Steve: We’re pretty much on the same page. It is possible that just the activity of neurons alone is enough to generate qualia, and it’s possible this occurs against some kind of universal background of consciousness. This is the biological materialist/pan-psychist divide. I agree this may forever be an unanswerable question and remain a mystery, but if I’m going to make the call, I fall on the side of biology alone. I feel this is more congruent with Occam’s razor.