I believe vinnana is said to be like a magician (SN22.95) because it makes us believe that we live in a cinematic-like world. Like our world is a story. And I am the protagonist in that story. This seems to be the trick of vinnana as magician.
I believe the stream of vinnana’s is really very similar to the stream of pictures that create a movie on a screen. Similar to how we can get lost in a movie, and experience it as reality, even with extreme emotions, likewise we can lost in the stream of mental vinnana’s. Lost in our heads.
Then reality becomes cinematic and we become the protagonist in that cinematic-like world, that story. While the mind projects all this, it is felt, seen, experienced as this is my life, this is me, this is who i am, this is real. This is reality.
(I think this becomes more and more extreme in this word. A sense that this is not really reality gets lost. The world wants to sell us stories. It wants us to get lost in this cinematic reality).
I see this all as the conventional truth or reality. From this perspective there is a Me that attains this and that. There is a Me who becomes a sotapanna, arahant etc. It is part of the story telling. A Buddha, i believe, knows it is not ultimately real, but it does not really matter. Story telling can still be useful and meritorious and one will arrive at a point that one understands it was all just story telling and there was never a protaganist in the first place.
The function of sati and panna is, i believe, to notice that the mind has constructed, and is lost in, a cinematic world. Sati and panna are to wake us up from dreaming while awake.
The wonder of human existence seems to be that we can realise that we live, as it were, in two worlds. In a cinematic world, a story telling like world, and in a world that is not a story. Sakkaya ditthi’s are those views on who or what we are part of the story telling. Asmi mana is more subtle, and, i think, more like a deep impression caused by all that story telling.
Living in two worlds, cinematic and non-cinematic makes human existence also complex, confusing.
To cut through story telling is what a Buddha, i believe, has done to the end.
wish you all well