I started Damasio's book, and probably will return, but the emotional
theory narked me so I put it down to read Calvin Edelman Churchland et
al. who seem a little more down to earth.
Anyway. I think in principle I totally agree with you (with some
reservations!). If you say that for information to reach awareness it
has to be computationally altered then I agree, though I would say
that it becomes altered such that it can be causally effective on
other information in the brain. Using the term 'awareness' still has
overtones of dualism - 'who' or 'what' is aware of this information.
A highly simplified example - a red visual stimulus induces a 2Hz
spiking pattern in a cortical neuron and this is subsequently modified
to 3Hz (by arousal systems or whatever) such that it can be causally
effective to induce a reaction to brake your car via your motor
cortex. Is that all you require in your theory? I get the feeling
that you actually want more, you want the person to 'sense' the red
light and 'feel' like he wants to stop the car etc.. Who senses this
redness? It can't be another part of the brain becuase that is
essentially the same as the part of the brain already visited.
Changing the spiking frequency makes no essential difference either.
Neither does postulating networks of resonating neurones make the leap
you want. You want something objective and outside the brain to 'see'
the spiking frequency and feel and see the redness.