If we assume all our best descriptions of the universe are literally true (we're sure they're not, because they're not perfectly consistent yet, but bear with me)...
The particle doesn't know anything. The quantum fields are all there is in the universe, and they all behave and interact according to an extremely simple set of rules. These rules are all there is to the universe - everything else is just higher-order effects of those simple rules. A particle you can observe follows from these simple rules, as does your observation instrument and yourself.
And all the way at the level of a human being, you have thought processes that assume things behave some way because they "want" to, because our brains were shaped by natural selection to empathize with other humans - and humans do things because they will to. You're confused because to your brain, a fully sentient being like Thor throwing lightning seems to you like a simpler explanation than quantum field theory - because your brain already has circuitry for understanding other humans, and adding "can throw lightning when he wants" is an easy extrapolation of that.
Developing quantum field theory (which is probably still not how the universe actually works; there's some issues that still need development) took a very long time, in part because our intuitions just give a very bad picture of what the universe actually is - and because the fundamental moving parts are so hard to observe with any useful resolution. Natural selection didn't directly prepare us for that, because a basic understanding of kinematics is just as good at throwing spears as QFT, but vastly cheaper.
Ultimately, our understanding of the universe is shaped by our perception, which itself developed under pressures of natural selection. There's a decently consistent description of our universe in which time doesn't exist at all - there might not even be anything like causality (Barbour's "The End of Time" is a bit dated, but basically extrapolates general relativity in a way that eliminates time and causality without affecting our perception of time and causality). The reason time seems obvious and unavoidable to us is that our brains keep track of a certain kind of relative time - it's a hack produced through natural selection that (ultimately) makes us better at reproduction. But it would work just as well in a universe where a separate notion of time exists, as in a universe where time is just an illusion of a momentary configuration of particles that might or might not be in relation to other particles in different configurations.
Our models map to many possible underlying realities. In some cases, we literally can't tell the difference (yet). A typical argument is that our universe might very well be just a simulation running on a computer of some student in the actual universe; the only real difference is at the level of knowing the actual rules of the system - but we can't ever be 100% sure the rules we got are the actual rules. All we have is a heuristic that seems to have worked out very well for science - there's no such thing as a fundamentally complex thing (e.g. a fundamental property of an electron cannot be something as complicated as human thought - such complex things need "moving parts", so to speak), and the simpler something is, the more likely it is to be true.
The second in particular is wildly misused by both the lay public and plenty of scientists - people are quick to claim that Newtonian physics are simpler than relativistic physics. But what matters here isn't how simple it sounds (or is to calculate) to human beings - that's going back to the anthropomorphism we started at. Quantum field theory's description of electro-magnetism is the simplest we've developed so far - despite the fact that it's rather easy to model the flow of electricity in a simple circuit using older models, while we can't really do the same thing with QFT. But the universe seems to prefer (right? :P) a massive amount of extremely simple calculations to a quick approximation.
The universe seems to be a set of a couple of fundamental rules. Everything we see around us is what happens when you apply those rules. This includes our observations of particles and their "behavior". All the confusion is just from applying human-like thinking to things that just aren't human-like at all.