The topic of consciousness is much like sex in the Victorian age. Scientifically, sex is just another part of biology, but in many societies, studying it violates a stern taboo. Once we begin to observe sexuality--or consciousness--a lot of the clouds of mystery seem to drift away.
That isn't to say that consciousness doesn't come with lots of mysteries. Science is full of mysteries. The topic of gravity is still mysterious four centuries after Isaac Newton. But there is no taboo about trying to understand it.
Baars is a senior fellow at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, Calif. His most recent book is In the Theater of Consciousness