Otium is trying to define a set of egregores, or names for godlike entities that control our world. Today he wrote a good one about Ra, the force of high-class prestige and smooth vagueness.
I’ve had my writing criticized because “when you give your opinion, it sounds like you think you’re smart”. And I’ve spent a lot of time feeling ashamed of “thinking out loud” in public, because it tarnishes the glossy facade that it’s easy to feel obligated to put up. I’ve also had my more mainstream, Ivy League friends express surprise that I cared at all or made the slightest effort for friends in trouble. Being committed or involved in people’s lives is also messy and doesn’t permit the preservation of a flawless impression. Expressing yourself, thinking speculatively, and relating to people are shameful to the Ra-worshipping mindset, because all mental and emotional resources must be channeled into the quest for prestige.
Gruad Grayface, in the Illuminatus! Trilogy, is one of many figures representing “the Man” or malign technocratic authority, and he is accused of setting people against each other, making them unable to empathize across demographic lines (men and women, black and white), because if they communicated with each other they would realize that they were natural allies and none of them benefited from Gruad’s tyrannical rule.
There’s a persistent theme in the 60’s counterculture ethos that if people just communicated authentically, it would make a big difference to the world. And while this sounds like a platitude, I think it might be an important truth about the nature of Ra. See “The Sound of Silence.” See Leary’s exhortation to “find the others.” See the dystopia of perfect conformity that is Camazotz, which is vanquished by human flaws and by the love of specific people. Understanding that everyone has an inner life and nobody is smooth and blank is the antithesis of Ra.