This attempt at communication is most unlikely to succeed, and I will give it my best shot.
In my understanding – the qualia of experience are accounted for, as the interaction of a software entity (our self awareness) with a software model of reality (what our subconscious brains create from past and present experience). The mistake that many people make is assuming that we experience reality directly. The evidence is now beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that we have no direct access to reality, all experience is mediated through a brain created model.
The other key idea to get is somewhat more difficult, and that is getting that reality is not causal, it only approximates causality (to many decimal digits in most situations).
It seems clear that the best evidence we have indicates that at the quantum level of the very very small, existence is stochastic, but within constraints. There are probability distributions, not hard causal certainty.
Summed over vast numbers, these distributions result in very close approximations to hard causality at the scale of normal human perception. Certainly close enough to build jet engines, supercomputers, sky-scrapers, and all the technology we see in existence.
And none of those things prove causality, they only demonstrate the degree of approximation of causality.
The shortest time period a human being can experience is about a hundredth of a second.
The smallest thing we can see with our naked eyes as a tiny indistinct dot against a background of a different colour, contains 10^17 atoms.
The sub atomic particles (if the word particle has any real meaning) or perhaps better described as the smallest entities of existence we currently have evidence for, can experience about 10^40 of their smallest time units in the shortest time a human can experience. Given the huge numbers involved, it is no surprise that humans experience something very close to hard causality most of the time. Those probability functions get very well populated by numbers like that, and while any single event might be random, and collection of 10^57 events forms a very predictable pattern.
So it seems that we live in a universe that is constrained randomness, and it delivers something very close to hard causality at the level of entities like ourselves.
It does appear, that in such a universe, that is stochastic (random) within probability distributions, that real freedom can exist.
I wrote an explanation of how qualia come to be, and what they are in a generalised sense about two and a half years ago:
If you want a more detailed explanation, follow that link.
And I need to be explicit, that I do not deal in truth.
It seems clear to me that the best I can hope for is a useful approximation to something. The idea that someone can model something accurately, and be 100% confident that their model is 100% accurate, is to me a nonsense. We may in fact at times model something accurately, and we could never be 100% certain of that. We might suspect, and if we are honest, there must always remain an element of doubt.
Having spent over 50 years studying living systems, and the matter from which they are made, I have some beginnings of an idea of just how complex even the simplest living cell is, and we are a vast collection of very complex cells that can and do take on many different forms and many different functions.
So consciousness takes a bit of work to understand, in broad brush terms, and it isn’t that difficult, in the same sense that understanding a modern computer isn’t that difficult, it is just a collection of seven basic circuits, mostly in repeated groups, with minor variations on a theme, and some of those variations are very significant, and involve new levels of understanding and operation. We are vastly more complex than that.
“ex nihilo nihil fit” is based on a set of assumptions that appear to not always work at all scales in this reality in which we find ourselves.
The essence of enquiry is in questioning.