Great physicists have tended to see mind as underlying matter but a new school of thought argues that consciousness is a form of matter, like solid, liquid, or gas.
Max Tegmark, who sees consciousness as a fourth state of matter (perceptronium), offers to explain in New Scientist:
WHY are you conscious right now? Specifically, why are you having a subjective experience of reading these words, seeing colours and hearing sounds, while the inanimate objects around you presumably aren’t having any subjective experience at all?
Different people mean different things by “consciousness”, including awareness of environment or self. I am asking the more basic question of why you experience anything at all, which is the essence of what philosopher David Chalmers has coined “the hard problem” of consciousness.
The article is paywalled but here’s his paper, “Consciousness as a state of matter,” and here’s a vid if you can’t sleep:
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At the end of the day, it’s not just that we don’t have any good theories of consciousness; it’s that we don’t have any real theories at all.