Mason Mohon |@mohonofficial
The Bitcoin naysayers live their life in glee these days, happy that cryptocurrency is finally dead! Well, dead again. Clearly, if something can die multiple times, its death carries far less weight. Cryptocurrency, along with Bitcoin, is in a continuous cycle of death and resurrection. In the short term, this makes it a scary investment. In the long term, though, Bitcoin has a lot of potential and is likely to become a part of the dominant social order. It will do this along with its underlying technology: blockchain.
This is because Satoshi Nakamoto is a nomad. This isn’t the type of nomad that piled his belongings onto yaks thousands of years ago to travel across Siberia and never settle down. This is a different type of command. It is the Deleuzian nomad. Deleuze defines the nomad:
The nomad has a territory; he follows customary paths, he goes from one point to another, he is not ignorant of points (water points, dwelling points, assembly points, etc.). But the question is what in nomad life is a principle and what is only a consequence. To begin with, although the points determine paths, they are strictly subordinated to the paths they determine, the reverse happens with the sedentary. The water point is reached only in order to be left behind; every point is a relay and exists only as a relay. A path is always between two points, but the in-between has taken on all the consistency and enjoys both an autonomy and a direction of its own. The life of the nomad is the intermezzo.
That makes a whole lot of sense, I know. Deleuze is clearly the easiest writer in the world to understand. So let’s decode this easy writing and see how it can fit within my frame of anarchist ideology.
The definition site cited above clarifies:
“Nomadism” is a way of life that exists outside of the organizational “State.” The nomadic way of life is characterized by movement across space which exists in sharp contrast to the rigid and static boundaries of the State.
The Nomad is an individual that lives outside of the context of the state, and through what Deleuze and Guattari call the “war machine,” they create their own technologies. As they explain in their Treatise on Nomadology:
It would seem that a whole nomad science develops eccentrically, one that is very different from the royal or imperial sciences. Furthermore, this nomad science is continually “barred,” inhibited or banned by the demands and conditions of State science. Archimedes, vanquished by the Roman State, becomes a symbol.
Now one may be able to see why I call Satoshi a nomad. He engaged in nomad science and developed a technology completely independent from the state. But calling him a nomad has very little utility unless we begin to understand the implications of what it means to be a nomad.
Innovation Without Government
The state (or royal) science cannot create. It can only appropriate what it desires from nomad science. Of course, the state apparatus as we see it today is capable of creating. They were responsible for the creation of the internet and the atomic bomb. But these were still ideas that the status quo outlook did not accept at the times of their inception.
Joseph Licklider was one of the first to create the idea for a personal computer. Although he did it within the academy, his ideas were only later appropriated by the state (post-conception) and implemented into the first iteration of the internet: ARPANET. Licklider developed “an online ‘thinking center’ that would ‘incorporate the functions of present-day libraries.’ He foresaw ‘a network of such centers, connected to one another by wide-band communications lines and to individual users by leased-wire services.’” His idea began outside of the state sciences.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web, was also a nomad. Most saw his ideas as dreamy and unrealistic at first glance, yet we all use his product today. It has achieved full integration into society and we can barely imagine surviving without it.
Deleuze and Guatarri mention other nomads in their book. They continue:
Truly, what man of the State has not dreamed of that paltry impossible thing—to be a thinker. But noology is confronted by counterthoughts, which are violent in their acts and discontinuous in their appearances, and whose existence is mobile in history. These are the acts of a “private thinker,” as opposed to the public professor: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, or even Shestov. Wherever they dwell, it is the steppe or the desert. They destroy images.
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, two of history’s most prominent existentialists, were not at all in the status quo of thought. Nietzsche barely received any recognition in his life. His ideas were so wrong and outlandish to everyone around him that nobody bothered actually looking at what he had to say until after his death. Kierkegaard hid under pseudonyms in his writings. He was also an established critic of the modern church institution, although he was a Christian himself. These men were out of their time, but now they are both hallmarks of philosophy. Their thought made leaps and bounds forward in the human grapple with existence.
Satoshi is quite similar to all of these examples. The sociocultural hegemon widely rejects his creation, Bitcoin. Many see it as wrong and unthinkable when compared to the way our monetary lives work today. But this is why Bitcoin is going to sneak in. It is so outside that it would be unimaginable for it to not end up on the inside. Blockchain and Bitcoin have much to offer, and the dam of society can only hold them back so long.
The concrete is cracking, and what seeps in is power.
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