Bitcoin as technology? Bitcoin as economics? Bitcoin as philosophy? Bitcoin as politics?
“Immutable money, infinite frontier, eternal life” Balaji Srinivasan
“There’s goodwill and energy behind this movement” – understatement (https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/cryptocurrencies-a-necessary-scam)
But the lack of legitimacy of liberal democracies is real.
They love economics, the economics of ethics and the ethics of economics, they love libertarianism, they love the philosophy of money. But Bitcoin is not a philosophy, Bitcoin is not a theory, Bitcoin is a technology. How much media ecology do they know, how much history, how much history of technology ? How much Christian doctrine? How much Church history?
The kind of claims they make go the whole way back to fundamentals. What is the good life? What is the human problem? What is the political project? How throughly can the human problem be overcome in this life? The type of claim Bitcoin prophets make has unspoken assumptions about ALL these things. [Charles Taylors 4 questions]
Bitcoin is a technology, technologies are means, technologies should never be ends. All the talk about banks, banks are just the current manifestation of The Market which may or may not be a manifestation of The Techium. Liberalism, capitalism, science, democracy, technium.. what is bitcoins stance on all these?
His summary goes like this:
Technology + Prophet → Revolution → Reactionaries → Centuries of bloodshed → New Status quo → New Societal Structure
This comes from the ‘Crypto Rennaissance’ subworld; Crypto as a force for cultural flourishing. But the causality of every one of those clauses is challengeable. And.. you know, does Nakamoto have ANYTHING to offer in terms of the bloodshed? When do bankers heads starts getting chopped off? Will they be Jewish bankers?
The change will be ecological (like all tech changes) no one knows what the outcomes will be, but the one thing you can know is that they will *not* be net positive.
All that I seem to hear is economics, ECONOMICS, economics is not ultimately that important, it’s not histories key casual factor, like maybe that’s a surprise to people to find out that they’re all a bunch of materialist marxist:
“It is equally fallacious to regard it [the unknown casual factor in history] as a possible alternative to any or all of these— ‘the class-war, of moral law, of climate, of the caprices and physiological peculiarities of those in power, of economic struggle, of race, of pure reason making judicious choice of the pleasurable, of blind animal instinct”
Bitcoin as a religion, Bitcoin as a god.
To go into a religious key, Mammon is a god, I will happily nod along to critiques of any god who is not Christ, but bitcoin is surely just Mammon’s latest incarnation? Defi is as knee deep in usury as any other fiscal system. These dudes literally have 🔥“Recruiting an army to slay Moloch” 🗡👹 as their twitter bio. Fight Moloch with Moloch. “”And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Bitcoin ≠ Jesus
More on Bitcoin as a god – links to how it seems to sell itself as an agape replacement – people will no longer need to trust or love each other – Bitcoin as Sanctification
“Ethereum is identity freedom” RoninImperial
These people talk of bitcoin like a technological messiah, how big a misnomer is that?
What is its gospel? what is its sin? what is its eschaton? what are its sacraments? who are its church?
There is explicit articulation of the economic as pre-ethical: “Fiat systems (read: Mammon) warps our perception of the world”. Implicit in that claim is that Bitcoin is independent of mammon. The systems and inherent proclivities of decentralised currency redeem people !
Jesus, the Christian gospel, is THE solution to the political/human problem, ego-dissolution and agape among other things. Any and all technologies, including bitcoin, who don’t come under its yoke will inherently serve a different gospel.
Quotes from Christianity and Classical Culture (Cochrane) written about the birth of the roman gods, but it is equally as accurate for capital-B Bitcoin—secular gods are always born the same way:
to identify virtue with economic or political utility was to undermine its very foundations.. like the more popular forms of secular ideology they represent nothing but the consecration of selfishness
Accordingly, for the Christians, the antithesis is not between ‘benevolence’ and ‘power’; it is rather between the love of power and the power of love.. what it prescribes is adhaerere Deo, adhesion to God, the source of truth, beauty, and goodness, the supreme reality, as the one fundamental principle for individual regeneration and for social reformation, the point of departure for a fresh experiment in human relationships, on the acceptance of which rests the only real hope of fulfilling the promise of secular life
“The one fundamental principle for social reformation” cannot be bitcoin, it is Christ. But even then it is helpful for all to see that this is Bitcoins telos, at least to its boosters.
Christ not Bitcoin is the point of departure for a fresh experiment in human relationships
It is acceptance of Christ and not Bitcoin which is the only real hope of fulfilling the promises of community life.
Try these on for size, with Bitcoin switched out for Christ:
to accept the promise [of Bitcoin] as valid is to recognize the possibility of a fresh integration of human life in terms of which the manifold forms of secular heresy may at last be overcome
This integration is possible because its basis [Bitcoin] is a good which, unlike the goods of secularism, is common, comprehensive, inexhaustible, in no wise susceptible of expropriation or monopolization… nothing less indeed than God Himself [necessary direct equation here]
A technological fix for the Fall.. good luck with that.
Bitcoin is the holy grail, the philosophers stone, the solution to all our woes, and it’ll end up being pandoras box.
On that note, what is the Internet if not Babel revisited?
It’s very possible it truly is a paradigm shift in financial deregulation, and will usher in a new anarcho-casino-capitalism world where every fourteen year old kid can launch a fly-by-night Ponzi scheme and pump it on social media all from the comfort and anonymity of their parent’s basement. A hustlers’ paradise with a 24/7 non-stop casino built on a Cambrian explosion of slot machines, with each machine grown out of a different facet of human culture whose likeness has been co-opted to seduce you into gambling more. It’s the apotheosis of capitalism where the market now provides a financial token game for every meme, every celebrity, every political movement, and every bit of art and culture—with each tribe competing against each other in a war of all against all for the hyperfinancialization of all human existence. Is that the world we want to live in?
Web3 is that technical manifestation of this empty grasping for a messianic solution that’s going to solve all our problems. It’s entirely rational to want to build a more decentralized technology stack and to aspire to a more egalitarian internet, a more equitable society, and a better world. However web3 is not the golden path that leads us to that world, it’s the same old crypto bullshit just packaged up in a sugar pill to make it easier to digest.
ok new draft thesis
Inscribed in the code of Bitcoin is the following phrase, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” Both crypto and the anti-monopoly movement are reactions to the destruction wrought by neoliberalism.
the alienation caused by late-stage secular capitalistic materialist western culture is SO bad that a TECHNOLOGY and its consequences can provide enough of the mirage of meaning to feel (at least on the medium term) salvific by comparison
satan (mammon) dressing up as an angel of light etc. claiming to undo the damage of the entire techno-market: excarnated rootless culturally-levelled nihilism
the techno-market matrix which PRODUCED bitcoin, you can’t just pluck it as an immaculately conceived historical fruit which will redeem the tree it grew from!! like nakomoto is some techno-Mary (who brings forth a new and pure messiah to solve humanities problems)
**UPDATE this was written before Saifedean Ammous appeared on a JP. podcast with the title: The Immaculate Conception: Bitcoin vs Fiat Standard 🤷🏼**
unlesssss as i’ve said bitcoin has ancient and profound historical precedent, we’re talking the ideas of decentralisation being implicit in the Trinity or the Buddha or Genesis or something
and even then you’d have to account for it in the christian apocalypse (were is it? is there even a precedent for a redemptive technological tool – hint: there’s not) and in relation the the church, the city of God, the true tool of redemption for human community, what has it to do with bitcoin? there doesn’t seem to be ANY reciprocity between the church’s life, sacraments and symbolism and the technology of bitcoin
40 seconds in to describing money.. ‘scarcity is the key trait’..’people always want more money… yeah, that’s just the way it is, people aren’t going to stop wanting right?”. Want is the problem. Christ the answer to wanting. if we’re accepting that off the bat it’s just same old same old sinful world order rehashed with hash keys
“it’s not like you’re gonna reach a certain amount of apples and be satisfied with apples”
“it’s not like people are gonna stop wanting more money” uhhhh welcome to christianity ?
it’s not really solving any of our races problems then is it?
something else i want to note, the current theory of technology which i most subscribe to is that ‘technology happens’, human creativity comes up with tools and solutions because it just because it CAN, because it’s godlike, the consequences of those technologies on culture and society are completely unpredictable but IN RETROSPECT because of the value and pervasiveness and importance of the new tech for the new world it created, philosophy and theory and art justify and explain the technology
it just seems that process is happening at light speed for bitcoin, probably due to the cultural desolation i talked about, but in no sense does it seem that bitcoin is going to ‘get us off the ride’ or solve the eternally significant problems etc
ok the decentralised market (conceived on the metaphor of a computer) is god for these guys
*is the human market a computer? that doesn’t seem certain to me, it’s irresistible to call it that but a human is not a computer so the system created by 8 billion of them can’t be either*
like the economic is the political, bitcoin is a form of societal governance
there’s just so much here
it assumes a global market which erases cultural distinctions of being in the world (value hierarchies) because the decentralised market is something which is itself imposed on all people’s, it melts all distinctions of place and people and culture and tradition and value, because it erases space and relative value — ALL must be plugged into the (bitcoin) decentralised ‘market’
the very idea of valuing in opportunity cost to all moments of human consciousness is perverse, a human does not exist to create economic value, they’re putting the chicken before the egg. or rather re reading economics back into every corner of human being 🤢
the (colloquial, corrupt, inefficient but *human*) government is the only thing powerful enough left in human society which can check and censor and disrupt the machine (whether it actually ever does or not is up for debate)
Bitcoin is just an ultron upgrade
the machine has had enough of human means and actors, let the electrons reign !
who the hell ever went to war for purely economic reasons?!
maybe that’s the kernel here
human value /=/ economic value
THATs the key assumption underlining their entire worldview
that everything can (and should) be converted into a quantifiable and transactable quantity of value
the most important things in human life CANNOT be converted, there is no conversion, love, courage, sacrifice, hope, faith, devotion, patience, beauty, peace and the things which bestow them will never go on chain
they will forever resist digital transaction and the consequences it seems is that we’ll leave those things behind heading off into our brave new world
other angle.. Jesus is not decentralised, the authority of christian metaphysics (and hence of true reality) is centralised on one man, one God, one event etc. so decentralisation at a fundamental level is anti-human?
unless like jesus will be revealed to be decentralised as we progress spiritually (is the holy spirit the democratic agent of the I AM?)
“so you guys.. you really do see it as a replacement for centralised government” JP
lol you can hear the penny dropping as he says that
limitations – things are defined by their limitations –
metaphysics – things arrive out of the void, limitation allows separation and then we order then, emergent value hierarchies
internal measuring stick is our own limitations – time and energy
money – quest to find something that mimics our limitations
bitcoin – mimicking human work with technology – excarnate vs gold (itself a product of the earth – incarnate)
porous boundary, amplifying process of viewing ourselves and our value as machine values
the free market is essential a distributed computer system – human consciousness and societal production – cognitive power of the free market – we are not a computer
“when natural law is violated” – imposition of fiat currency, replacement of free market.
if money is speech, fiat currency is compelled speech
fiat currency = pyramid scheme, enriches top
inflation = satan
i mean that like literally
it’s the distributed factor in human society perverting true human being
it’s Babel !
“if our communication is pristine, perfect, if we are all able to communicate with perfection our value hierarchies to the market we will see emergent order”
perfect communication = a divine human society
^ that’s the big claim “we will see emergent order”
he keeps talking about a ‘matrix’ of hierarchies but Bitcoin levels all to ONE hierarchy, Bitcoin
“Why have we allowed this to happen?”
Technology! the answer is this is not and never was possible without god-like digital technologies. but bitcoin might be divine in it’s perfection.. *humans* are not (yet) .. and you know what humans do to gods when they pay us a visit …
“how things have become disordered”
but by their beliefs society (how human value is expressed) has ALWAYS been disordered, there has never been a time when centralised ‘pollution’ of value transfer was not happening – their version of original sin
they do seem blind to media ecology, the history of technology
they also seem to want to argue at two levels: the history of human politics but also for specifically once we came off gold standard. which equates to bitcoin-as-replacement-government and bitcoin-as-replacement-gold
the problem with the second timeline (coming off fiat as a catastrophic societal event).. how do you integrate that with the legacy of WWII, the industrial revolution, globalisation, the internet, the big century-scale trends. what is cause and what is effect
Jordan coming through with the tech critique angle on 2008 !! 🥳
im just living texting this cause there’s no other way to get all the ideas down and texting it *to* you makes me clarify my thoughts in a different way
so a technological innovation- which causes an ecological change – *broke* the free market and who had to rescue society? the big bad central governement
which is embedded in which, economic in politic or politics in economics. yesss jordan
the market as an emergent CONSCIOUSNESS
ohhh now that’s a hot idea
“bitcoin is the regenerative hero”, he literally just said bitcoin is jesus 🙄 like straight out
maybe our money *should* mirror jesus ? like what could be better than that ?
ha now jp is hypothesising austrian economics and bitcoin are a means to *prevent* babel “administrative overload leading to catastrophe”
“map and territory”
it “decentralises times”.. Jesus does that !
i dont think we can assume sustainable human life and the market are compatible. i don’t think we have any grounds for that
even assuming the market is not a malevolent force but the best human consciousness can do for determining value.. why assume a free market won’t kill the planet ?
Bitcoin as the flawless medium for the exchange of a collective consciousness
that’s what they’re claiming at the end here
Bitcoin as the Holy Spirit
it, coupled with a globalised free market, is a frictionless feedback loop of outsourced valuation
so whatever the emergent values that market deemed as the most valuable.. what would those things be? can we predict that now? would they be *the same* as what special revelation says they are
bitcoin as bible, pure information
a system that no one can stop, a system that we can’t stop
“a technology which sanctifies the sovereignty of every individual” – you have to be part of the machine
action, thought, speech – bible moral development across time – money, is tech layer, nature extension of speech and action as a mode of self-sovereign expression
bitcoin is free speech
no way to have decentralised money without technology. was money ever a commons?
Christianity and Classical Culture / Charles Norris Cochrane
Neil Postman – Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change
Bitcoin: The Future of Money? | Bitcoiner Book Club | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast – S4: E:40