Enlightenment is the only potential that separates the humans from animals. All other qualities of human life can be observed among different classes of animals. For example animals work hard for their daily bread, they compete for mates and food, they build great houses for themselves and they die just as humans die. Animals communicate amongst themselves and they play just humans play when they feel like.
But the animals lack the capacity for Awakening. This means if someone lives a life of spiritual sleep until their death they might as well have lived a life equivalent to nature as that of an animal. I think this is where the concept of retrogression comes in, where in his next life the individual can slide into the lower realms of existence just so that they can recompense for the life they have wasted in total darkness while they had a chance to make progress toward the ultimate enlightenment.
Other than developing our “muscles” for the hunting of the daily bread as human beings there are other faculties that we die without ever having utilized. Many wise men have launched their complaints to deaf ears that persons ought to make effort to make conscious effort to meet their innate spiritual needs. This is the paradox of civilization – we advance so much in the material realm at the expense of our divinity, which is what matters in the long run.
The more awake you become in your individual life the more you begin to perceive knowledge and sense perceptions with a third eye. This is the key to living in the moment – where boundless wisdom and compassion exists.