- Fear is like dirt and it washes right off.
Consciousness is being aware of being aware. Being aware means knowing what is happening. Computers know how to do things but don't yet know what they are doing.
Qualia are deeply mystifying. It is very hard to imagine how electrical signals passing through the microtubules of the brain could possibly produce something like the perception of colors.
But imagine a computer that knows what it is doing that is hooked up to a camera. Imagine that the computer is able to identify objects and intelligent enough to answer questions about what it is seeing. Obviously it must be perceiving some sort of sensation.
But that sensation would be like our perception of black and white. It would just be information. It would be devoid of beauty. It would not be like our perception of beautiful colors like yellow red or blue (which are pleasant beautified versions of white, grey, and black)
The computer would live in a world without beauty or pleasure. But it would also live in a world without pain. It's hard to tell whether one should feel sorry for it or envy it, especially when one considers how much time and energy we spend doing stuff we hate in order to avoid something we hate even more. Without beauty or pleasure the computer wouldn't know why it was doing what it was doing.
The forebrain determines what to do. The cerebellum determines how (and when) to do it. But it is the midbrain that determines why things should be done in the first place. To teach a computer "why" it may be necessary to give the computer a midbrain.
If the cerebellum is our hands then the midbrain is our eyes. The midbrain is responsible for drawing our attention toward the things that most need our attention. If our brains functioned the way they should we would see a black and white image of the world with only those parts that needed our attention colored yellow, red, or blue by the midbrain. But our brains don't function the way they should. Instead, we see a full-color image all the time and as a result we must live without the help and guidance of our midbrain. We must find our own way. And sometimes we can't do it. Its the ultimate gilded cage.
So the midbrain is responsible for feelings of pain and pleasure. Bear in mind that there are two kinds of pain. Scary pain and non-scary pain. The difference is not intensity. They are two fundamentally different sensations. Some people do not experience scary pain. These people give the impression of not being afraid of anything. Fear of heights is actually fear of pain.
To help us avoid pain our cerebellum is constantly running simulations to see what is about to happen and to see what effect various actions we could take would have.