduism say that the observing consciousness is, if examined directly, the ultimate reality upon which all things depend, including our very sense of self, rather than, as Western science tries to demonstrate, a consequence of conditional phenomena such as the brain and nervous system. Attempts such as these by Mazotti to reduce consciousness to an effect, however complex, always fail because they at some point still must posit an observer of these effects, and this leads us back to the notion that it is consciousness that is fundamental to existence, not the seemingly objective conditions we can observe.
One is always brought back to the fundamental question, "Who is the observer?", or really, "Who am I?", which is the central focus of Hindu non-dualism, for the very simple reason that it is the only question that continually demands we resolve the contradictions of our own experiential self-existence without resort to tautologies.
If you're really interested in different theories of consciousness, I highly recommend the book Power Vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins. I don't know if you'll find yourself agreeing with his premise, but I suspect you would find the ideas he presents very stimulating.