Rule IX: If Bad Investments Still Upset You, Write Them Down Carefully And Completely
A REIMAGINATION OF “BEYOND ORDER” BY JORDAN PETERSON THROUGH THE LENS OF BITCOIN.
This writing mirrors the exact chronological structure of Beyond Order offering reflection through a Bitcoin lens. This is chapter 8 of 12. If you read the book it adds a second dimension. All quotes credited to Jordan Peterson. All reflections inspired by Satoshi Nakamoto.
But Is Yesterday Finished With You?
“Learn from the past. Or repeat its horrors, in imagination, endlessly.”
Americans are notoriously bad at history. As Norm Chomsky hinted, America suffers countrywide amnesia. We forget our atrocities almost as soon as we commit them. The challenge with fiat currency is that the lessons are dispensed over decades, if not centuries. In 2020 we witnessed the Lebanese lira implode inflating by 56% in a month. Dig back a hundred years to the Weimar Republic (modern-day Germany) where their currency became worthless in two years. Rome, one of the most studied historical empires, was also undone by the temptation of currency debasement.
America is especially vulnerable because many of us lack an appreciation of history. The moral of monetary debasement is a 100% mortality rate. The citizens of those societies did not have the benefit of opting into bitcoin, but I am willing to bet if it was available it would have been feverishly popular. Currencies are diving headlong into a concrete pool like three blind mice saying, “so and so did it so why can’t I?” Learn from history, to avoid repeating the horrors of fiat currency.
“If you do not know what roads you have traversed, it is difficult to calculate where you are.”
Bitcoin’s hard-cap supply is 21 million. The entire blockchain’s history can be viewed from a full node. More fascinating is the precise knowledge of bitcoin’s inflation rate over the next hundred years. This historical and forward-looking clarity is insanely useful for everyone to make economic calculations — especially in a world navigating through immense turbulence.
In the 1500s Geneva was the epicenter of Swiss watchmaking. Its metronomic accuracy and dependability set the highest standard that lives on in reputation to this day. It’s hard to show up for a meeting when you don’t know what time it is. Money should have the same steady heartbeat found in a swiss watch. Bitcoin is to money in the 2000s what Geneva was to watches in the 1500s.
“We must recollect ourselves or suffer in direct proportion to our ignorance and avoidance.”
We’ve kicked the can down the road since 2008’s Great Recession. A reckoning is coming. We have always complained about the debt but people have had no tools for recourse at our disposal until now. Our government has exhausted all of its tools for a true recovery, focusing on maintaining inflation in a technologically-driven deflationary world. Our government is simply out of touch with the reality that technology is changing everything. What our leaders brand “recovery” is simply the waning stages of a shipwreck with all hands on deck pretending to prevent capsize. Jeff Booth details our predicament in his book “The Price of Tomorrow”.
“But the body knows what the mind does not yet grasp. And it remembers. And it demands that understanding be established. And there is simply no escaping that demand.”
Americans will have a harder time with this new reality because this is our first time confronting the fact our country is bankrupt on multiple dimensions. Getting pushed out of the nest of comfort into the realm of the unknown is fragmenting America. We act in desperation playing a zero-sum game forgetting that a positive-sum game is what took America to the top.
Your instincts tell you that we are deep in a bad place. There’s too much information for your mind to make sense of it. But we are entering a massive paradigm shift. There is no escaping these long-term cycles. Luckily, Peter McCormack’s interview with Brandon Quittem, titled “Bitcoin is Fourth Turning Money,” helps us make sense of these huge macrocycles to better prepare ourselves for the road ahead.
Do Not Fall Into The Same Pit Twice
“The memories my client brought into my office had remained unchanged for decades. The memories she walked out with were markedly altered. Which, then, were real?”
Secretary treasuries and Federal Reserve chairs have all repeated the same act for decades: increase debt, ignore and avoid debt repayment, and tell everyone that everything’s going to be okay. We were told they needed to print more money for economic recovery, for foreign invasions, and to fight the war on drugs. But life on Main Street U.S.A. was good in the ’80s, the ’90s, and the 2000s, so we all went along with it. Today we look back on our actions in 2003, 2008, and 2020 with horror. Our actions put us in a financial straightjacket. Yet here we are repeating the same cycle again, in part because our government does not have an alternate strategy.
Like every drug story gone south, it felt great then and it feels terrible now. The more we delay the inevitable the worse this all gets. When will we stop repeating the same mistakes with our money? When will we come to terms with what is real? The most real aspect of fiat currencies is their primary role in digging ourselves into insurmountable debt. It is baffling how fiat currency caused such self-inflicting wounds yet so many continue begging for more.
Possessed By Ghosts
“Schizophrenics lose the ability to monitor themselves effectively…”
Schizophrenia is the breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior. Inability to find healthy integration causes a schizophrenic individual to seem out of touch with reality. Similarly, society is struggling to properly integrate technology, money, and humanity. We are all out of balance. To make matters worse all three change fluidly and rapidly.
Bitcoin maximalists know it’s not about the U.S. dollar price because the U.S. dollar is a moving target. It’s about how much bitcoin you own, because that denominator is absolute. If you sell apples and the government prints $10 trillion new dollars and then the price of an apple increases, what changed? The dollar or the apple?
The dollar denominator changes fluidly because no one knows how many dollars exist or will be printed tomorrow. In a world exhibiting increasingly schizophrenic behavior, bitcoin’s predictable supply curve is the sanity check. When you measure life in bitcoin, everything around you gets more affordable. It is technological money that saves humanity from fiat insanity. I’d prefer a less schizophrenic world, and bitcoin may just offer the integration that leads to sanity.
“His face had hardened… They no longer had the habitual look of deer caught in the headlights. They looked like people from whom decisions emanated, rather than people to whom things merely happened.”
Bitcoin is hard money and the community is biased toward taking action because that’s the demand of responsibility. Bitcoin maximalists tend not to sit around waiting to see what others do. Fiat currency happens to you because you play the reactive role of the innocent bystander. Bitcoin is an open system encouraging active participation. It’s a major difference.
“He now understood and admitted enough of the potential dangers that surrounded him to make his way in reasonable safety through the world.”
Before bothering with Bitcoin you need to understand how the dollar works. The only understanding you can possibly arrive at is that your society is now a 100-story house of cards, the mother of all Ponzi schemes. Once you recognize the danger your life is steeped you will freeze, fight, or flee. Most people freeze and play possum hoping their daddy will fix everything. Bitcoin is both a fight and flight to reasonable safety from an unsustainable system.
“He made what he now knew part of his personality — part of the map that would guide him henceforth in his actions — and freed himself from the ghosts that possessed him.”
Bitcoin is a community made up of strong-willed, independent, free-thinking individuals. And a small, strong group of individuals under constant threat can thrive when each member possesses willpower and competency individually. This is possible because we do not suffer the tragedy of commons. Strength comes when you “call bs” within your community. We don’t need blind yes-men. There is no bottom to the Bitcoin rabbit hole so there is no expectation to know everything. There is united energy in pushing to grow our personal map to free us from being possessed by rules we did not vote on.
“I had another client, a young man who was terribly bullied in his first year of vocational college. When he first came to see me, he could barely talk, and was taking a high dose of antipsychotic medication.”
America has become a country of overly-medicated lost souls looking for the next pill to miraculously solve problems. Ironic how the systems that generate products based on infinite growth suffer cancerous outcomes. Society peer pressures us to keep up with the Joneses and when everyone is playing a materialistic game of “everything you can do I can do better” we all become insecure. But we are addicted to the next fiat solution to dig us out of our shame. Fiat currency has systematically given Americans Stockholm Syndrome. And we all keep falling for it. Bitcoin is the only known vehicle offering citizens around the world the ability to snap free of fiat’s spell without leaving their country.
“… he had the right to defend himself… He realized that he had taken far too much insult at school without reaching out for help… He could have confronted his tormentor directly…”
The latest report shows 17% (46 million) Americans hold bitcoin. These are certainly encouraging signs. Yet that also means the majority of Americans are yet to confront their tormentor directly. It’s telling that legendary investor Stan Druckenmiller is one of the 1%, yet even the 1% are publicly sharing the truth.
“We walked through his life, developing a particularly detailed account of everything he had suffered at the hands of his tormentor. He became sophisticated enough to articulate some initial understanding of her motivations.”
If you are not able to articulate the problem with national currency then you have no reason to own bitcoin. If you develop a detailed account of what inflation has done to your net worth you may be open to exploring new ideas for the sake of your own survival. Start by understanding fiat currency. Here’s insight from Stan Druckenmiller.
Potential Into Actuality
“We literally make the world what it is, from the many things we perceive it to be.”
Do yourself a favor and listen to Robert Breedlove’s “Saylor Series.” It is a crash course on the history of engineering and energy networks. Understanding from first principles makes you impervious to FUD. Energy is prosperity. This weak talk about Bitcoin being an ecological disaster is literally fiat in nature: a juicy clickbait headline with no substance or proof. Michael Saylor easily disarms this FUD with reality.
“Not only do our choices play a determining role in transforming the multiplicity of the future into the actuality of the present, but — more specifically — the ethics of our choices play that role.”
Critics love calling Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme full of whales waiting to dump their bags on greater fools rushing in to make fast money. The irony is that the sheer number of HODLers goes to prove the exact opposite. Maximialists understand that only the Bitcoin tourists get washed out with each dump. It all boils down to time preference and those with high time preference lose in Bitcoin. There is something that goes beyond price. It speaks to honest, ethical money. That is why it is so hard to shake. Bitcoin is playing the central role in restoring ethics and honesty to money.
The Word As Savior
“… we are so captivated by people who can tell a story… and who get to the point… the moral of the story… Such information is irresistible to us all.”
The story of money is as old as time. It’s often said that money makes people do immoral acts. I believe it depends on the quality of the money. Desperate short-sighted money makes desperate people. Money carries a dirty connotation because most people alive today are living in a monetary experiment and have never tasted sound money. It takes a creative open mind to imagine the positive opportunities that sound money offers humanity. A good story is what people want but Bitcoin tells a story incomprehensible by people tainted with fiat brain.
“The Word — the tool God uses to transform the depths of potential — is truthful speech.”
Terence McKenna said, “The world is made of language.” Bitcoin is language, speech. And it is designed with one purpose: to inscribe an immutable truth to its scroll every 10 minutes. Bitcoin is a tool that transforms the depths of money’s potential.
If Bad Investments Still Upset You, Write Them Down Carefully And Completely
This is a guest post by Nelson Chen. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.