Consciousness is the purpose of the universe because consciousness creates the universe. The entire universe—everything we see, hear, and experience—is only seen, heard, and experienced through consciousness.
Consciousness is the ability to react to the environment. So all life—all plants, animals, insects, and amoeba—are conscious. All matter, in fact. Even subatomic particles are conscious because they react to the environment—to the universe.
Consciousness came first, then life. Evolution is a process to increase consciousness in life forms through more complexity, especially in brains. More complex brains produce more consciousness.
Human beings are not special. We are not the only organisms on the planet that are conscious. All organisms are conscious. Humans are simply the most conscious life form. Again, this doesn’t make us “special” in some supernatural sense. We’re only the most conscious life form because we have the most complex brains.
Consciousness is not inherent to the brain, however. Consciousness is inherent to matter. All matter is conscious—just different matter contains varying levels of consciousness depending on the matter’s complexity. Human brains are so complex that they enable an extraordinarily high level of consciousness.
With consciousness comes volition (free will). Not every human has free will, however; just as most animals, plants, insects, and amoeba don’t have free will. They lack complex enough brains to produce a high enough level of consciousness to enable free will. Likewise, if a human does not use all their consciousness to make a decision, they are not acting in free will. They are just going through the motions, acting on instinct in accordance with their genetic programming.
Humans are not special, but we are unique in that we have brains so complex as to enable such a high level of consciousness that allows free will. Just because humans have the capacity for free will doesn’t mean they are using it. Some people use more of their consciousness at certain times than others. There are many activities (reading, learning, meditating) and substances (psychedelics) that can raise one’s level of consciousness.
Consciousness is the key to the universe. The purpose of life is to increase consciousness.