This is an opinion editorial by Sydney Bright, a software developer with a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.
Bitcoin is not merely a medium of exchange. That is not to say that bitcoin is not money. Bitcoin is undoubtedly money. However, to think it is merely a technological innovation that transcends the archaic systems of the Federal Reserve, legacy banking, Visa, Mastercard and so on would be a profoundly-erroneous error.
Bitcoin solves a problem that, ironically, was both the catalyst for the Neolithic era and something that has plagued humanity for thousands of years: the use of our abstract minds to rely on symbolism and create greater cooperation among our species. Money is but one result of the abstract-thinking mind of the human being, which similarly gave rise to complex language and the use of symbols and storytelling. This Catch-22 is evident through a synthesis of the power projection theory outlined in “Softwar” by Jason Lowry, a member of the U.S. Space Force, and my own calm pond theory (described here). In short, these two theories highlight how the massive developmental breakthroughs achieved by our abstract minds come with their drawbacks, which have been unresolvable until the invention of Bitcoin.
The Calm Pond Theory
My calm pond theory suggests that a mind characterized by mindfulness optimizes the brain’s ability to regulate and maintain health within the body and grants an individual a more accurate interpretation of reality itself. Consider that the brain receives a deluge of neurotransmitters to comprehend the state of the body and the external world. To properly understand the incoming information and react accordingly, it constructs a model, constantly testing, refining and rectifying it to enhance the model’s accuracy, a process we experience as consciousness.
Now, envision the brain as a pond, where raindrops represent neurotransmitters, gently hitting the pond and forming ripples that serve as the key to interpreting information. When the pond is calm, these ripples are distinct and easily discernible, enabling accurate interpretation. However, the demand of our modern world imposes endless mental rumination, causing a rainstorm of neuronal activity. The numerous ripples formed in a rainstorm collide and interfere with one another, making it significantly more challenging for the brain to construct an accurate model of the world, since understanding individual ripples becomes nearly impossible.
It is likely that a state of mind akin to a calm pond is what was typical for more ancient human beings, highlighting a tremendous health concern when one considers the fact that we are building a technological society that requires most of us to be using our analytical minds constantly to maintain its structure. In other words, the mental process necessary for us to build this beautiful ivory tower is making our bodies and minds very sick.
Power Projection Theory
Before addressing how Bitcoin solves this millennia-old problem, let us first recognize the similarity between the above idea and the conclusions of power projection theory.
Our abstract minds not only gave rise to money and logical thinking but also gave us the ability to use symbolic language through storytelling. Lowery’s thesis, fully titled “Softwar: A Novel Theory Of Power Projection And The National Strategic Significance Of Bitcoin,” describes how energy and life formed by using energy (referred to as “power”) to sequester other energy (referred to as “resources”) away from the environment to be used for more personal gain.
This can be observed not only in the first prokaryotic cells that formed in the hydrothermal vents that exist in the fissures of the seafloor, but also in the way animals behave in the wild. As Lowry explains, at the cellular level, a lipid bilayer was formed on the seafloor, which projected power by creating a physical barrier that trapped resources, facilitating chemical reactions leading to a biological system. At the level of multicellular organisms, Lowry uses the illustration of wolves snarling their fangs at a would-be thief of their recently-acquired game to broadcast the information that the cost of stealing the resources would be higher than the benefit gained from the food. Here, the wolf is projecting power to keep its resources.
Following such reasoning, pack animals such as wolves must create power hierarchies within their communities so that the strongest wolf, most capable of efficient power projection, is fed and allowed to reproduce and the pack can have the most power-projection capabilities to protect their resources. To do so, wolves must physically fight among themselves. This is an unfortunate requirement, Lowry points out, as two wolves will fight until one wolf has their fangs on the jugular of another to prove superiority.
The physicality required to create power hierarchies can therefore prove dangerous and fratricidal. According to Lowry, other animals, such as deer, solve this issue with the development of antlers, which allow them to project power against other species, but leads to safe competition within their own species, as the antlers simply tangle when they butt heads with a diminished risk of fatal wounds. In this way, deer developed a biological method of managing internal power hierarchies and, therefore, internal resource management, using physical power but with a relatively-decreased risk of fratricide.
Lowry argues that humans have developed a similar method of internal organization through our abstract thinking, even though it comes with a significant cost. He puts forth the idea that, through language and storytelling, human beings developed a form of abstract power projection to organize resources without physical violence. There are many examples of this, such as the development of judicial systems in which abstract power is placed in the hands of a judge and State so they can manage resources in a peaceful manner. Of course, physical force is still used within human societies to manage resources. Yet, there is a constant effort through language and reasoning to avoid such physical violence and for us to manage our resources peacefully.
The importance of the power projection theory is made evident when one realizes that nature only understands the organization of resources through physical power. Physical energy is used to manage resource energy. Put another way: Nature does not recognize the management of resources through any other means, including abstract power projection. Therefore, human beings are stuck in a problematic cycle in which we attempt to organize our societies and resources through abstract power projection, only to have them collapse under the weight of their hollow foundation through physical power projection.
To our understandable discontent and frustration, war and revolutions are constantly occurring as nature’s only proper mechanism of organizing resources.
Managing Resources With Bitcoin
These two theories share the common theme that human beings’ use of abstract thinking gave rise to dilemmas of conflicting requirements.
In the case of the calm pond theory, to build this complex society that increases economic well-being, we are forced to use our minds in a chronically-analytical way, which deteriorates our bodies’ and minds’ ability to regulate themselves and maintain health and well-being properly.
In the case of power projection theory, to build a more peaceful society, we have used abstract thinking to construct stories of conceptual power structures that lead to a cycle of temporary peace and inevitable war because, ultimately, nature can only manage resources through physical power.
The solution to both issues: Bitcoin.
Though offering a bleak outlook on how humans must organize themselves, Lowry provides hope by highlighting how Bitcoin manages resources using physical power. In other words, it is the technological antler of human beings. It ultimately solves the frail nature of our abstract power system, making it obsolete while replacing it with a non-violent means of using physical power to manage our resources.
The solution for the calm pond theory’s conclusions are outlined in a previous article for Bitcoin Magazine, “How Bitcoin And Artificial Intelligence Will Free Your Time.” In short, the computer, of which Bitcoin is but one aspect, is a thinking machine designed to perform all of the tasks that our abstract-thinking mind can. Most notably, it can think logically and manage our money.
As we slowly build this machine and make it more and more capable of thinking for us, it will gradually alleviate our need to use our abstract minds to maintain our society personally. This will give us the freedom to pursue lives more focused on mindfulness and physical well-being. The computer, with Bitcoin, lifts the burden off of our shoulders so that our minds can be unrestricted, calm and, once again, more aligned with our true natures.
Bitcoin is more than just money; it is a revolutionary technology that solves some of humanity’s most ancient problems. With these problems being solved, humanity is entering an unprecedented time in history, potentially characterized by an unparalleled rise in societal and mental peace and harmony.
This is a guest post by Sydney Bright. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.