"As we awaken from sleep, our consciousness undergoes a radical transformation composed of dramatic adjustments in neural processes. Some neural circuits go quiet while others come online. The entire orchestration of the symphony of mind unfolds like changes in a music score, and while there is no single, master conductor, the decentralized process does have hot spots of top-down modulation linked by connections built over evolutionary time. These 'command centers,' for lack of a more accurate but succinct term, do one thing really well: They create our sense of self, our sense of being a protagonist in a continuously unfolding nonlinear narrative through which we can travel again and again in our memories and plan possible and even impossible futures."
~ Antonio Damasio, from Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain
"The Quest to Understand Consciousness," TED Talk, March 2011