All forms of our universe's nature are by the logic of its "laws" anticipating an answer to the "what comes next" question (i.e., a matter forming the basis of a problem requiring resolution). Evolving preparations for dealing more safely with prospective answers will have sequentially become their strategic purpose. Finding ways to better "ask" that central question becomes purposive as well.
Initial on-off optional systems develop safer sub-optional strategies. Which, trial and error wise, concurrently redevelop the forms that can more reasonably apply them.
Which (still the "big question" exactly how and when) allowed the arising of the simplest self-calculated questions and independently usable responses, that then developed individually separate yet inevitably cooperative strategies for discovering better questions, and better "living" forms from which to functionally ask them.
(And it may be that the universe has virtually always had symbolic pattern based strategies prepared to be adjusted and acted on self-sufficiently when opportunities required it, or circumstances were best suited to such processes.)