In one sense, this entire course has been building up an understanding of what implementing a blockchain at (inter)planetary scale could mean for humanity. Vienna Looi calls it a "world computing fabric" and you can think of it as the great gift of this time, because it is not bound by space in the same sense we are (there is one world machine, which is everywhere and nowhere).
💡 Ours is the first age in recorded history where we all record history using the same tool.
It is critical to note, however, that gifts always imply responsibility, an idea which is at odds with the way modern technologists often approach questions of scale by looking for ways to abstract themselves and the roles they play. Interplanetary scale also does not mean singular purpose: it is diversity, not technology, which is the antidote to scarcity. To return once more to Jackie Brown and Ivan Illich:
This is because the specific contours of the vernacular domain necessarily emerge from the collective activities of each political community. We must insist that no model can or should be scaled universally [... Scaling ability is an] adventure of imagining and constructing new frameworks in which individuals and communities can develop.
These new econo-linguistic networks that implement money as a fully programmable protocol, which anyone is free to use and where the cost of speaking meaningfully is well-defined everywhere do not fit well into any model we have. To reference Eric Raymond again, they are neither cathedral nor bazaar. However, as with everything else in this course, serene temples and bustling merchant tables are not separate ideas: they are two ends of the same spectrum.
Before we managed to merge the narratives around which we organize and our shared records of societal debt, Jesus had to throw the tables out the temple. However, it wasn't because the two are fundamentally incompatible. Three gospels state that his reason was that the authorities were thieving from the people. If you control the temple - i.e. the people's access to meaning - then you can use it to manipulate commercial transactions for your own benefit. It was these tables of power Jesus overturned.
When you build digital temples no-one controls, then commerce and communion need not be different. Faith and finance (and every fiction between) are a reflection of one reality. There is no separation between these activities, bar that which we create for ourselves.
This is not to promote religious zealotry in crypto: it is about recognizing that the heart of value has always been shared truths which are arrived at through narrative. The most successful narratives in history are religious myths which point at fundamental aspects of human psychology and show us the way to the kind of truth worth exploring together.
Q: A shared global computing surface which spans physical space is the _____ ____ of our time.
A: great gift.
Exploring truth together using shared tools no-one controls creates the conditions required to fuel lifelong learning, that is to scale ability across the species. Language was the first logically decentralized system and increases in literacy have always resulted in large social changes; tectonic shifts in how we relate (to) our shared myths. Scaled blockchains are the evolution of logically decentralized systems for the creation, negotiation, and transfer of value.
Speaking of language, the word "religion" comes from the Latin religio or religare meaning "that which binds one". Religion is the original bond: faith and finance are fused linguistically. The most interesting question life will continually ask of you is: "What are you bound to - incidentals, or fundamentals?"
Similarly, the meaning of dīn in Arabic is one's life-transaction. In the original Aramaic, The Lord's Prayer reads, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us." The root of the life we are given is a debt upon us. The highest response possible is to forgive others and repay your share.
For too long the means of repayment, the means of expressing our gifts in ways which are valuable and which create more value for those around us, have been owned by temple authorities. We now have the opportunity to create more consciously the times in which we live and engineer valuable stories which are not owned by one person or group; in the same way that no-one owns the meaning of words.
What will you use this technology to say?
Q: Faith and finance are not separate activities. For instance, the Latin root of the word "religion" originally meant what?