Thinking in binary terms or absolutes like yes|no, when applied to the conscious mind yields a paradoxical state which balances out creating time as experienced by a conscious observer.
Binary values are conditioned to encode a numerical prime base by relative value: 1|0. When this comes to the perception of time, the consensus is a sense of now, a common past and an unknown future: (-t, 0, t). This creates a perceived duality which creates perceptual symmetry.
The process of learning is of matching all inputs against known inputs, and catalogue them for future recognition and the ability to exert control over increasing periods of time in the future. As an infant develops into a child, self control is learned at the physical level: the ability to control limbs and the physical environment in the vicinity.
This physical sense of self is the one perceived as "own life", based on the constancy of perception: that which never changes is the sense of self; the idea of I.
All ideas, as individual units of existence, move in the same direction (future) based on a general idea of life preservation: ideas are built on ideas, sometimes for the better and sometimes probably not. Similarly, the idea of self moves motivated by self-preservation. Interestingly, while physically it is evident who "I" is, psychologically it is only partially evident what "I" is not. We know that "other" is not "I", but not exactly who. This unknown is the remainder of the life equation: the future of the individual in question.
Psychologically, we live social lives to discover ourselves in others; to learn from what we like so we ourselves can evoke onto the others what the person who we try to learn from is evoking on us: attraction. Symetrically, we also (at least partially) avoid negative conduct: this is where the will steps in; where there is a conscious effort spent to become better somehow.
There are many levels of attraction, as there are many characteristics that are attractive to us in various conscious planes: Physical, sexual, sensational, emotional, intellectual, psychological, spiritual, etc. These some of the different mind sets that a person can use as reflections of the self, and there are indeed individuals whose majority of attention time is spent on these or other planes (astral?, cosmic? -- at least historically, mythically or hypothetically).
Subject to the idea of life preservation, every thought and every concept is to be experienced and preserved in the memory of an individual: It is a unique perspective which describes the idea of one individual. As such, Cancer is to be remembered as the reason why some people we love, died; and the emotion these thoughts evoke to be the catalyst to a durable memory record: to preserve the memory of those before us. This is why consciously or subconsciously, no one wants to forget Cancer.
As the individual grows up, the attraction that the future exerts is the attractive pole of the time equation, but depending on how many dimensions are simultaneously used to express the ratio of inside/outside the curvature. In the binary case, this ratio is 1:0 with period π.
The emergence of the Self through time is an optimization algorithm at its core. By being more efficient than its medium, the individual justifies its existence.