Mike Hind’s Rarely Certain is one of my favorite blogs. He’s got a bit on egregores this morning, and having a bit of personal experience with one egregore in particular, I thought I’d weigh in.
First of all, what’s an egregore? The analogy that will be most familiar to most people is that of corporate personhood, the idea that the corporate gestalt, composed of the various physical, corporeal assets like computers and real estate, as well as both the faceless toilers for the corporation and the luminaries who direct it, is in some not-entirely-abstract sense alive, even self-aware. It is the sense of an organism whose physicality is so dispersed so as to be invisible at human scale.
The egregore with which I have the most personal familiarity is, of course, The Wolf. Like every egregore, it has avatars, and incarnates within them from time to time. It exists at an abstract level, but it can be defined, and thus limited, by human belief. One of its forms is the Norse Fenrir, another is The Big Bad Wolf from Bugs Bunny cartoons. All Wolves are one Wolf, all perspectives on it have their place.
The corporate personhood conceptualization is an interesting approach, but it isn’t a wholly new concept, even at the legal level. A corporate person is a civic god, a god of the polis, but abstracted out of any specific physical space. Its intersection with egregores like The Wolf or The Trickster is at the level of branding, where it attempts to take some aspect of them and make that aspect the polis’s authorized interpretation.
(Speaking of the polis and its legends, Romulus and Mowgli are two facets of the same avatar. One founded a city-state, and one was merely a boy who eventually found his way back to his tribe, but both were sons of The Wolf. There are a limited number of familiar origins to a legend. It is the paths they walk from that origin that distinguish them from one another.)
We build our own cosmologies, and we should be conscious that this has always been the case. It’d be nice if we moderns, with access to the history of human gods and heroes at our fingertips, constructed our legends more intentionally than the ancients. We don’t need more Clowns.
The making of a modern pantheon, sort of avatars of human aspects, with stories about their strengths and weaknesses, vices and virtues ,to tell our children would be a valuable endeavor. I am not sure I have it in me, but I have thought about it a fair bit, and the modern world certainly is lacking for it.
This is a bold & provocative angle in positioning these phenomena as things we may have more control over than the traditional conception of us as victim to forces outside our control. Nor had I made the conceptual link with corporate personhood before - but of course you’re right to. It’s all distributed consciousness manifesting as something separate to the sum of parts. I’ve plenty more reading & thinking to enjoy on this.
Also, thank you so much for your endorsement. I woke to several new sign-ups, which is always gratifying.