No philosopher and hardly any novelist has ever managed to explain what that weird stuff, human consciousness, is really made of. Body, external objects, darty memories, warm fantasies, other minds, guilt, fear, hesitation, lies, glees, doles, breathtaking pains, a thousand things which words can only fumble at, coexist, many fused together in a single unit of consciousness. How human responsibility is possible at all could well puzzle an extra-galactic students of this weird method of proceeding through time. How can such a thing be tinkered with and improved, how can one change the quality of consciousness? Around ‘will’ it flows like water round a stone.
—Iris Murdoch (The Black Prince, p. 190).