The sea of ourselves…

Topic for today: the group mind.  The collective unconscious (and maybe the collective conscious, too, even)…

Now, to draw a certain distinction, Occult thought has within its bounds, a concept that’s very similar to what I’m getting at here today, but which isn’t quite entirely the same.  This concept is called the “egregore.”  An egregore is defined — roughly, more or less — as “an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people” and “a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose.”  I pilfered that language freely from Wikipedia, and while you may say what you will about the online encyclopedia, the article in question does offer the very helpful and illustrative comparisons of likening an egregore to “entities” such as the corporation or the meme…except the egregore would be a psychic sort of entity, while the corporation is a legal one, and the meme is a mental/social one.

The Egregore concept: can a group that channels their will together actually create an entity...?
The Egregore concept: can a group that channels their will together actually create an entity…?

But I think that this element of people consciously coming together in the egregore notion is what mainly sets it apart from what I’m about to get into here…  To put it another way, I’d say that an egregore would be something distinct in and of itself that’s purposely created by a group mind…but what I’m discussing is the group mind itself.  I’m now talking about the collective unconscious rather than any collective consciousness or product thereof: something that isn’t thought, willed, or directed into being, so much as it just is.  This would be the same kind of idea as what I believe Carl Jung was referring to when he spoke of his archetypes and the collective unconscious (Jung is, in fact, credited with coining the very term, “collective unconscious”).

This concept seems to crop up in almost any of the kinds of symbol-sets I was writing about in yesterday’s post, and to get more specific, the group mind or collective unconscious is very often symbolized by…water.

Water: often the Occult representation of the collective unconscious here on Planet Earth...
Water: often the Occult representation of the collective unconscious here on Planet Earth…

You’ll find water to be a major symbol in almost any of the primary symbol-sets you’ll encounter in the realm of the Occult.  The Suit of Cups in Tarot is associated with water, and can be held to represent the group mind or collective unconscious (among other concepts).  The Elder Futhark’s Rune, Laguz, similarly signifies water, and can be imputed to hold meanings that revolve around the same collective unconscious principles (again, among other meanings).  The I Ching deals with water, as does Astrology…  This is a thoroughly important theme in seemingly every mechanism for breaking existence down into more manageable conceptual component parts.  Water is of course just a symbol for the group mind/collective unconscious, though, as the group mind itself is an invisible thing and an intangible thing — it can’t be seen or touched…

Or can it?

Okay, that might all apply to hope, sure...but does it also apply to the group mind...?
So does that mean that hope sees and feels the group mind…?

Ever since we really jumped fully into the Digital Age, it’s seemed to me that we’ve been steadily building up and fleshing out if not the group mind itself, then a somewhat visible and tangible representation of it…and this representation comes into sharper focus each and every day.  I’m talking about:

The internet!!

Is the internet actually our group mind gaining a sort of visible and tangible form...?
Is the internet actually our group mind gaining a sort of visible and tangible form…?

Now, it could be argued that the internet itself isn’t exactly visible or tangible — without technology to serve as intermediary, we humans can’t directly see it or touch it (and sidenote: this poses the fascinating question of whether cyberspace was always there, waiting for us patiently until we advanced our technology to the point where we could finally reach it, or did it only leap into being when we invented the necessary tech…?).  I can’t dispute the literal direct invisibility and intangibility of cyberspace.  But the internet at least affords us the chance to access all that it contains, to draw from it and to add to it.  It’s like it’s the group mind, the collective unconscious, spinning an actual semi-physical form for itself simply because it now exists, and we continue to feed it…

Obviously, this form won’t be fully complete until every mind on Earth can add itself to the greater group mind of the internet, recording their individual thoughts and feelings and traits…and this isn’t happening yet, as not everyone on the globe has access to a computer, not to mention the time, privacy, and freedom with which to encode themselves into the mix.  But we do seem to be moving in that direction.  The internet can already be seen as a mosaic of sorts, comprised of all the myriad little bits of psyche that we each contribute to it, and the more that we kick in, the more the whole can accurately be held to represent our entire species.  I also think the internet is not a thing created with direct intent to do our will — it’s not an egregore, as such — but rather, it just exists now, a reflection of us, an incredibly complex symbol that signifies us.  Like water in Tarot, or Runes, or the I Ching, or Astrology, I believe that in many ways, the internet is our group mind, our collective unconscious…

Of course, one quick look at what’s to be found within the sea of information that is the internet will show that we have a long way to go as a people, but I also feel that the very fact that we’re beginning to record and learn from this reflection of our species-psyche is a tremendous step in the right direction.  And I like to think that this very website here is my own way of trying to add my own positive individual little wave to the overall collective sea…

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