We’re pattern recognizing machines(PRMs). I suppose the most in vogue direction to take that is that an ability to see patterns allowed us to recognize and remember what plants will kill us and which make us feel good. There have also been some stories about the plants that make us feel real good. In the epic of Gilgamesh he’s told by the immortal being about a plant that will make Gilgamesh feel young. Thinking the idea that we’re PRMs in a survival perspective relates to seeing the world through a Darwinian perspective. There’s any number of perspectives to see the world, who’s to say which are right and wrong, but I’d say only ever using one perspective leaves our lives with blind spots. People knew we were PRMs before Darwin came up with his theory and they all weren’t made bad theories because his was a good one.
I’d connect the core of Buddhism to PRMs. The Buddhist idea I know as The Wheel of Samsara, it’s a cycle we’re constantly going through and currently find ourselves sitting in different spots along the wheel and we’re destined to always move on to the next realm. Some people think of this as Karma. I think the wheel is made up of 6-8 realms including ideas like God realm where you’re blissed out in all things good, Animal where you live like an animal acting on impulse, Demon which is hell, Human realm is nice but not God, and there’s everything in between. Buddhism doesn’t stop with knowing there are patterns, the Buddha is able to escape the cycle and find Nirvana. There’s always a rub though. Even becoming the Buddha isn’t the ultimate because there is still the Mahayana, or “Great Vehicle”. In essence, none of us is free until all of us are, so the Buddha must return to living in The Wheel to help others escape.