Feb 23, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

The upside to all this is that I don't have to hate on my Red or Blue tribes thought process as much, knowing they are just captured by the egregore. The difficulty lies in helping people find a way out.

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Feb 23, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

This idea of an egregore is an interesting one, but mob rule is as old as the mob. It is true that whenever a physical object, informational structure or other organization occurs, there are unexpected complexities that arise because of it. My biophysics professor said "knowing all the laws of physics and chemistry, you would never expect the clouds" and suggested that there should be a "fourth law of thermodynamics" which was basically the concept of emergence. I appreciate your contribution to understanding this new era we are in.

I have another way of thinking about it. It seems to me that there are competing artificial intelligences that are composed of a huge collection of algorithms, computers and programmers, each competing for money, but also power, status and influence. The ones that harness these best to gain attention are clearly the ones that are dominant. This is partially an aspect of the goals of the humans building them, but also an aspect of the emergent phenomena that we are unveiling by being so relentlessly connected to each other.

I think Philip K. Dick was a prophet of our coming era in many ways:

"Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans."

So my understanding is that you are talking about this. It is an interesting idea. I believe that Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and to a lesser degree Larry Page and Sergey Brin have some control over the entities they posses. I appreciate your contributions here.

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

"a vast, pseudoreligious indoctrination program..."

i've been calling it either The Daily Dogma or The New God but I think your egregore is even better.

you, sir, are a master zeitgeistologist!

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Like Laramie below/above I think this proof in each side thinking the other is gaslit doesn't quite sell the idea to me. I'm not sure what proof would even look like, but maybe we don't need proof.

I think that a lot of ideas work or do not work. I don't need egregores to literally exist but they are exactly the kind of emergent meme entities I have seen on Reddit and close polyamory and scenes for 5-8 years. To me egregores are a morality tale; not factual but offering artistic truth.

As for proof, it will take distance in time to see if society can be better described with egregores versus centralized conspiracies. But, if the tool helps us navigate the landscape, it is a useful tool. I haven't seen anyone else bring this idea about except in the simplistic, pejorative "Reddit hive mind" idea. I'm glad I found your blog via Rebel Wisdom

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>The media business model to drive traffic is more powerful in this smartphone space than governments are, or intelligence agencies, or any centralized cabal.

This is a major assumption. You need evidence for it. It seems to me that most things can be packaged for public consumption and that the media doesn't necessarily just let the most dopamine inducing idea win out. Wokeism is basically an ugly ideology that only appeals to hedonistic minorities, for instance. Click bait and naive dopamine-centered memetics can't explain its success. Wokeism does not exist because it "gets the most clicks."

>Bureaucracy is the actual government, not the elected officials, and the officials have almost no control over what the government does.

Managerialism is naive and has one massive problem: DMV workers have low capability (and agency). Real power rests on these traits. People low in this traits may receive delegated power, but they're like an appendage of the brain, and will be cut off for any disobedience. In other words, midwit paper pushers are externally disciplined by 130 plus IQ actual-power holders who have the ability to, for instance, allocate themselves unending economic units. If you supposedly have power, but you're poor, maybe your power isn't actually power. It's surely not worth as much as money. Maybe you're renting somebody else's power and they limit your use of it.

>In Nawaz’s formulation, a conspiratorial cabal influences government, the government influences both policy and the media, and then policy and the media influences individual behavior (such as masks). This is wrong, because the low and mid-level clock punchers are not beholden to the cabal. They are beholden to their smartphones.

The cabal decides what's on their phones, and if they disobey the cabal they're fired. So they are beholden to the cabal, i.e. the oligarchy of high capacity, high agency individuals who have allotted themselves massive ownership of economic resources.

This is how it works: https://i.imgur.com/48GNX7L.png

>We may think that because it’s a couple of guys in a basement, it qualifies as a conspiracy, but it’s not, because they can’t actually control what they’re writing.

Well sure, because they have no carrot and stick. On the other hand, capable people can punish and reward, and that's what wokeism is. Woke? Rewarded. Not woke? Punished.

>Does the Pope control Christianity? No. Christianity controls the Pope.

You should read a history of the Church and the Pope and keep in mind the carrot and stick thing. Maybe now the tail wags the dog. Not so in 1200 AD.

What you're doing is assuming that there is no ruling class and going from there. If there is no ruling class, then your idea makes sense.

The culture function looks something like this: C = f( P = {G, E, M}, w) where P are phenotypes, G is the gene pool, E is material factors, M is memetics/information, and w are the weights. When you have a ruling class, you weight a few phenotypes way more than others. If you just assume there is no ruling class, you don't need any weight information so you get f(P={G,E,M}). Then if you're liberal and you find it quite racist to suggest culture might be a function of genes you get f(P={E,M}). And if you're on a short time horizon where you hold E constant between your imagined alternative culture outputs you get C = f(M). Then you just ignore that M could also be a function of those other things because, well, those other things are assumed to be constant so obviously there's some real substance in M that is changing just because.

So then you write a post that boils down to C = f(M) but instead of evidence you just have your obviously-rational and polite assumption that w_i = 1 for every w_i in w, g_i ~= g_i+1 for every g_i in G, and your better assumption that E is constant between imagined potential C's. So C = f(M).

But then there's no point to this post because the question is begged. You need to prove your assumptions about G and w.

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm curious how you would delineate the boundary between egregores and ideology. The conflict in Ukraine is a fresh example on many people's minds, including mine. I've noticed that a number of commentators converging on the idea that the conflict is between civic democracy and authoritarianism. The labels are almost interchangeable depending on which side of the argument one is making. Inevitably, everyone accuses their opponent of being deceived by propaganda from the other side.

But there are also long antecedents to the conflict between authoritarianism and democracy, just consider the entire history of the 20th century. So it seems like people are fitting their descriptions of the Ukraine crisis into ideologies from the 20th century and even earlier. Does this mean that an egegore is at work? Are these ideologies examples of earlier egregores that are just reproducing in our current social media environment? Or are egegores a novel combination of algorithms, social media, and political economy? I'm intrigued enough by the egegore concept to wonder how far one can push it beyond the recent cases you've described.

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"The groupthink entities comprised by social network echo chambers control the media they consume, which controls their version of the world, which then controls everyone’s behavior captured by them. Can I prove this? Yes. If this were true, each side of the Covid debate would think the other side is gaslit."

Hmmmm. I think this is too cute by half. Proves too much. One side is right. Perhaps not on every issue, of course, but on some number of issues within their respective baskets of issues. Whether they think the other side is gaslit doesn't really prove anything.

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Mar 5, 2022·edited Mar 5, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Did we ever imagine that the noosphere would coalesce without casting a shadow?

Take the dreams of every mind, some nightmares, some lucid.

Now make a big pot of soup with them.

As the cauldron simmers, the dark and grave dreams sink,

then hit the searing iron basin and scream to the surface,

for all to witness in shrieking terror with daisies in their eyes.

Good soup takes time.

The bigger the pot, the longer the stew.

How might we enjoy becoming delicious

as our human beings are consumed by a global consciousness?

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Feb 25, 2022·edited Feb 25, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

I don’t fully buy into the egregore idea. Absolutely there are a lot of NPCs just following their programming, but someone is at least influencing what that programming is. It’s not a coincidence that much Leftist programming is the same as the USSR’s subversion programs (see: Yuri Bezmenov) and/or Gramscian theory. Or a coincidence that the programming just happens to work great for tyrants. If it was random, it would weave back and forth rather than always heading towards the same goal of control. Where is the libertarian egregore, with masses of people shouting “are you detaining me?!”

Another point is that media often makes decisions that are against their bottom line, but in line with their beliefs. They aren't pandering to people, they are pushing their ideas on people. And those ideas can mostly be traced back to particular sources.

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Once again I truly appreciate your framework of looking at these things through the lens of an egregore. It's certainly a lot more accurate then attributing human activities to a conspiracy. It does perhaps fall apart a bit in the situation where specific people have an outsized influence: what would happen to QAnon if the bearded men in the basement died, or quit? What would Trumpism be without Trump? Or the Reformation without Martin Luther? There is a feedback loop in which individuals radically change egregores or create new ones.

A quick word of caution with your ending plea to #resist. That ethos is itself an egregore, or perhaps the summation of all "antithesis" egregores. To resist the influence of egregores requires independent sensemaking (I suppose), which is not the same as "resisting".

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

You talk about these egregores like they’re a bad thing. Aren’t they what everyone wants to be part of, in this meaning crisis? To be that cog that works and is worked by a communal spirit. It’s the ideal of having our cake and eating it.

We try to keep up with the leading edge of the spirit as it moves. We take a blind gambit on the spirit moving towards truth. Where people all sweep forward in the same direction, unobstructed, that must be more true. That’s a sign of power.

I’m thinking of some of the dissident right channels I listen to that unearth the disgarded political philosophers of 100+ years ago. But any online or offline cluster would do. We want to be possessed. We want to dig up treasure.

For myself I quite like getting lost, either by using the old atlas and ending up down a country lane, or being faced with ideas that don’t tie up neatly or let you march in a phalanx.

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The graphic above with different text explains Climate Alarmism Skepticism as well.

To the point where I'm sorry, but I have reached the point where if someone *isn't* skeptical of the claims of the Climate Alarmists, I consider them credulous morons who are incapable of looking past their next meal. And potentially not even that far.

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Fascinating, but I have two questions in regards to:

"The groupthink entities comprised by social network echo chambers control the media they consume, which controls their version of the world, which then controls everyone’s behavior captured by them. Can I prove this? Yes. If this were true, each side of the Covid debate would think the other side is gaslit.”

1. Can you expand more on what it means to think the other side is gaslit? Does that just mean believing that the people on the other side have been fed and have accepted a false picture of reality?

2. Why would both sides thinking this about each other prove the groupthink entity hypothesis? Seems it could just as easily argue for a top-down conspiracy model.

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"Does the Pope control Christianity? No. Christianity controls the Pope. But Christianity changes very slowly and is not beholden to a daily freakoutery click count to maintain its revenue."

Catholicism, not Christianity. And there's a significant reason that the Pope's ability to change Catholicism is limited, and that reason is not an egregore. That reason is DOCTRINE. Catholicism actually has some. It has codified principles. Codified principles are another variable in this conversation - a third option besides egregore and dictator.

And they're the best option. Prosperous, enduring movements have constitutions. Creeds. Principles whose malleability is limited by written covenant.

The world is complex. Most movements actually have a combination of creed, dictator, and egregore guiding them, and it is very much worth talking about the relative potency of the three in a given movement. But it is also worth noting that one of the three influences is quite a bit less prone to fits of toxic emotional incontinence than the others.

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