Social Mediation

Internal and External Minds

Music to listen while reading

The materials that we use to construct the homes and villages that we live in can have profound impacts on the everyday function of our lives. The thickness of the walls shapes our understanding of the separation between personal and public.

. . . we define as observer any physical system that can extract information from another system by means of some interaction, and store that in-formation in a physical memory. Such an observer can establish “facts”, to which we assign the value recorded in their memory.

. . .

Hence, our definition covers human observers, as well as more commonly used non-conscious observers such as (classical or quantum) computers and other measurement devices—even the simplest possible ones, as long as they satisfy the above requirements.

Experimental rejection of observer-independence in the quantum world

We, humans, are physical systems which ingest knowledge from our environments, which are also physical systems. Nature is deeply interconnected. Humans are not unique in this aspect, but we differ from nature in the way that we frame and reflexively view. When humans settle into the environment we entangle objects into our social world. Objects become socially connected. New meaning is created both purposefully and accidentally within this shared space.

Social life is mediated through objects, graphs (groups of objects), and frames (representations of those two types).

Objects, Graphs are both properties of space. Through re-organization (Frames) they are constructed into a place. Frames can be viewed and interpreted as a whole or as the parts (Objects and Graphs) because of this Frames may seem to be spatial properties but they are actually social properties. The sum of Objects and Graphs are the frame—and depending how you interpret the Objects and Graphs will change the sum. Each Frame is unique but there is a standard deviation of the synthesis (Frames) that is created from the interaction between human personalities and Objects and Graphs.

Verbal and written language is built upon frames. Every non-grammatical word has a physical manifestation that it is representing. But even the order of words is utilized to maximize a physical manifestation. Like the punchline of a joke which relies heavily on spatial relationships in order to maximize the physical manifestation of the chemicals which are associated with laughter.

The spoken and written words also exist spatially and are both “written” back into the environment: the exhale of breathe or the etching of stone. We are only able to communicate with each other by interacting first with the environment. Through language we construct new spatial sequences and reorganize space itself.


Objects are raw materials which can be seen on many different levels in terms of structure or refinement. Atomic structure are both objects, and graphs. They can be both depending on how you frame. It’s possible that objects don’t actually exist but that everything is actually a graph. The object may only exist conceptually and in reality it could just be a graph (we might realize this after we discover “things” smaller than preons). In any case, objects and graphs are bound very tightly—especially on the atomic scale.

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 Seed Chapel (Thomas Heatherwick)


Objects, through discovery and use by social actors (humans, robots, animals, and even natural events), are entangled into a state of relationship with other objects. The network of objects exist in a state that changes in a continuous temporal state which can only be observed in static temporal frames. All objects form a social graph and the manifestation of this graph can be thought of in concrete terms as binding objects together through chemical or structural processes.

Thousands of different types of seeds are embedded at the end of acrylic rods set into the pavilion.


When we view graphs and objects, we create representations of those graph-objects as being one thing. Like how we can see a car and we almost never see it as thousands of parts moving independently along the freeway. Nor do we generally see the 40+ octillion molecular structures of said car.

The difference in meaning that causes conflict does not usually come from the difference in observation from the quantum or molecular construction of graph-objects. Our conceptual world is build upon how we view the high-level social relationships between graph-objects. Two people look at the same photograph and you will find infinite possibilities of narratives and interpretations of that image. The image could inspire wars, it could inspire investment or consumption, it could inspire an infinite number of things—but there is a reasonable probability distribution that reflects the average exposure and experience that people have with interpreting their world.

When we create imitations or are inspired by something then what we create is also socially related to the graph-object which inspired us. There really is no originality because everything is inspired and built upon which was once before us, in front of our vision. When we view the object of our creation we are viewing it framed. So even though we may try to view the thing itself we will always fail to see it purely objectively. We live in a world of representations of representations-connected-to-representations.

Social life is built upon the group consensus in the interpretation and meaning of graphs. The way that we frame the world is unique to each person and it reflects both the environment that they grew up in as well as the choices they made in how to interpret events and their environment. Because of this, the environment has an embedded social structure which reflects the people that constructed it. We can learn a lot from the environment if we look with a keen eye and a purpose.