What IS it?
Who knows? I’m only conscious of my thoughts after they’ve been ‘thunk.’ and envision my conscious ‘self’ as though a camera, clicking pictures of what’s happening within a narrow field of view. And only after the fact.*
Much like a computer monitor, which displays just a tiny fraction…the ‘viewable’ portion…of countless terabytes of digital processing taking place, unseen, within and beyond the computer. None of which depends on whether the monitor is displaying anything or not…or even if it’s turned on, or off. But ask the monitor, “who’s running the show?” And it’s likely to reply:
“It. Is. I.”
Yet the keyboard and mouse are not so easily dismissed. They are the input devices…without which the computer has no way to receive computable instructions. And they often rely on the monitor, (an output device) to provide either the stimulus or feedback needed to decide what they should input for processing (like get another web page, or email…or respond to the one displayed). So if you ask the keyboard or mouse who’s running the show, they’ll look at you like you’re nuts and say, obviously…
“It. Is. We.”
Eventually I’ll tire of ‘computing’ and decide to quit for the day. I turn it off and start to leave. But before closing the door, I generally look back to say good night to the computer (which resides under the desk and ‘mindlessly’ does what it’s told to do, sight unseen), and the monitor, keyboard and mouse…who live ‘atop’ the desk, and are always in view.
“Goodnight kids. Get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning.”
And you know what? They never acknowledge, or answer me. Of course I assume that’s because I’ve turned them off. I mean, after all, I’m the one who’s in charge here.
So, my answer to the question?
“IT. Is. Me.”