"For the rainbow experience to happen we need sunshine, raindrops, and a spectator. It is not that the sun and the raindrops cease to exist if there is no one there to see them… But unless someone is present at a particular point no colored arch can appear. The rainbow is hence a process requiring various elements, one of which happens to be an instrument of sense perception. It doesn’t exist whole and separate in the world nor does it exist as an acquired image in the head separated from what is perceived (the view held by the ‘internalists’ who account for the majority of neuroscientists); rather, consciousness is spread between sunlight, raindrops, and visual cortex, creating a unique, transitory new whole, the rainbow experience. Or again: the viewer doesn’t see the world; he is part of a world process". -Riccardo Manzotti
Now I'm not sure I quite understand Manzotti's 'externalism' much less agree with it, but I find this a helpful explanation of the peculiar relationship of consciousness and matter at a quantum level. And also of the existence of the self, which, like the rainbow, exists only as a perception by a consciousness. Two people, standing side by side will see the rainbow, and agree on its dimensions and ooh and ahhh over its colour but it has no objective reality. It is an illusion, a trick of the interaction of light and water - which are themselves a similar kind of illusion, except in very slow motion. Water and light are what we name our perceptions of energy in two particular states. So too, the self we take such trouble to protect and care for is a trick of the light, and, so says Jesus, must be killed off if we are to truly live.
I got back into the car (I didn't want to get wet and it was starting to get dark) and took myself home.