A guest article by HWFO reader Joseph B. Ottinger
The assumption that egregores have no agency (or perhaps intentionality) seems a bit flawed to me.
EXACTLY. Best summation of egregores is a murmuration of starlings.
I'm new to this egregore thinking. It sounds to me like the great magical agent, the "astral light...the receptacle of forms. Evoked through reason,the forms are produced in harmony; evoked through madness, they turn up disordered and monstrous," according to Eliphas Levi. The astral light the source of creative energy, which we tap into with our imagination and form with our will. I imagine a lot of people imagining and forming the same thing could build like an egregore; I am not magician enough to know if some greater energy with intent could inhabit it and direct it.
Trying to avoid egregores by setting up culture that resists them seems egregorish.
I think if you are arguing from a position of monism (as it seems to me you are), where consciousness is a product of and inherent to physical human brains, a truly emergent property of them, then you rapidly run into many problems (the hard problem of consciousness has always been explaining this "hard" emergence for which we really have no evidence and no other examples exist).
But what's fascinating about the idea of egregores is that there is a very clear parallel to the emergence of human consciousness. If an arrangement of cells with electric potentials and specific connections with extensive positive and negative feedback systems produces qualia and the visceral experience of being in control of your action and the intricacies of thought (all the trappings of consciousness), how can you argue that an arrangement of these consciousnesses spatially connected with external positive and negative feedback systems cannot possibly produce something else emergent?
An egregore in this sense would be just as in control of its actions as we feel we are, and would see the individual components no different than we see a neuron receiving stimulation and inhibition from neurotransmitters, eventually leading to rapid depolarization of its membrane, and return to the initial state
Flock sound an awful lot like mob.