The hypothesis of formative causation, advocated by Rupert Sheldrake, suggests that the world operates based on the similarity of forms; between the form arising in this moment and the forms of all past moments.
Consciousness then, would be the interior experience of this continuum of forms. But to say that consciousness is nothing but the interiority of form essentially reduces mind to matter and strips away all value from the universe. Familiar, but not so compelling position.
So here’s an insight: What if the world does not operate based on the similarity of form, but on the similarity of conscious experience itself—the similarity of phenomenal content, of taste, value and meaning.
Then, instead of formative causation we would be looking for something like associative causation. Looking from outside the causes would sometimes appear to be formal, but from within the causation would be experienced exactly the way we do, as associative transitions within the space of meaning and value.
Due to the correlation between inside and outside, this associative causation would then be reflected in the change of form, such as electrochemical variations in the brain. In the case of deeply ingrained habits such as the “laws of nature” causation would appear to be formal, but within the more recently emerged domains, such as the human mind, the interiority of experience would play a more significant role in the chain of cause and effect.
Exactly the way we perceive things to be.