Consciousness is an emergent property and not a process in and of itself. Our cognitive capacities, memories, dreams, etc., reflect distributed processes throughout the brain. The thousand conscious moments we have in a given day reflect one of our networks being "up for duty." When it finishes, the next one pops up, and the pipe organ--like device plays its tune all day long. What makes emergent human consciousness so vibrant is that the human pipe organ has lots of tunes to play, whereas the rat's has few. And the more we know, the richer the concert.
Gazzaniga directs the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind at the University of California at Santa Barbara