The Hard Problem of Consciousness
You may have heard of this. There is a philosophical conflict brewing between spiritualists and neuroscientists getting worse each time a new artery is opened explaining yet another channel of explaining why sentient beings do what they do.
My understanding of the problem is as follows. Science can explain or extrapolate all the way from big bang to living bodies. There are some gaps such as how do amino acids which can be created from simple hydrocarbons, air, lighting and heat in a flask, somehow make it to proteins and then to single cell orgasims or the self replicating dna's. Even that can be assumed to be just a matter of time before we find the answer. The Hard Problem is how do we go from a body which we have in common with a wide variety of species to something called consciousness?
What about consciousness? Isn't it also extrapolated from natural principles? Not quite. Why is there a survival instinct? Electrons are attracted to protons becuase of the charge but they don't have compassion for other electrons. Although entanglement questions that also. We spend most of our lives in self interest but often we have a desire to help and perpetuate the species. Why? Why is consciousness generous?
Neuroscientists, some, believe that consciousness is an emergent property of matter. We just don't know how that happens yet. Spiritualists, some, believe it is the be all and end all of all creation. Some call it god, some call it flying spaghetti monstor and some knowingknown.
Why is this important? Because all else is not. Everything in the universe is trying to find a steady state of happiness and peace. A conscious mind quickly finds out that real peace and happiness only comes from the nonmaterial aspects of life, peace, silence, generosity, true love... all clealry real and all without a foundation in materailism.