Consciousness, or self-awareness, is a transitional stage in a cyclical universe that needs awareness for a brief period in order to renew itself. We are part of a pattern that contains us, but is not about us. I suspect we stand shortly before a huge transition, and part of that transition will involve the elimination of us, and probably earth. As always with nature, we can see purpose in the design. The rate of relevant change is increasing. As consciousness arose, it reached a level of complexity that allowed it the means to represent itself. Whenever that happens within a system, strange things result. In this case, the universe gets sort of super powers. Our understanding is the universe becoming self-aware briefly in order to reach a stage at which it can reconfigure, reinvent, re-create, itself. Our technologies will facilitate that (so the idea of technology going mad and becoming a threat is not farfetched at all), nanotechnology is a start down a road that will give us complete control of materials. Given the rate at which technology has evolved, and the accelleration, it seems clear that the rate of change is quickening and quickening. So we may be on the cusp of a monumental event in a universe’s cycle, most of the time of the cycle being rather uneventful. Those very eventful few seconds after the big bang actually lie just ahead. That is the apolalypse.