The Third Accomplice

A very real emergence

The Third Accomplice is an expression that I use to symbolize the emergence formed by a set of elements in close relation. All formed by the parties. Information with relative independence, which is binding on the parties. This notion is universal. It applies to the couple (Third associated with the two companions), family, professional conscience shared by craftsmen, culture bringing together members of an ethnic group, scientific discipline uniting researchers, etc.

The emergence of a system of relations can have a material existence, for example the organs forming a body, the committee of a professional order, a Scientific Council. They are called ‘organism(s)’. While there is no such well-defined term for virtual entities: parental, social, corporatist, ethno-cultural consciousness. Their existence is however very real: each individual can refer to this information, use its principles, adapt their behavior.

The Third changes

The expression ‘Third Accomplice‘ embodies this influence, which persists only in the presence of all its elements. This is obvious for the couple, dissolved by the departure of a companion. But this is also true for larger sets. The disappearance of an element replaces a Third Accomplice with another. The emerging information still exists but, as a fusion, is no longer the same.

Again it is obvious when a family of 3 is reduced to 2 with the departure of a child. Larger groups are also concerned. A celebrity who disappears modifies the Third Accomplice more than an ordinary member, but any absence is felt since the element was an integral part of the network.

Multiple applications

You will read on this blog and in Surimposium how valuable this notion is. It makes it possible to understand the asymmetrical relationships of the companions within the couple. Each one makes live with more or less force the Third Accomplice who concretizes the existence of the couple. Each is a mixture of ‘being oneself / being part’. If both ‘being oneself(s)’ are very strong, the Third Accomplice has no power. Separation can occur at any time. If both ‘being part’ are strong, the Third Accomplice wins. The couple is fusional.

When the mixture is asymmetrical in the companions, one of them is the pillar of the Third Accomplice, the other does not care so much. It is the discouragement of the first that definitively ends the couple, while the departure of the second may be only a temporary breakup.

In any set of people in relationship, there are likewise individuals more decisive for the Third Accomplice, who are ‘being part’ of the group before ‘being oneself’. This is how you can now understand this strange paradox: the strength of a collective lies in particular individuals.

Individuals they are, because included more than individualized in the group.


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