Just a quick explanation of the blog description, at the upper right. Consciousness, in its general sense, is understood here as a control system for complex mobile organisms (referring, to this point, to naturally evolved animals, but the idea is that this limitation is not essential). Consciousness in the "special" sense* refers to the profound change that occurs when language is added to such conscious systems -- change that allows the emergence of a "self", self-consciousness, and all of the phenomena gathered under the name of "culture".
(* The use of "special" and "general" here, of course, is an allusion to the Theories of Relativity. Physics-envy, perhaps, but also a way to emphasize the importance of distinguishing the two kinds or levels of consciousness, which otherwise is often an important source of confusion.)
UPDATE (Oct 11/05):
These views and notes have been evolving (so to speak) for some time, going back to a "Culture Project" in the mid-70's. They've taken the form of notes and outlines, some privately circulated, some even online from the mid-90's and on. Here I'm hoping that eventually they'll spark a discussion, of which these views will just be a part. But initially at least, I'll simply be getting out the backlog in blog format.