Rule I: Do Not Carelessly Denigrate Governments or Bitcoin
This work follows the chronological order of Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson. If you own the book it adds a second dimension. This writing reflects the shared values contained in the center of the Venn diagram between Bitcoin and Beyond Order. All quotes credited to Jordan Peterson. All reflections inspired by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Loneliness and Confusion
“People depend on constant communication with others to keep their minds organized. We all need to think to keep things straight, but we mostly think by talking.”
Recall the first time you tried explaining how Bitcoin works. You humbly discover how much you don’t know. Do it anyway. The only way to make sense of profound subject matter is to discuss it openly to figure out what you don’t know. You will feel exposed, vulnerable, or embarrassed. Good. That signal is your precursor to growth. Don’t waste that opportunity. Follow through by seeking the answer. Expose your ignorance through conversation. That takes courage not stupidity. Blind spots will appear illuminating your learning path. Rinse and repeat, it becomes cathartic. You might just tumble down the Bitcoin rabbit hole.
Join the conversation on Twitter or Clubhouse to immerse yourself in the community. If you’re not sure who to follow I made this twitter list, Bitcoin Starter Pack, to give you a head start.
Sanity as a Social Institution
“What we deem to be valuable and worthy of attention becomes part of the social contract…”
Bitcoin is a digital organism that maintains a decentralized consensus. This is valuable and worthy of attention because it is by far the cleanest known implementation with respect to governance and money. This is why it’s possible for Bitcoin to be the money of enemies. Traditional organizations are structured in pyramid hierarchies. The shape of Bitcoin’s hierarchy is a three circle venn diagram representing nodes, miners, and developers. It’s fitting that Travis Kling chose the three circle Ikigai, a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being", as his brand. Bitcoin’s gravitas draws from the Borromean rings, an ancient mathematical pattern representing the sacred trinity, meaning “three are one”.
Systems of centralized trust are societal norms. America’s founding fathers knew the importance of weaving checks and balances through our power structure to decrease the possibility of corruption and tyranny. Our forefathers knew full well that dissipating centralized power would come at the cost of decision making speed. This new social contract was an intentional design choice to the benefit of the individual. Bitcoin is a technological continuation of this American spirit and this is why it is imperative to run a Bitcoin full node. Running a full node is the act of hoisting the flag. Running a full node grants you full membership into the Bitcoin social contract.
For the non-technical crowd here are two quick start full node services: Umbrel & MyNode. The more adventurous can setup a node from scratch via Bitcoin Core. If you feel out of your depth, check out BTC Sessions’ node setup tutorials on YouTube.
The Point of Pointing
“We compete for attention, personally, socially, and economically. No currency has a value that exceeds attention.”
The Internet we know today — the Internet of Communication — removes barriers to entry enabling the best content creators to rise to the top of the attention economy based on merit. Bitcoin is the Internet of Money because it takes the shackles off of money. It gives everyone open access to a superior form of money that offers freedom, fairness, and open access. If you thought the Internet of Communication reshaped our lives, imagine what happens when the Internet of Money takes center stage.
“The words we employ are tools that structure our experience”
Code is programming language. Bitcoin is code, an invisible product of imagination, that offers an upgrade path spanning the digital and physical world. Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) design connects the physical and digital world through energy input — entropy. PoW interlinks the digital world with the analog world for the first time. PoW connects these two worlds resulting in a transparent verifiable trust network between one another. This immutable digital trust restructures our experience in the physical world.
Bitcoin has volumes of writing by deep thinkers. These works anchor to historical, biological, and mathematical fundamentals. The wisdom offered has the capacity to meaningfully transform politics, economics, philosophy, and history. To ignorantly deny Bitcoin is to cling to an unbearable present because you fear the unknown potential this technology offers the future.
These works I find inspiring:
- “The Number Zero and Bitcoin” by Robert Breedlove
- “Bitcoin is Time” by Dergigi
- “A Most Peaceful Revolution” by Nic Carter
- “Bitcoin is The Mycelium of Money” by Brandon Quittem
- “Bitcoin is Venice” by Allen Farrington
What Should We Point To?
“… there are unlimited problems… but there are a comparatively limited number of solutions that work practically, psychologically, and socially simultaneously.”
Bitcoin’s discovery of digital scarcity is a precious, one time phenomena. It offers a solution that works practically, psychologically, and socially for the greater human good. The Bitcoin network has operated uninterrupted over 12 years, the highest uptime of any internet based application ever created. The enigmatic origin story of Satoshi Nakamoto produces Bitcoin’s timeless “virgin birth”. And the enormous online and in-person Bitcoin communities created without a marketing budget is of biblical proportion. Bitcoin combines the discovery of digital scarcity, unprecedented reliability, and remarkable narrative. Bitcoin is the rare solution that applies to a spectrum of problems.
For a technology known as an online phenomena, don’t miss the opportunity to connect with the in-person side of Bitcoin. David Bailey of BitcoinMagazine.com hosts Bitcoin 2021 — the Bitcoin event of the year.
“Institutions have evolved to solve problems that must be solved for life to continue. They are by no means perfect — but making them better, rather than worse, is a tricky problem indeed.”
America was founded to solve the problem of religious freedom. The implementation at the social level separates church and state. America’s core tenets include liberty, individual sovereignty, and equality for all (amongst many others). At its core, Bitcoin is the continuation of these tenets. Separation of money from state deepens America’s core tenets on a global scale. Both America and Bitcoin aim to reduce conflicts of interest, reduce ease of corruption, thwart tyranny, and decentralize power. Bitcoin solves a tricky problem without changing fundamental American values. Neither government nor Bitcoin are perfect. But only Bitcoin offers individuals and governments alike an upgrade path at scale that works during these troubled times.
“Piaget suspected… that games undertaken voluntarily will outcompete games imposed and played under threat of force, given that some energy that could be expended on the game itself… has to be wasted on enforcement.”
Energy waste is a persistent Bitcoin criticism. Its massive energy expenditure on enforcement is understandably infuriating to skeptics. Without deeper analysis, this statement seems infallible on the surface. Nic Carter debunks these claims in “The Frustrating, Maddening, All-Consuming Bitcoin Energy Debate” and “The Last Word on Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption”. Ross Stevens also has some prescient foresight into the possibility Bitcoin brings to energy markets.
Ironically, Bitcoin soaks up “energy of last resort” such as stranded energy. In other words, the highly competitive nature of Bitcoin mining means it self-selects for the cheapest energy in the long run. As counterintuitive as it sounds, Bitcoin actually helps at both ends of the energy spectrum. On one end Bitcoin miners are a net positive to the adoption of green energy tech (sans government subsidy). On the other end Bitcoin offers an application for wasted stranded energy which can be seen in Adam O.’s and Steve Barbour’s work converting gas flares to Bitcoin mining operations.
Bitcoin is a 100% voluntary opt-in monetary system without the threat of force. Bitcoin mining does consume a massive amount of energy when posed as a single number — hashrate. But this univariate analysis lacks so much depth it misses the forest for the trees. Bitcoin mining is so competitive it prices out inefficient, expensive energy markets and prices in efficient, lowest cost energy inputs such as green energy and stranded energy.
But isn’t Bitcoin mining still wasting energy on enforcement? Bitcoin miners sacrifice something valuable (energy) to ensure randomness in who gets to create the next block — a critical mechanism to achieve decentralization. Enforcement of the rules occurs at the level of the full node. Anyone can run a full node directly from a standard wall socket requiring less power than a laptop. That is incredibly cost effective rule enforcement. Relative to Piaget’s position, the distinction is the energy expended in Bitcoin is 100% voluntarily committed to the fair play of the game itself — it is the carrot not the stick. These qualities give it the best chance to unite the largest community on earth — The Internet — from the bottom up.
The Utility of the Fool
“The Fool… his strength is precisely his willingness to risk such a drop; to risk being once again at the bottom. No one unwilling to be a foolish beginner can learn… Jung regarded the Fool as the precursor to the Redeemer, the perfected individual.”
A Bitcoin pleb is the archetype of the Fool. Pleb_BitcoinTINA is the king of plebs in my book. He’s the consummate Fool. And I name him that in the best, most loving, admirable spirit. He is incredibly knowledgeable yet he humbles himself with the label of the pleb rather than crowning himself king. His brash approach on social media constantly puts him at risk of being wrong on a very public stage. Sticking your neck as the Fool requires courage and bravery with the aim to become the Redeemer.
Bitcoin can be daunting to newcomers. Stay humble and be grateful that there are so many bitcoin veterans like NVK and Jimmy Song who are accessible via Twitter, Clubhouse, and Podcasts. Assume the spirit of the consummate pleb and know that you’ll never HODL alone.
The Necessity of Equals
“It is good to be a beginner, but it is a good of a different sort to be an equal among equals. It is said, with much truth, that genuine communication can take place only between peers. This is because it is very difficult to move information up a hierarchy.”
The internet has become a two-headed dragon: fake news and censorship. Bad actors reverse engineer big tech’s highly tuned algorithms with manipulative fake news. This turns structures of order into highly flammable fabricated chaos. In an attempt to govern the chaos created by fake news, massive centralized tech giants grant themselves the power to arbitrate the truth. While tech seeks to restore balance, free of speech is sacrificed — censorship. This chaos blurs what is true and what is not true making it difficult to move the right information within our hierarchy. In an effort to restore order, censorship is employed adding another dimension of complexity: Who gets to be the arbiter of truth?
I do not have a solution for the issue above though Sphinx Chat offers a glimpse into how we may restore genuine conversation on the internet. Paul Itoi at Sphinx Chat makes the case that future generations will view free applications with chilling response. Today, the vast majority of the internet is free which invariably means you are the product being sold. Sphinx Chat is a pay-to-play decentralized chat app running over the Lightning Network. Sending messages requires micro payments measured in Bitcoin’s smallest unit of measurement — Satoshis. Connecting your own node or using a shared node restores the balance of power by giving ownership and control to the user rather than a centralized application such as Facebook or Google. Pay-to-play makes it costly to spam the network and node ownership makes conversations censorship resistant. Sphinx Chat is not a silver bullet but it moves us one step closer to genuine conversation between peers. This is the good fight to restore order from chaos.
“The position of top dog, when occupied properly, has as one of its fundamental attractions the opportunity to identify deserving individuals at or near the beginning of their professional life, and provide them with the means of productive advancement.”
The deep works listed above rise to the top through peer validation and consistent effort. It is Proof-of-Work through high quality content aimed at helping fellow Bitcoiners and newcomers level up. The internet may treat users as equals but that is not to say it is free from hierarchy. Top dogs in Bitcoin earn their reputation by being reliable, trusted sources of valuable information. The status of the Top Dog can only be earned on the internet through competency. Us plebs continuously validate our top dogs like nodes checking the validity of blocks submitted by miners. There is no one on the internet that can coerce you into following them. The same principle exists in Bitcoin. Top Dogs cannot purchase or coerce their positions. This is why there are no popular tyrants on the internet or in Bitcoin (several have tried and failed).
Top dogs are validated by the community through proof of competency: Game recognizes game. The most competent are best positioned to lift those around them who are deserving. The competent are unlikely to promote without merit as it risks damaging their hard fought reputation and position in the hierarchy. Pomp, Preston Pysh, Pierre Rochard, Stephan Livera, Marty Bent are a few Bitcoiners who act as positive templates. Plebs validate their continued quality and in return these top dog continue delivering value to the community. This is a healthy hierarchy of advancement based on legitimacy and competency. Patience my plebs, our time will come. One unique aspect of Bitcoin is its immune system: the community is willing to exile any of its top dogs who attempt to scam, tyrannize, or bullshit. That is a deeply important and misunderstood quality critical to longevity. We do not trust, we verify.
Social Institutions Are Necessary — But Insufficient
“The solutions of yesterday and today, upon which our current hierarchies depend, will not necessarily serve as solutions tomorrow. Thoughtless repetition of what sufficed in the past — or, worse, authoritarian insistence that all problems have been permanently solved — therefore means the introduction of great danger when changes in the broader world makes local change necessary.”
We’ve enjoyed an era of great prosperity and peace. This is a massive human achievement we often take for granted. Governments and institutions must be credited for sustaining an environment of orderliness capable of nurturing this success. That said, we are at a point where we all recognize the world is beginning to spin off its axis. Printing more money is the thoughtless repetition of what sufficed in the past. We are nearing its end game and require a phase shift — the narrative call for heroic action.
We all agree that life is moving too fast, common sense is unraveling, inequality is rampant, and the insane is becoming the norm. The trillions of dollars printed alleviates immediate pain but accelerates foundational disintegration. Bitcoin offers a real solution (“and meaningful solutions are hard to come by”) to this chaos. Its capacity to accurately store time and effort cannot be overlooked during this era of infinite, easy money creation. This offers humans a predictable, universally agreeable anchoring point that slows down time, reveals the truth, offers monetary equality, and restores sanity through transparency.
In our age of cynicism it is easy to write off any solution that sounds too good to be true. “But what do you know?” If you cannot come up with a better alternative that aims for the long term betterment of humanity, it may behoove you to suspend your skepticism and do-you-own-research (DYOR). Bitcoin may just be the glass half full in a world running on empty.
The Necessity of Balance
“A functional social institution … can utilize the conservative types to carefully implement processes of tried-and-true value, and the creative, liberal types to determine how what is old and out of date might be replaced by something new and more valuable. The balance between conservatism and originality might therefore be properly struck.”
Our tried-and-true institutions are gradually adopting Bitcoin. Bitcoin Treasuries tracks the list that grows by the day. This institutional adoption of Bitcoin, a creative new idea, is the balance being struck between what is conservative and out of date with something original and more valuable.
“… begin with an expansion of conscious wisdom: the articulated realization that conservatism is good (with a set of associated dangers), and that creative transformation — even of the radical sort — is also good (with a set of associated dangers)… and of being able to recognize when the balance has swung too far in one direction.”
Bitcoin is a catalyst that unites and expands our conscious wisdom. Change is coming and we are collectively negotiating how to integrate the best aspects of our institutions with radical new ideas like Bitcoin. The involvement of both parties ensures each keeps the other honest. This means calling out institutions if they attempt to co-opt or undermine Bitcoin. It also means institutions need to call out Bitcoiners who intend to raze institutions under the false premise they are the embodiment of pure malevolence offering nothing good whatsoever.
“Intelligent and cautious conservatism and careful and incisive change keep the world in order.”
This is the way.
Personality as Hierarchy — And Capacity for Transformation
“How, then, is the personality that balances respect for social institutions and, equally, creative transformation to be understood? It is not so easy to determine… For that reason, we turn to stories”
There was nothing easy about America’s independence from Great Britain — The American Revolutionary War. Yet the conflict culminated in the Declaration of Independence: democracy, religious freedom, and the separation of church and state. The words on that living document serve to honor the best components of the United Kingdom’s governance model in addition to the desirable new creative elements that make America a bold transformative act. The Bitcoin story is 12 years old and has been anything but easy. The first 10 years represented its birth and survival. These next 10 years will be its integration with and transformation of society.
“Great stories are about characters in action, and so they mirror the unconscious structures and processes that help us translate the intransigent world of facts into the sustainable, functional, reciprocal social world of values.”
It is critical to note America did not throw out the baby with the bathwater in writing the Declaration of Independence. Its transformation through integration is what makes it a great and complete story. Bitcoin’s “virgin birth” and the mysterious figure of Satoshi Nakamoto are no coincidence. Bitcoin pays homage to gold by adopting its time tested properties of value, then transforms gold by adding the ability to transport it anywhere instantly — teleportation. Bitcoin is the mythological act of alchemy. How’s that for a great story?
Do not carelessly denigrate central banks or Bitcoin.