I think one way to think about my life is that there are two parts to me.
The “animal” side and the “conscious” side, for lack of better terminology.
The “animal” side is instinctual. It feels things, it gets angry, it cries, it enjoys a funny movie on a chill Friday evening with friends. It needs to eat, to have sex, to feel loved. It’s the more useful side, from a biological perspective. The animal side keeps me alive and responsive.
The “conscious” side understands things. It breaks the world up into building blocks so that I can manipulate everything around me. It adds 1+1 to get 2. It remembers the food I ate a couple nights ago that caused me to spend an hour on the toilet in pain, and then reminds me to not eat it again, even though I’m looking at it now and the animal side of me is telling me that I looooove fried chicken. The “conscious” side can reflect on itself to find mistakes, and then to improve on them.