God is dead, long live bitcoin. This is to be the bedrock of new myths because that is exactly what Bitcoin is – a myth.
Friedrich Nietzsche is a German philosopher who is credited with popularizing the phrase “God Died” in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The idea originated in his earlier work, “Homosexual Science”.
Critics have misunderstood Nietzsche’s meaning. He intended to show that the post-Renaissance age of reason requires humanity to break the shackles of monotheistic theology, which is used to justify a universal set of morals that are wholly constrained.
“What he points to is what he believes to be a historical fact – European society is no longer as dependent on religion as it once was.” — Dale Wilkerson, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and author of “Nietzsche and the Greeks”
Nietzsche’s movement against organized religion and its universal set of morals requires the creation of a new set of values, one capable of achieving the status of “übermensch” or “overman”.
Nietzsche’s idea of the super person is the recognition that our prior value systems limit our capacity for knowledge preventing us from achieving intellectual growth. Therefore, a new set of values must take their place in order to bring about the Overman, the next step in human evolution.
“All beings hitherto have created something beyond them; and do you want to be descended from this great flood and return to beasts rather than conquer man? What is ape to man? A laughingstock or painful embarrassment. And man must be fair to the leader: laughter or embarrassment. Painful…” – Nietzsche, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”
This article seeks to explore a new myth that would allow humanity to become above man. First, we look at the deviation from modern religious beliefs.
Giving up eternal life
Nietzsche is often referred to as the “Great Destroyer” because he used to attack things he vehemently opposed, such as morality and Christianity. This characterization leads many to believe that Nietzsche is simply attacking without offering positive change. I would argue that this was not the case, and Nietzsche gave us a glimpse of the way forward.
As an atheist, Nietzsche wasn’t really dead of the monotheistic god he was considering, because he didn’t believe in the existence of God at the time of writing. Instead, Nietzsche’s contempt refers to Christianity’s need for what Nietzsche refers to as “otherworldly” desires. These other worldly desires cruelly require a life beyond our own that robs us of our ability to enjoy the life we are currently experiencing.
“A new pride that I myself taught, and this I teach men: no longer bury one’s head in the sands of heavenly things, but carry it freely, one’s head down, creating meaning for the earth.” – Nietzsche, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”
The need to have a life beyond that we know is what Nietzsche opposed, yet he seems to recognize that humanity has been pushed forward by religion and he is calling for a new belief system that does the same. This progress is made possible because a universal ethic imposes shared values on transcending time and space. But what if one does not agree with this universality?
While Nietzsche strongly suggests that we give up the need for other worldly desires, we also face the responsibility of replacing those values and the way they are conveyed with something capable of universality and not incompatible with individual experience.
Therefore, we must create more system. In order to create more order, we must become more. In order to become more, the leader must conquer the human.
“I’ll let you know the guard. A person is something that must be overcome. What did you do to overcome it? – Nietzsche, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”
to conquer the man
Nietzsche believed that religion, and Christianity in particular, was a disgusting manifestation of authority and called it an “immortal flaw of the human race”, in part due to the restrictive nature of the subjective moral standards imposed by religion.
The opposition to religion can be easily understood when one realizes that the moral standard dictated by humanity is inexplicably intertwined with the basic desires of its author. The association between the author and the moral standard shows that it is required to accept the premise that the author was acting in good faith and serving the needs of the many rather than the few.
This universal moral standard requires the author to act against himself, serving neither selfish need nor pleasure. Hence, the reliance on the well-meaning human nature and the subjectivity inherent in experience must be overcome in a way that not only prevents bad faith but eliminates the possibility of its occurrence entirely. Therefore, it must remove the new order that leads to the transcendence of the human self and serves the needs of human nature.
Bitcoin removes the subjective human experience.
Worldwide, Bitcoin collects data from all network participants and finalizes a block of transactions to be resolved (mined) approximately every 10 minutes by algorithmically forcing the vast majority of users to agree to the current consensus state. This process is known as Proof of Work and requires spending resources such as electricity to mine Bitcoin.
The power requirement emerges as many people around the world are vying for consensus and trying to solve the block, earning the block reward (Bitcoin). Competition in the mining process is the driver of energy use.
The expenditure of energy is required to maintain a decentralized network by forcing the actual output of the participants in the network. If consensus is not distributed globally through energy expenditure as in Bitcoin, then authority is required to reach consensus. Through this process, the power is removed.
The removal of power is the removal of human subjectivity. The absence of authority is shown by putting consensus in the hands of the majority of algorithms, which means that no single entity can increase the amount of bitcoin that exists. No single entity can force a change to the protocol or its consensus rules. Removing power removes humanity.
To put it differently, the removal of self-power is the subjugation of man. It may seem that this attack on power affects only the world of finance, but the separation of money and the state is to take away the greatest instrument of oppression from the tyrant. Bitcoin not only removes power from finance, it is a stepping stone to removing oppression.
Now, we must hand Bitcoin back to human nature.
Nietzsche took an interesting perspective on the idea of human nature, or rather the lack of it.
“Let us be wary of saying that there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: no one commands, no one obeys, no one transgresses. When you know that there is no scheme, you also know that there is no opportunity: for it is only where there is a world By design, the word “opportunity” has a meaning. – Nietzsche, “The Gay Science”.
Sharing a perspective of nature with Nietzsche, one might say that evidence of nature is all around us, but our sublimation of nature shows man-made associations that do not really exist. The only goal built into the natural understanding of existence is necessity.
Hence, if nature does not deliver us the laws associated with being human beings outside of one’s necessities, then everything else connected to human nature is nothing more than hedonism, or the will for pleasure. Simply put, in human nature there is only necessity, and all else is pleasure.
Therefore, in order to encapsulate the misconception of human nature, Bitcoin must serve both necessity and fun. The necessities of nature for the maintenance of human life are generally known: food, water, air and shelter.
An important difference to note at this point is that Bitcoin doesn’t need this He is One of the necessities. need to serve All the necessities. Bitcoin serve Necessity by enabling trade to fulfill the necessities of human life, but it is only more than that.
As society has attached itself to the continuity of the global economy, crises such as war and disease have created an opportunity for the authorities in control of the economy to generate more wealth for themselves, devaluing the wealth of the vast majority of economic participants. Bitcoin not only allows commerce and commerce to continue, but it counters the ability of a central authority to devalue the wealth of others.
Without control of the vast majority of Bitcoin, no single entity can exercise control over its monetary policy. Simply put, decentralization means that monetary policy cannot be changed which ensures that wealth does not deteriorate as in our current system.
This not only means that Bitcoin serves the basic necessities of humanity as we discussed earlier, but it also empowers our pleasure desires by providing wealth generation for all participants through a limited supply of monetary units which is likely to create a deflationary environment.
As the demand for and adoption of bitcoin grows, the steady issuance of bitcoins allows for stable growth, if one assumes that any growth rate of adoption over time leads to an overheating of the currency. If such adoption occurs, bitcoin will eventually become the monetary unit of account, which means that the disproportionate gains from early adoption will diminish over a long period of time.
However, in an environment that lacks the uneven gains offered by early adoption, pleasure values will continue to be offered by preventing the devaluation of wealth over time. It will leave consumers with more capital to experience the open market at a higher level because the central authority will not reduce the value of their wealth.
Bitcoin’s steeper adoption curve also means larger amounts of large-scale on-chain transactions. This means that the fees charged by miners can continue to increase. Adoption supports the continued growth of the ecosystem by providing a way to accumulate more wealth over time for miners as more people demand Bitcoin, which provides fun value.
One could also argue that the expenditure of energy is the activity of pleasure. This means that the power-releasing endorphins cause a great deal of euphoria. Likewise, setting small goals as a daily activity allows one to experience a frequent release of serotonin. The combination of the act of exerting energy, achieving a goal, and generating wealth to engage in bitcoin mining or accumulating almost creates a symbiotic relationship with necessity and fun.
Systems come and go. Monetary systems are no different. As Nietzsche states that the age of reason in the post-Renaissance world calls for the abolition of religion in order to elevate humanity to its next form, we must also recognize our own age of reason as it relates not only to the world of money, but power.
Faith in the US dollar and its demands as a global reserve currency is waning. Paper currency no longer holds value in a reprehensible inflationary environment where the only solution to economic anxiety is to create more currency.
Economics was already a soft science, that is, an observed change cannot actually be achieved in the world of finance. Financial analysts may claim the reason for this madness, and certainly one cannot argue with the trends within the system. However, neither currency nor trade is essential to the basic elements of human life.
The world of money is a game we all agreed to play. Natural forces do not exist in the financial world. We will not find chemical imbalances in the bond market nor the biological makeup of the stock.
The rules have been set from the start, and there is absolutely nothing that says these rules can never be changed again.
The debt of centrally planned economies that benefit from small power is dead. The debt of power necessary to achieve quality of life is dead.
In the death of fiat currency and unnecessary power, we are bound by more responsibilities than that. Myths arose of mythic proportions charting the next step in humanity to advance what it means to exist and enabled a system that transcends humanity. Bitcoin is not the ultimate answer to everything. Bitcoin is only the beginning of the legend.
This is a guest post by Sean Amick. The opinions expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.