Consciousness is widely distributed in the animal kingdom. I speculate that consciousness in humans now is the accumulation over mammalian evolution of consciousnesses (plural) associated with different structural features, motor functions, sensory faculties, and brain structures that evolved at different times. Older consciousnesses are not removed or replaced as the species evolves, but remain active in the animal. In our human multi-structured brain, the brain as a whole can be thought of as an arena with different consciousnesses active at all times. If the triune brain model of the human brain is valid, then we would see three streams of consciousness--the reptilian, the lower mammalian or limbic, and the higher mammal or neocortex. The lower streams are managed by the neocortex, which appears to have the capability to dampen them and to select representations from them to create experience. I will refer to the neocortex stream of consciousness as experience-consciousness. Experience-consciousness has the quality of awareness. Each of us is aware of our experience-consciousness; but we are at the same time unaware of the other streams of consciousness. I don't think that the other streams of consciousness are muted, as if their "volume" were turned down so we don't hear them. Rather, I think that the neocortex deprives them of their quality of awareness, so we are not aware of them. The neocortex can turn on awareness of these other streams as needed. For instance, when an injury occurs, the neocortex can turn on our awareness of the consciousness of the injury by attaching the emotion of pain to it.
Why would the neocortex have to manage the other streams of consciousness? First, because each stream of consciousness is associated with a function, such as a stimulus-response action arc. The functions associated with all the streams of consciousness are not necessarily integrated in an unchangeable way. Both brain physiological injuries and psychological trauma can separate the streams and their functions. So, surely, they can conflict, as when our upper body moves to ascend stairs but our lower body does not; we fall. Second, because each stream of consciousness demands a function enacted now. The reptilian and the lower mammal streams of consciousness do not provide for planning for future action. One of the functions of the experience-consciousness, created by the neocortex, is to plan. Planning can only work if the demands of the lower streams of consciousness are interrupted or postponed. In particular, the neocortex needs to strip fear from the lower streams of consciousness, as fear seems to dominate their emotional associations. We can't plan when we are in a state of high fear. Removing the emotion removes the quality of awareness.
In this model of human consciousness, lower consciousnesses are the legacy of survival. They are the past living inside of us, speaking to us.
Values, as I have theorized about them in this journal, must also be accumulated and taken up over the course of evolution in the same way. As values originate as the valorizing of a geography, thereby creating a landscape, this landscape must be taken up over evolution as a structure of awareness in strams of consciousness in the brain. So over the course of mammalian evolution, the brain accumulates these value-landscapes that continue to have function in the animal.
The neocortex must remove awareness of these primeval value-landscapes in order to manage them through integration.