I disagree with this article's assumptions. If stimulating the area of the claustrum turns "off" what appears as consciousness, this could be due to many things. If you 'probed' a computer chip by applying some external voltage to some part of it, it would also demonstrate malfunctioning and in certain areas would make the chip dysfunctional in the same way as 'losing consciousness'. The assumption that there is a localized area in the brain is just a revamped interpretation of Descartes idea of a centralized location for consciousness.
It CAN be true that certain areas of the brain can initiate or guide what WE feel as awakened consciousness. However, this type of 'control' unit would merely be a means to chemically induce the neural cells we use for consciousness to alter their functioning state of more than one 'function'. That is, each of our cells, not simply neurons, have stages of functioning. Two general states are the internal versus [ex]ternal functioning where the 'internal' deals with addressing the DNA in the nucleus to get the RNA needed to produce proteins. This requires closing off or limiting the regular external functioning of exchanging chemicals of the cell as a whole so that it can use the energy it gained in the last cycle to create those proteins.
Then, once the internal mechanisms of such a cycle are complete, it can then change back to functioning externally. This is way more complex than I'm simplifying here. For instance, long term memory is created in the internal phase as it takes the 'markers' of the awakened state to determine what proteins to create and in which quantity to either strengthen neurons or weaken them in a structural way.
The brain may have evolved to have some parts of it to signal when cells should alter these states. But it doesn't mean that the area where these signalling cells are located ARE consciousness. They are simply switches that release things like generic hormone chemicals that tell the other active cells in the external phases to change to an internal phase. This is proven by everyone independently simply by forcing yourself NOT to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, you lose your capacity more for transferring short-term memory into long-term memory. "Short-term" memory acts by placing 'markers' during external activity to those neurons that get used most often. Then, in the internal phase, the cells use these markers to 'decide' how to be efficient. The more active the cells in its waking cycle are thus communicated to the internal cycle to optimize its resources. The more active, the more nutrients it will need in the future AND requires building it up to accommodate for this; the less active, signals the internal cycle to reduce the need for 'construction'. It is necessary for keeping the cells and body as a whole to distribute the energy in the most efficient way. Otherwise, such cells or organisms as a whole would have a less likely chance to survive in environments that alter.
Our 'awakened' conscious state is also more likely only ONE of many 'conscious' states that occur in all cells to some degree. Our apparent feeling of consciousness is like only one that, like the external phases of individual cells, are simply just one type of consciousness that happens to deal with the external world of our whole set of cells that make us up. Our awakened consciousness is akin to a government department dealing with external affairs with other countries. As such, this department might 'think' it is somehow all that is 'Real' only because with respect to all other countries, this is all that matters in trading between them. Yet we know that as individual humans, we are consciously 'aware' too within the country but simply don't deal with external affairs regularly.
An example of this is to take a simple organ like the heart as a collection of cells in common. If you have experienced removing the heart of a fish, you would witness that it still 'beats' for a while even if it isn't signaled to do so externally any more. We know that the brain signals the heart in some way to make it in sync with the rest of the body, but with respect to the cells of the heart, these cells relate to other heart cells with a form of 'conscious' awareness of each other. This means that (a) the cells of a common 'consciousness' must have similar structure and function, and (b), have a means to communicate this to each other. The same goes with our brain-consciousnesses. The brain cells active in our apparent sense of awareness both must be (a) common in form (and activity or frequency) and (b) have a means to relay to each other by some connection.
The question that arises is how do we 'feel' the simultaneous effect of all the active cells communicating yet require the connections between them to communicate this when it must happen later
? I think this is answered by the experiment of using two clocks on the same wall that become in sync with one another but are out of phase. [Didn't you link this article, PhilX, before here?] There the clocks can start off initially out of sync. In this state, it suffices to show that (a) above is true when the clocks have the same structure (same length of pendulum, etc.) But when they are initially started, they lack full 'consciousness' of one another. When the energy exchanges make them 'in sync', this is their 'conscious' state of awareness akin to our own among active cells in sync. That is, they 'feel' the simultaneous nature of being in common AND to their phases in difference. But they must at least have the means to communicate this energy exchange in a linear
way through time.
This makes sense if we think of consciousness as merely the set of logically common factors in kind of things, including the means to inform each other. In a sense, "consciousness" is thus relative. By this, I mean that given two identical twins (I am one myself), we can 'share' a conscious awareness in act of one another, as long as we have a means to communicate this, even in regular space. I couldn't actually 'sense' my twin locally nor could he to me. However, a 'logical' consciousness DOES exist between us that 'feels' the both of us when we are in range to communicate and be in sync with our means to communicate together.
This may seem 'weird' but it is completely rational. And each of us has PROOF that this must have validity merely on the basis of our being able to 'feel' multiple things at the same time. It is NOT like a CPU with a linear processing logic (non-parallel ones) because each process occurs one step at a time. Using multiple processing, we can approach this idea though as long as they aren't actually reduced to being 'in fact' still linear. [Since even parallel processors can also act by merely virtualizing what appears parallel to us using it, these type of computing factors may not actually be 'parallel' because some of them merely use speed of processing to mimic this effect. But many are now actual parallel AFTER they are initiated by a central control unit. Programs are still often linear though; Two running programs of the same kind using separate processors, however, can technically become 'conscious' of one another as long as they "share" or trade their information to one another.]
Does this not make sense?