Information Philosophy shows that purpose appeared in the universe with the emergence of mind and consciousness on Earth. For higher animals, it was when living things began to record their "subjective" experiences, needed to give meaning to later similar experiences. Since information is a universal property of matter, it "goes all the way down," so in one sense, the basis of mentality - information - is present in the simplest physical structures. But since mind is a property of living things and artificial intelligent machines only, we can see the first proto-mind developing in the earliest macromolecules that could replicate their information structures. Information philosophy shows that there is nothing like reflective awareness in passive information structures like the galaxies. stars, and planets, but that something resembling purpose appears in all four "levels" of consciousness...
Instinctive Consciousness - by animals with little or no learning capability. Automatic reactions to environmental conditions are transmitted genetically. Information about past experiences (by prior generations of the organism) is only present implicitly in the inherited reactions. Purpose is in the species. Learned Consciousness - for animals whose past experiences guide current choices. Conscious, but mostly habitual, reactions are developed through experience, including instruction by parents and peers. Purpose is now in the individual. Predictive Consciousness - The Sequencer in the ERR system can play back beyond the current situation, allowing the organism to use imagination and foresight to evaluate the future consequences of its choices. Reflective (Normative) Consciousness– in which conscious deliberation about values influences the choice of behaviors.All four levels are emergent, in the sense that they did not exist in the lower, earlier levels of biological evolution. It is only living things, that use information processing to manage the flow of matter and energy through their information structures, that have the awareness and the (sometimes emotional) reactions to their environments that explains consciousness, agency, and purpose in higher beings. Information philosophy and the experience recorder and reproducer (ERR) explain "subjective experiences" and "what it's like to be" a living thing. There is nothing in the lower forms of life like the accumulated experiences recorded in the brains of higher animals that make their "conscious" reactions to similar events quite diverse. This accounts for the first-person, "subjective" nature of experience that David Chalmers calls the "hard problem" of consciousness. Material objects react "objectively" in their interactions with other objects. Living things, with their immaterial minds, react "subjectively" to events in the world. They have "behaviors," which are the products of their individual life experiences that have been acquired environmentally ("nurture") as well as the past experiences of their species, which are transmitted genetically ("nature"). Higher organisms with two stages of freedom and creativity are agents who can create genuinely new behaviors and add to the increasing sum of human knowledge.