Distortion of expected cycles by constant change
Awareness is communication between an individual being and itself at different times. A being sends itself a message through time by recording the status of events at regular intervals. The message recorded at time A is checked at time B. If the message is no longer true, the being is surprised and surprise - the error of expectations - is awareness.
Consider your own awareness of something you see. The cells who line up to be the retinas of your eyes have cellular organs with sensory proteins that flip from one state to another when they detect changes in light intensity or color. The retina cell records the current light level and color.
When a shadow passes over one of the cells, the change in light intensity from the previous state triggers a chemical reaction in the cell's photosensitive organ. The whole cell detects the change in state, gets excited and fires an electrochemical pulse along its longest tentacle (the axon), alerting thousands of neurons in the visual centers of the brain. The chemical detector resets to the new light intensity and does not fire until the light intensity varies again.
The cellular detection system won't fire if there is no change in light intensity or (in the case of cone cells) the wavelength (color) of light. In this sense, the system "expects" conditions to continue as they are. It stays quiet until this expectation fails.
All sensory systems are based on detecting changes in expected cycles.
We don't have to go beyond our own awareness to demonstrate the importance of the error of expectation. Any loud noise, or sudden movement, any surprise will get our attention right quick. But there are many changes that happen too quickly for us to detect and many others that happen too slowly for us to observe directly. We - like all living beings - exist at our own special interval of awareness. The interval of awareness is the interval between the communications of a being with itself. It is the "refresh rate" and is based on the time it takes for sensory molecules and nerve transmissions to recharge and fire again.
Awareness emerges from the unexpected surprises created by changes in our relative position, and interactions with other beings.
The word awareness derives from a- (Anglo-Saxon up from or out of as in a-wake) and wer (turning, found also in wary, or worm). The word a-wareness creates the image of a condition that arises by turning from one direction to another. Reorienting as expectations collide with reality. Cycles exist relative to the focal point of a closed system, and only from an internal perspective.
The thread of awareness is a continual series of surprises and adjustments as open systems change the remembered conditions of closed systems.
Ajustments for survival are communications within the open systems. Awareness sends messages to other beings that perceive within the same interval of awareness.
Communications between a being and itself at a later time is awareness. Communications between different beings is consciousness.
Awareness gives rise to the observer and a basic desire to continue existing.
If all this seems too abstract, join me on the reef and I'll show you what I mean.
For some insight into the concept of tracking, hyperlink over to Plum, in New Caledonia.