Bitcoin as a divine idea
Bitcoin as divine
Bitcoin is divine. And with all that is divine, we humans form religions that try to understand and worship the divine, especially because of the difficulty of fully understanding it.
There is an abundant literature that describes Bitcoin as a living organism (Gigi, Quittem). These insights reveal that Bitcoin “grows, reproduces, inherits and transmits traits, uses energy to maintain a stable internal structure, is cellular in nature, and responds to the various environments in which it lives.”. ” Far from being a simple tool or a technology, Bitcoin emerges as a living being that lives in symbiosis with us. We mine the Bitcoin network for more bitcoin and it feeds us bitcoin – the carrot on the stick.
Human natural history teaches us that when we come into symbiosis with other creatures, we soon come to revere them as divine. the functionalist school of anthropology would view worship as not irrational, but as an evolutionary and socially meaningful action that helps establish a positive relationship between us and what we depend on and may find it difficult to understand.
As bitcoin restructures economies, politics, geopolitics, and the rest of our social order, it is highly likely that it will also change our beliefs, rituals, and even what we worship.
First of all, what is the divine?
: of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God or a god
: to be a deity
Over millennia of religious practice and devotion, humans have found the divine in many places. The ancient Egyptians worshiped beetles, to “distribute fertilizer more evenly across the plains and eliminate a food supply for flies,” and cats, for their elegance and ability to kill unwanted guests who might carry parasites. Hindus have over 18 million gods; the ancient Romans and Greeks had thousands of them. And of course, gold was never just a decorative ornament, but was considered the very substance of God.
The history of our gods is deeply linked to the type of societies and the worlds in which we live. In purely agricultural societies, it is the cycles of nature that largely determine our lives, and therefore, we revere them. As larger civilizations arose, emperors needed to structure the lives and beliefs of their citizens around the state – hence the emergence of monotheistic religious beliefs like Mithraism, Judaism and Christianity. Mithraism, in particular, was interesting, as he viewed the Emperor as God incarnate in order to create a strict hierarchy through his military echelons.
Establishing a deity is how we humans relate to, recognize the importance and our dependence on “others”, whether they are the natural world, others. creators, state, or something else. In a way, the functional school of anthropology will say, “Tell me who you worship and I can explain your company.” And that lens is powerful.
Who do we worship today?
In our modern secular society, we tend to easily reject the divine and the religious. We like to think that we have overcome these irrational beliefs and rituals. But do we really have it? Jordan Peterson would probably say no: we have a “religious instinct” which is really, really hard to overcome, and that beliefs and religions can arise in many different forms, and where we least expect them.
Anthropologist Mary Douglas does a great job of unpacking a secular area of our lives where religious priests still rule: eeconomic.
“We may appear to live in a predominantly secular society, but nonetheless we have a large and rich priesthood, many of whose members hold positions of power – power in politics, in business, in education and especially in banking… However, the nature of the church has changed. I myself have been selected for this priesthood, whose doctrines and rituals are taught not in seminaries, madrasas or rabbinical schools, but in particular in elite universities, and especially in Oxford. (Mary Douglas in a BBC interview).
Douglas describes the beliefs that this class of priests is supposed to absorb into the church economy: “theories and models” like the “indifference curve”, which are based on assumptions that each individual has similar preferences and acts rationally. And priests are constantly brought to the news to pronounce their divinations in the form of statistics and “prognoses of our collective destiny”. The economic theology professed by the priesthood rests on the belief that economic growth is paramount and that for GDP to continue to grow, consumption must be optimized, and therefore some inflation is “natural.” Meanwhile, things like the 2008 crisis are happening.
Douglas calls them “false prophets”. False prophets of a false god of money. A fiat currency that they control and through which they control our beliefs.
See bitcoin as divine
If Bitcoin becomes the monetary network our society becomes increasingly dependent on, could it become a deity we worship? Absolutely, according to the functionalist school of anthropology. It would spontaneously generate a sort of divination. And this divination would represent a “recognition” of importance, inculcated in the culture, reproduced through the tradition.
So let’s take a look at some of the qualities that lead to Bitcoin being attributed to a god-like being.
- The spirit of Bitcoin is a code: the transcendent. It spreads its unchanging and reliable truth.
- Bitcoin’s body is energy consumed by proof of work: imminent. Energy is matter, after all.
- Creation and immaculate conception of Bitcoin: Satoshi, the prophet of Bitcoin, never spent his coins, maybe burned them and thus sacrificed himself for us.
What does Bitcoin want?
So if Bitcoin is divine, what type of deity is it? We can determine this based on what he wants and what his characteristics are. Bitcoin feeds on energy but does not “demand” anything from us. On the contrary, he only accepts the energy given to him.
- Bitcoin is neutral:
- He treats humans the same, every life has equal weight.
- This gives us humans the choice to transact as we wish, regardless of the purpose of that transaction.
- Like the Christian God, he enables us to take and deal with moral responsibility for our actions.
- Bitcoin is fair:
- The fully open source Bitcoin origin story with public disclosure of the start of mining, no pre-mining, six months of no market value, and taps giving bitcoin.
- People closest to the source or those with large amounts of bitcoin do not have an unfair advantage in generating more bitcoin through the Cantillon effect.
- Future generations centuries away are not “forced” to maintain the current fixed cap, but may wish to change it depending on their situation by consensus. It helps us appreciate Bitcoin as a global monetary government in itself.
- Bitcoin is constant:
- Like nature, Bitcoin grows and evolves, but its basic genetic code remains intact and unchanging.
- Billionaires, governments and institutions have tried to change Bitcoin and have consistently failed.
- Humans view the immutable as a solid rock on which to build their lives.
- Bitcoin is kind to its followers and brutal to its opponents:
Distinguish between the divine and the religious.
Since we established that Bitcoin has divine qualities, it is also easy to envision the emergence of religions around it.
Obviously, religions are a means of mediating and contextualizing the relationship with the divine. And as history shows us, religions can become quite adamant about being the “real” religions. Religions are social institutions around the divine. While on the one hand, they can help us draw closer to the divine, they can also hinder us and keep us blind on the path.
It is easy to imagine how Bitcoin maximalism becomes (or already is) a religion as described by Gigi. But this discussion can be for another post.
Whatever you think of the social phenomena of maximalism, it is important to remember the distinction between the religious and the Divine. That Bitcoin is a divine entity in itself, an entity with which we are and will engage in a deep and lasting symbiosis.
This is a guest article by Michele Morucci. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.