What's between us?

Our ties are surimpositions of concepts

What’s between us? Question asked to Parisians on the façade of the Pompidou Center by the artist Tim Etchells. Octave Larmagnac-Matheron studies it in Philomag. He sees between us language, ethics, politics, cosmos. However, just as energy surveys list its forms without saying what it is in substance, Octave does not say the common point between the aspects of the interwe. What are all these virtual links made of with very concrete effects?

Understanding it requires abandoning ‘between’ and ‘link’ for ‘above’ and ‘surimposition’. Surimposition is the consideration of the whole formed by relationships as a separate level of information. Relative independence, totally entangled with its constituents. But the specificity of this information is attested by the fact that it is recognized by others of the same type. Let’s take an example: facial features can combine to form an expression of happiness. Happiness is information surimposed on traits. It is relatively independent of it, since we can recognize it on any face, in a drawing, or even on a humanized robot. The medium thus varies from the living to the inert, through a numerical simulation, but the information ‘happiness’ is the same.

Like the mind that produces these ties

Our mind is a stack of surimposed levels of information. This is the thesis developed in Surimposium. “I walk” is a thought that we use without dwelling on it. It is at the top of a considerable pile of assembled sensorimotor levels. Independence that frees us from the need to control each of our muscle fibers. It is the same for all our concepts, our words, our images of others. They are more basic surimpositions of information. This is the essential prerequisite for understanding what is happening “between us”.

The relationship is made at multiple levels of information. It is a mille-feuilles that passes between two people. Most of the leaves are processed by the unconscious levels: body attitude, pheromones, corpulence, clothing, sound waves transformed into language but also intonations, accent, etc. Consciousness is presented with a synthesis of syntheses of syntheses… any surimposition built by the underlying neural networks. They give the conscious self the possibility of a complex decision.

Consciousness has no director

Consciousness at the top? Could she be the CEO of this vast company? No, for two reasons. 1) It exists only through the underlying networks. Remove the unconscious and consciousness is just an empty shell, devoid of any experience. 2) There are higher levels of information than the conscious self. The virtual staging continues, in social circles: couple, family, clan, caste, culture, nation, species, mysticisms. Each forms a social consciousness that imposes itself on the representation of the self. Consciousness learns to organize its decision between experienced sensations and higher imperatives.

In the end it is not one between us but one between me that we experience on a daily basis. Knowing one’s mental edifice helps to get out of it. So let’s start with the lower floors. Honey, a game of crotch?


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