Research shows that the story of God making a little clay man is outdated. In fact we have the remains of several primal hominin prototypes. As for "us", this is the story so far.
Some suggest that an animal is a collection of collaborating eukaryotes. Even a one-celled eukaryote can sense when to go forward for food and when to go backward to escape danger. This is basic in all animals because everything builds on what went before, though the genetics become adapted to new circumstances or might be changed by an addition or deletion.
(The space where something used to be counts as a "thing.") The early one-celled sensors persist in the brain as grid cells and other single-cell neurons and still tell us the basics of which way we're headed. Some authorities think there may be more than a hundred of these "one-off" sensors. Not all are even in the brain. They look different from other neurons,
A human being is a recombinant offshoot collaboration that begins in the life support system of a mother and creates a trajectory of experience through its specific times and circumstances. Regardless of genes, no two are alike because the context is always slightly different.
The earliest act of the individual is attachment when the blastosphere attaches to the wall of the uterus and grows an umbilical cord so it can move around while staying attached to life support like an astronaut tied to the mothership. The experiences of the mother go directly into her occupant.
After birth the baby stays attached through "gaze". The body stays alive through homeostasis, that is, self-correcting systems of the body, at first through the attention of the mother and then gradually becoming separate. Too this or too that and life is lost. This includes attachment, though a partial attachment can create a damaged but living individual.
In the course of this pursuit the person forms metaphors. One is idea of the path. Another early one is the circle. They interact. For instance, some people will not venture outside the circle -- others actively search for a path out. Both seem so natural, so inevitable that they are close to invisible. People rarely ask what path they are on, where the edges of their circles might be or what consequences will ensue.
These patterns are expressed through story/imagination, which are entwined in every human enterprise whether art or cold hard math. The underlying force of all is time. Everyone has an unknown "amount" of time.
If a person uses the circle as a limit that is "safer", so there is more time, their experiences may be too limited to develop very far. They may fear what is beyond the edge and fear might cross the boundary, getting in. One can easily develop this politically.
I'm typing one-handed. Now I'll go read some more.