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Sarah Perry:

" egregores – autonomous psychic entities made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. Egregoric entities, whether gods or demons or dictators at the center of a cult of personality, are powerful entities, even as they are imaginary – wholly created by and consisting of thoughts, speech, and behaviors. The human mind is a powerful entity, and becomes more powerful in coordination with others. To say that an “imaginary” entity, existing only in human minds, has agency, is not much stranger than suggesting that humans themselves, inscrutable piles of preferences that we are, have agency. Agency is no more than “a quick and dirty way of contextualizing the temporal activities of entropy climbers,” as St. Rev puts it.

Multiplying entities in this way helps make salient how unknowable these entities are – how little we know about the outcomes of social policy and change ahead of time, and how little we can know about them even after the fact. Here be dragons.

These entities vary in how demanding they are – how much they terrorize their component humans. They also vary in terms of what they are able to get out of their humans in terms of productivity. Productivity (measured in harvests, cathedrals, moon landings, pyramids, and the like) can be modeled as an inverted U-shaped function of terror." (