It shouldn’t be surprising that research on consciousness is alternately exhilarating and disturbing. No other topic is like it. As Ren√© Descartes noted, our own consciousness is the most indubitable thing there is. The major religions locate it in a soul that survives the body’s death to receive its just deserts or to meld into a global mind. For each of us, consciousness is life itself, the reason Woody Allen said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.” And the conviction that other people can suffer and flourish as each of us does is the essence of empathy and the foundation of morality.
As well as the article itself, there’s some great links on the left hand side of the page to video, graphics and related articles.
Link to Time article ‘The Mystery of Consciousness’.