Being does not move in a single direction, towards consciousness, but instead moves in every possible direction. However, these include consciousness. Therefore, perhaps, being had to become conscious at some times and places. Such places include this planet. Consciousness is the lotus that has grown from the darkness.
Over-specialized species become extinct when their environment changes whereas alert and active animals can adapt their behavior and might become intelligent. Human beings are intelligent but not necessarily contemplative. There are degrees of contemplation.
Being was not able to advance directly to supreme enlightment but had to advance through stages:
degrees of contemplation
Stages were necessary because life was not designed but evolved.