The Egregore II
A last summation on this subject of the egregore before I give the blog and its long-suffering readership a rest, while I also get caught up on personal matters… like the house-cleaning, my medical condition, the gardening, etc. I have been particularly remiss recently in attending to my medical condition, (although my nephrologist assures me there are pleasing and encouraging signs of an improvement in kidney function. Some day, I’ll have to tell you about the comedic side of “End Stage Renal Disease” (ESRD).
The formal definition of an egregore, as given in the last post, includes the notion of the “meme”, a unit of meaning that seems to assume or has acquired “a life of its own”, as we say of such things. That’s more true than not, for the egregore has indeed acquired “a life of its own” insofar as it has become a semi-autonomous energetic entity. But rather then describe the egregores as “automata” in that sense, the more appropriate term might be “animata“, (or an animaton perhaps), which in Latin means “animated” or “inspired” or “revived” or enlivened.
Now, the main difference between the automata and the animata, even though they share a few things in common, lies in the distinction between two matters which, like so many other things, have become confused in the mind: motion and action. Again, the present lack of discernment here is the pernicious effect of reductionism in science and fundamentalism in religion, for despite their appearance of mutual hostility and contentiousness they are identical in spirit, much like Wonderland’s Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. They are like the Gemini Twins. They grew up together as the products of the mental-rational consciousness structure.
In motion, the accent falls on movement through space, while in action the accent falls on time. Moreover, no subjectivity is implied in the notion of “motion” or moving, while a degree of subjectivity is implied in action and acting or performance. That’s what distinguishes the automata from the animata. It is the dubious ambition of the cyberneticists, however, to induce in their automata a high degree of subjectivity, which is the dream of “artificial intelligence”. The irony of that is, that they do this all the time in the case of the egregores (or animata) without even knowing it.
So, the animata are energetic or intentional entities (or libidinal entities) that have indeed acquired “a life of their own”. They act on us, and that’s the key difference between the automata and what we are calling the “animata“, and they act on us because, to be sustained in existence, they require the fuel of strong human emotions and passions, not just thought, but what we might call thought+. For such things to actually acquire “a life of their own” requires more than just busy mentation or cogitation, but also intentionality. The egregores are such intentional entities and have been known by many names — the spirits, the gods, demigods, guardians, angels, “groupthink” or “hive mind”, and so on. Today they bear different names — usually in the form of collective or abstract nouns — but they are the same egregores or animata. If we speak today “in the name of Science,” or “in the name of Reason”, or “in the name of God” or some such formula, it’s because we’re still the same old agents or devotees of the same old egregores in one form or another.
There is a kind of horrid irony at work in granting, for example, corporations, by law, citizenship (as in Citizens United) or as “immortal persons” as “self-organising” entities. Yesterday, the headlines read “Bank of Canada says…”. Mr Poloz, the chief priest of the Bank, is simply its oracle.