An egregore, as the term is used in certain parts of the Internet, is a group
of people that moves cohesively, often in pursuit of a goal. This group of
people can be very nebulous and even to members of an egregore, it can be
unclear whether they're really part of it. Similarly, the egregore's direction
or goal may not be any single member's. Yet, the egregore itself is often easy
to recognize: It has its own kind of agency, much like that of a hive or swarm,
and is eager to use it.
Alternatively and more mystically, egregore refers to the group mind behind
that agency. This is the where the word originates (see Wikipedia).
Egregores come in many forms, sizes and ages.
On the long-lived side, there are states, well-established and clearly
delineated by territory and citizenship. There are religions, which can be
ancient (like the Catholic Church) and range from crisply outlined (most
abrahamic faiths, secret societies) to completely nebulous (philosophical
schools and folk religions).
On the short-lived side, there are mobs (online and offline) and group
dynamics, each of which can form and disperse within minutes, but may live for
Corporations have clear outlines but otherwise vary wildly, in extreme cases
they may live for over a millenium or become as powerful as empires. Since they
are subject to market forces first and foremost, their goals are among the most
estranged from a regular human's.
Political ideologies like to form egregores, in fact they often enter a close
symbiosis with their respective egregore so that each can perpetuate the other.
It can become hard to tell the members from their beliefs. In these egregores
especially, what their members profess to believe in, and what they end up
doing, can be at complete odds (compare: many of the 20th century's regimes).
A technical definition could be that an egregore is any group of people that
has agency that isn't any single member's.
Another outlook is that egregores are the alien race we share the planet with -
they may exhibit agency and substantial intelligence, but despite being made of
humans, they fundamentally do not think like us.
published: Sep 27 2018.
epistemic status: tentative.