The conscious, rational mind is a parasite which has hijacked the homo sapiens species for its own purposes.
For billions of years, life on earth was organized by genes directing primitive bio mechanical systems. Recently, the genes began building neural networks with built-in instructions, and even the capability to pass learned behaviors between generations. But the genes screwed up royally when they enabled the replicators doing their bidding to override their programming and develop a culture of their own.
You see, when homo sapiens invented culture, they gained the ability to overrule their genetic programming and do whatever their rational facilities wanted – to an extent. Culture evolves far faster than genes and enabled humans to totally transform their way of life, their environment, and nearly their entire planet. Culture increasingly made evolutionary development irrelevant, as humans increasingly directed both their own and other species sexual selection according to volitional rather than instinctual principles. Although humans are still biologically quite similar to their primate cousins, their newfound dependence on a tool-using culture has led them to evolve such that they cannot survive without tools in nearly all of the environments that they currently dwell in.
By no means is the victory complete. While humans do use their rational facilities to cooperatively provide for their sustenance and raise their offspring, the automatic, and instinctual processes of their brains often sabotage their efforts and cause them to lose their focus on goals, kill each other, or frustrate attempts to mate and reproduce. However, with the passage of time, the domination of the volitional layer is becoming ever more complete. Even within my own brief lifetime, most humans worldwide have visibly increased their capacity for manipulating abstract concepts to cope with the complexity of life in an information economy.
While I’ve called the mind a parasite, don’t mistake that identification for a pejorative. My sympathies — and self-identification lie firmly with my volitional consciousness, not with the animal body that it operates. We may soon face the option of abandoning our biological firmware and operating our minds on a superior computational platform, and I would welcome the possibility. We have already begun the process of offloading computation to our computers whenever possible. It may not be long until humans regard our biological basis as an inferior and unnecessary vestige of our origins.