Some say that it is a compilation of behavior that gets embedded like a default mode computer program. Some think that it is an illusion and some think that it is a kind of awareness of the self and it is that and yet much much more.
Upon reading a recent article put out by Anthony Patch on his webpage - Entangled. Patch, who is incredibly insightful author that writes aggressively, passionately and with an excellent command of detail on such topics as quantum computing, consciousness and reality, says what I have been saying for years as a Sociologist and that is that consciousness is subjective so there can be no science of consciousness as if it is an objective or physical entity that can be observed in a fixed position.
And for that reason, Patch like many scientists and conscious thinkers today, miss the truth of what consciousness is. It is not an illusion, it is not patterns of behavior quantified into something that one is aware of or is it just being aware of oneself or one's surroundings.
It is much more than that and it is what Charles H. Cooley called the experience of the self as a looking glass and discovering not really the 'self' as an isolated form but a compilation of selves through agreement as in what is agreed upon as common among us- agreement reality. It is within the glass or cloud of the collective that we find any kind of true consciousness.
Now, some will say... "But there must be a truly objective reality even if our agreement reality is embedded within it". Agree! But first, let us remind ourselves that there can be no science of agreement reality as consciousness because it has the same problems that 'one' conscious does.. it is subjective. Yes, you may be able to follow a trail that shows how one and or another arrived at what they think/believe as in agree on but that is not really contained enough to say be able to come up with a scientific objective view of consciousness in any one given moment of time and space.
Such an objective reality exists to a certain degree of agreement reality within our let's say fixed situation /condition here and now. The sun is a star and for us here and now such a fact has not been changed. So what is truly objective? Only that we have agreed the sun is a star. Do we really understand objectively what the sun truly is? No.
We can objectively agree that man is not the designer of himself or of his agreement reality. Why? Because, we 'man' cannot subjectively know anything in an entirety, not even the sun. So, there must be someone or something bigger than him and his agreement reality. What we can know subjectively is that we are a compilation consciousness shaped into an objective mind but only through conscious connections of 'entanglement' = social interaction in a place ... space and time.
Therefore, we can only consciously agree that we consciously exist objectively based on what I just said...