The most basic inner question for every human being is variously formulated in accordance with differing worldviews:
What is our relationship to God?
Can we realise our oneness with all things?
Can we be unalienated and self-realised?
Are we happy with how things are?
These questions refer to states of consciousness. Our consciousness originated as a by-product of natural selection. (Sensitivity, selected, increased until it became sensation which was then selected because pleasure and pain have survival-value.) Thus, consciousness began as, metaphorically, a means to survival but became, literally, an end in itself. Means presuppose ends which presuppose consciousness. Therefore, consciousness cannot be a literal means.
It is not universally recognised that the conditions necessary for self-consciousness include social interaction. Thus, each Jain monk practises asceticism in order to free his discrete, pre-existent, self-sufficient soul from any further incarnations whereas an organisation of revolutionary socialists engages in collective struggles that can potentially free society from class conflict and alienation. Therefore, Jainism and Marxism are antithetical. However, the latter can be synthesised with Buddhist meditation which:
is a middle way between asceticism and hedonism;
is based on the recognition that consciousness is caused by the temporary coming together of disparate elements, not by the eternal existence of individual souls.