I am going to have a go at the idea of consciousness.
'Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.' Wikipedia
Several research scientists are looking into the role of the brain in creating that state. Here are links to some of the work:
1. Christof Koch "https://futurism.com/new-find-may-explain-how-the-brain-creates-consciousness/"
I kind of like Koch's idea that there is a web of neurons which spread over the brain's surface and provide connections to some of the brain structures. This idea might support my thought.
Think for a moment of a dog chasing a ball. The first time that the ball is thrown in that particular field, I expect that the dog simply focuses on the ball without paying attention to the field or the thrower. The dog is living in the moment. It is fair to say that the dog is not conscious of the moment.
Perhaps the next time the ball is thrown, it takes a hop in a direction different from the previous throw. Our dog reacts to the direction change by adjusting his body to follow the new path.
Perhaps he also says to himself - 'wait a minute, the ball bounced differently this time. Maybe I should react differently next time to allow for the possibility of different hops.'
Some part of the dog's brain - perhaps Koch's 'claustrum' - compares the first and second memory and makes a notation: 'I must back off a bit and allow for the possibility of at least two different directions.'
I submit that would be 'conscious' for the dog.
Extrapolating the idea to humans, perhaps our larger brains allow us to make countless notes about differences in how the world works.
If so, that may explain the idea of 'consciousness'.
UPDATE - An article on brain research which may explain it: http://www.physics-astronomy.org/2017/10/researchers-found-multidimensional.html