Back when I was a materialist, I loved Daniel Dennett’s theory that consciousness was an evolutionarily driven “user illusion.” Gene Callahan actually pulled me out of that by asking the simple question: Who is the user being fooled?
Gene’s question was so poignant that it either was devastating (if you agree with him) or childish (if you disagree with him). That’s how those one-sentence put-downs work.
Well, I still like Gene’s critique, but how do you square it with this? I have had many dreams over the years in which I’m effectively watching a movie (or a TV show), and there’s a surprise ending. Most nightmares are like this, but it’s not just nightmares; I’ve “watched” really entertaining dreams with an ending I didn’t see coming.
So, what the heck is going on there? However you explain it, I think it makes Dennett’s theory of consciousness a lot more attractive, after all.