Bitcoin is a social foundation for the truth

Truth, goodness, beauty. The ancient Greeks identified these three transcendental virtues as the necessary basis for individual fulfillment and broader societal flourishing. They also believed that all humans have innate abilities that correspond to each of these values. Logos (reason) enables access to truth, ethos (morality) to the good and pathos (emotion) to beauty.

I think each of us resonates most strongly with one of these three virtues. Some people are naturally inclined to seek truth, others seek goodness, and still others seek beauty. You can think of the archetypal scientist, servant, and artist, with each of us made up of an unequal mix of the three. While these three virtues are all critical to the prosperity of life, there is a natural order between the three. Understanding the dependencies that this ordering implies can aid in properly structuring successful human organizations.

The natural order begins with truth, flows into good, and finally comes into effect in beauty. Mahatma Gandhi said it well when he said, “Truth is the first thing one looks for, and then beauty and goodness are added to you.” If this is true, then the best and most beautiful societies are primarily on the foundation of truth built up. The stronger the foundation, the more grandiose and beautiful the result

. Since societies are basically a continuous and constantly evolving exchange of values ​​between interdependent entities, the medium of this exchange is the basis. All actions, all complexity result from the properties of this medium of exchange. Bitcoin’s rules-based system lays perhaps the strongest foundation imaginable, and therefore its success for life on earth is paramount to making its next big leap forward.

Life is mysterious and wondrous, but also recognizable and rational in many ways. While the origins of life remain unknown, it is clear that life unfolds and multiplies according to a series of immutable universal physical laws. That is, life itself is after the truth. The periodic table, the laws of gravity, thermodynamics, and magnetism all form a stable and predictable matrix on which complexity builds itself. Without these fundamental truths, nothing as complex as an amoeba could exist, let alone arise from scratch. Fortunately, however, amoebas evolved and so did humans. The universe is a richer place for this.

Life is good! If you have a soul or even an imagination, you probably agree that the universe would be tragically boring if there weren’t any life. So there is something indescribably right and deeply good about maintaining and caring for life in all of its innumerable forms. Not all actions, however, help sustain life, and those who do not often lack goodness apart from the truth. Bad actions undermine the ever increasing complexity of life and reduce things to simpler states. War is a prime example of this and is based on the falsehood that every action does NOT have an equal and opposite reaction. It is implicit in the logic of war that the victors can enjoy a richer and more fruitful existence by forcibly stealing the life and livelihood of other people. While this may be true for some individuals for a period of time, it neglects the fact that each individual is part of a larger whole that includes all life, even its innumerable offspring. The net effect of the war is therefore a greater impoverishment of life on earth and thus contrary to the interests of all parties. Peace, on the other hand, is good because it recognizes the true unity of all life. With peace comes trust and trade, specialization, increasing complexity and the flourishing of civilization. So good deeds rooted in the truth lead to prosperity, which is another kind of beauty. This applies at all levels, from the molecular level to the cellular level to global human civilization. Truth leads to goodness that produces beauty.

So the goal of living in a better, more beautiful world is to anchor yourself as firmly as possible in the truth, to tap into this deep, true flow of life. Life is good. Go with the flow. Simple. Complete. However, the reality is chaotic and confusing. There are many intersecting currents, most of which are man-made and ephemeral, but the current of Truth is deeper and omnipotent. Mystics and sages throughout history have found and tapped it. Breaking through the noise to find that current and maintain the conviction that you can stay connected despite the opposing forces requires unusual courage and strength. Unfortunately, the great masses of people have often been too preoccupied with basic needs to attain that human fulfillment, and thus truth-based societies have proven to be rare, fragile, and short. So could it be that the ubiquitous ugliness of today’s culture, the failure of greatness, the acceptance of trash as art, and the anchoring of the victim role as a virtue stem from our collective detachment from the truth? I think so. The fiat money paradigm in which we exist today deeply pollutes communication and value transfer between all economic agents and depends on ignorance to persist. It’s a house of cards built on lies. Bitcoin fixes this.

Bitcoin is like a universal API for the truth. It provides a standardized, global, unstoppable portal for access to the truth, and that portal is open to everyone in the world. While some might say it’s just a glorified spreadsheet, it fails to understand the profound implications of a global dynamic consensus. I say dynamic because a simple, static, global consensus doesn’t actually have much value. We all agree that the sky is blue, but that’s not particularly useful, let alone the foundation for building a thriving civilization. It doesn’t help unleash the latent human potential.

The magic of Bitcoin is that a new global consensus is reached every 10 minutes and anyone who joins the network can literally contribute to any change in consensus. In addition, every person can peacefully maintain part of this consensus through HODLing and only has to give up this control by consent. It is more than just property rights, it is the right to transfer those rights to anyone else in the world. It’s worth thinking about it for a moment. It’s like granting every person in the world the ability to implant a thought into another person’s mind every 10 minutes. While the analogy is far from perfect, it points to the tremendous increase in individual agency that Bitcoin ushers in. Universal transferable property rights that no one can mess with are a big deal because they allow everyone to intervene and use their talents in fruitful endeavors. This is true because these persons now have the inalienable right to receive the fair wages of their work. But it also tears down walls by opening an economic link between every single person. A fully connected population of 8 billion people would mean roughly 32 trillion connections. The network effect of this is just as appalling as the remaining growth potential. If you assume that 100 million people currently own Bitcoin, then the journey to 8 billion participants would mean that the current number of possible economic connections would multiply by 6,400 times.

I therefore argue, like many others, that when society migrates to a Bitcoin standard, an emerging order will prevail, based on truth and embodying the good. The result will be a multiplication of beauty and, ultimately, an explosion of human prosperity. However, this does not simply happen. It requires that we act and our actions be rooted in the truth and thus facilitate its dissemination.

Because of this, I started a project called the Bitcoin Tree Forum, the aim of which is to experiment with new forms of civic organization related to Bitcoin. The Bitcoin Tree Forum aims to encourage behavior with low time preference and therefore focuses on directing human action and value to projects with a long time horizon and beautiful results. Operating a public knot and planting a grove of long-lived trees like giant sequoias are the first and most accessible steps towards this worthy goal. In my next piece I will introduce the concept in more detail. I’ll be the first to admit that this concept is ambitious, experimental, and vaguely quixotic, but nonetheless, I hope that 1000 years from now, people will consider Bitcoin Tree forums to be one of the many examples of Bitcoin’s beautifying effect on society .


In earlier centuries, societies used religion as a shared portal to truth and thus as a way to mobilize human capital. While the claims of some religions can now be argued to be correct, religion was nonetheless a common idea with common truths that shared many different individuals. This had an invigorating and enriching effect on society, but was prone to dissolving as scientific advances undermined the claim and thus the attractiveness of some religions. This process has been going on for over 100 years and has contributed enormously to the fragmentation of society. This is not to say that religion is bad or unworthy of persecution; But on the contrary. In its most sincere expression, religious organization can bring out the best of humanity and connect individuals to the deepest truth. I believe thriving religious communities are necessary for a healthy society. The diverse, globally networked world in which we live today, however, precludes a single religion from assuming the role of the global social anchor of truth. Without this anchor, humanity cannot reach its full potential. Bitcoin is not a religion. But because of its universality, neutrality, and transparent objectivity, it is an idea that can replace and even promote some of the social benefits that religion traditionally serves. This is a guest post by Fangorn. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

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