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Memespace Egregores and the Covid-19 Sensemaking Crisis
Also, how to choose a doctor in 2022
On November 30th, HWFO laid out a simple framework for identifying egregores in the noosphere world that exists on the liminal boundary between the real and the internet, using Google Maps as an anchor point for understanding how they operate.
Here’s an excerpt:
Our mental model of the world is based on our sensorium. The smartphones are absorbing our lives, transferring our experiences inside them. The smartphone users outsource the ‘morality’ portion of their brains to their phones. The world inside the smartphone is crafted by media feeds tailored to create clickbait outrage porn because that’s what pays the bills. The outrage porn builds a platform for culture war. The fertile culture war soil creates space for egregores. The egregores assume control of the smartphone addicts, using them as NPC tools to propagate themselves. The egregores constantly evolve to combat each other because they can update themselves on the feed. The Kurzweil Singularity has already happened, and you’re already a cog in it.
And nobody’s noticed, because we’re all just neurons in the artificial neural network we created, and call “social media.”
Now you’re up to date.
While this is a good sensemaking tool to understand the new world around us, our analysis then didn’t drill into the connection between these egregores and the sensemaking crisis itself, and we didn’t yet provide an example of how to use this knowledge in our personal lives for our personal benefit.
Now let’s do that. And then use it to pick a doctor.
Sensemaking Crisis Overview
The startup costs to begin a blog or develop a social media following are essentially zero, so the amount of information to sort in sensemaking has no effective upper bound other than the human population itself. There’s too much information for anyone to process, so we need gatekeepers. The legacy gatekeepers make more money from playing to an echo chamber than they do crossing echo chamber boundaries, so they tailor their content to a demographic. They’re also tailoring to a demographic because that helps them sell advertisements. Google algorithms curate your feed. Your feed is also self-curated, in who you choose to follow or who you choose to connect to on social media, so there are two layers of algorithmic curation, machine learning and personal choice. Cell phone usage on an hours per day metric continues to climb until our vision of the world is dominated by the glowing screen instead of what’s going on outside our windows. We all begin to live in different worlds. No resolution to discussion can occur without first resolving the givens that make up the world itself, which gets more impossible every month as the worlds continue to diverge. Everyone who is outside your world bubble looks insane to you because their behavior is based on a completely different understanding of what the world even is. The entire population migrates to enacting behaviors as if they were all in bifurcating micro-cults. Layers of bifurcated micro-cults who perceive each other as insane cannot come together to make sense of the world itself, and therefore cannot resolve any major world catastrophe, nor even can agree on whether any particular catastrophe is indeed a catastrophe at all.
This was the sensemaking crisis analysis held by a wide number of intellectualistas in the corners of the internet in 2018. This was their prediction. They were all worried that this problem would become manifest. But when Covid hit, these self-same intellectualistas tore each other apart because they didn’t realize that they were being subjected to the very mechanics of the sensemaking crisis itself. Nobody does, because everyone thinks their view of the world, as supplied by their curated feed, is the accurate one. It is society wide micro-insanity. This is why we see Sam Harris and Bret Weinstein take opposite positions on Covid – they are each building their world view from different feeds, feeding them different givens, making each seem insane to the other. And these group micro-insanities are exacerbated by the rise of the Egregores.
Egregores as Singularities
When you scroll through your feed, and like and share things, you are enacting the exact behavior of a neuron in a brain. Neurons in brains receive signals from their dendrites, and then choose to fire or not fire a signal to their axon, which flows to other dendrites in other neurons. Neurons are very literally liking and sharing a signal. But the signal they like and share is binary, a one or a zero. Humans are liking and sharing concepts, articles, art, and most importantly image memes, which are ideas themselves condensed into a word/image collage that conveys meaning in a very short amount of time. They are idea compression. In this way, every internet social media echo chamber is not just an information silo, it is also itself a very real and verifiable thinking brain.
Mankind has always been modellable as a superorganism, monkeys behaving as ants or bees. The signal that binds them into super-organismic behavior for the prior ten thousand years has been the use of money. Money is analogous to the pheromone signals in ants, letting them know when to build a new nursery chamber in their ant hill or carry out the ant trash. Free markets provide similar signals to humans, and lead to the creation of our own cities which work like giant ant hills of labor specialization. But the ants don’t share a brain, they just run “code,” and until recently the humans didn’t share a brain either, they just ran “economics.” This leap into social media has created next level thinking brains, and just like a real brain, no individual neuron can know the structure of a group thought because it is only one node in the brainwave. The brain itself thinks at a higher level than the neuron, which means our echo chambers are literally thinking, and thinking at a higher level than human thought.
It is the Kurzweil Singularity of a different form, a man-machine hybrid thinking object that lives in the virtual, and battles with other man-machine hybrid thinking objects for purchase in the overall landscape of human brain space. These are the egregores, and they control the behavior of most people who are plugged into the feed. And each information silo echo chamber is fertile ground for the formation of an egregore.
Application to Covid-19
This egregore influenced behavior is easily picked out in your Facebook or Instagram feeds once you begin to identify it. Likewise at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. But we have a cultural understanding and trust in figures of authority, that they are going to be objective and true. But nobody is objective and true, everyone is subject to information silos and social pressures to enact the behaviors promulgated by their egregore. This is very important when you do things like select a doctor.
Some doctors are firmly planted in the Thesis egregore for Covid-19, some are firmly planted in the Antithesis egregore. If you catch Covid-19 and you want early medical treatment, doctors in the Thesis egregore are completely unaware that any early treatment exists or even could exist and will tell you to eat chicken broth and come into the hospital if you can’t breathe. Their egregore adopted this posture not out of some grand conspiracy theory, but out of a simple drive to try and increase vaccination rates by telling people not to rely on treatment, so the treatment options evaporated like magic.
Doctors in the Antithesis egregore believe that treatment is possible, particularly early, and are implementing a wide range of “kitchen sink” early treatment options to try and prevent hospitalization entirely. They believe they have seen these treatment options work, in their experience, and have variously used hydroxyquinoline, ivermectin, vitamins, steroids, monoclonal antibodies, and other options to treat Covid symptoms and prevent infection from getting worse. Some of their positive personal experience with these treatments is probably due to Covid-19 being not that deadly to begin with, and people’s bodies simply overcoming the infection. Some of their positive personal experiences may be with legitimate improvement. And since they are part of the Antithesis egregore, they likely carry some other beliefs that may not be true, such as Dr. Peter McCullough’s recent claim that no reinfection is possible from Covid-19.
The science on these treatments is murky, in part, because doctors and scientists are people, and all people are swept up by the sensemaking crisis, and are enacting the programming by their egregores. Thesis Covid doctors and Antithesis Covid doctors will both make choices in crafting their attempts at science that bend the needle. Sensemaking early treatment becomes impossible because when we look at two doctors argue, it is not in fact themselves arguing, it is the egregores. So you must chose a doctor on your own that meets the needs you have. If you want early treatment, you must find an Antithesis Covid doctor, and accept the baggage that the Antithesis egregore carries. If you don’t want that baggage, you must choose a Thesis doctor, and resign yourself to not being treated at all unless you land in a hospital, because treating you might convince someone else to not get vaccinated.
Discerning which egregore’s programming a given doctor is enacting should be very simple. Ask them their opinions of ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies.