In this edition, you'll learn about:
- Necessary Questions
- The Financialization of Social Theory
- Human Forever with James Poulos
- How the Roman Empire Became Software
- Urbit Takeoff is Here
Upcoming Events and News
I’ll be in New York City from Thursday, May 19 to Monday, May 23. There will be one open/public Other Life meetup, but I haven't set the time or place yet, so keep your calendar open. I'll share details here asap. I’m also open to giving talks, doing your podcast, doing your LSD, etc. Hit reply and let me know.
The second cohort of IndieThinkers starts this Monday. We run a 6-week group program for working or aspiring writers, philosophers, scientists, artists, and engineers interested in building a long-term intellectual life on the internet. If you're interested, we can fit one or two more into this cohort, but I'm officially closing enrollment tomorrow (Saturday). If you request an invitation at IndieThinkers.org today I will fast-track it.
The scientific method has trained us to only ask those questions for which we know we will find answers.
Yet there exist many questions we must ask, for which we’ve never been able to find fully correct answers.
For instance, nobody can tell you who you really are.
Answering this question yourself seems hopelessly circular and unreliable, yet you are the only person who can answer it.
To live at all is to answer it in some fashion, whether one wishes to or not.
We are too ready to accept everybody else’s solutions to existential questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask necessary questions just because there may not be satisfactory answers.
Human Forever with James Poulos
First video podcast in the new studio here in Austin! I'll spruce it up as we go, but I'm already pleased with the basic DIY vibe.
James Poulos is a Tocqueville scholar who wrote The Art of Being Free (2017) and Human Forever (2021). He was a co-founder of The American Mind and his latest project is a magazine called Return.life.
We discuss humanism and post-humanism, the merging of Big Tech and Woke Capital into an atheist cyborg theocracy, why James rejects accelerationism, the importance of human memory, Bitcoin, Urbit, and much more.
Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast player.
The Financialization of Social Theory
Social theory is now financialized via crypto culture.
For instance, what is an NFT, exactly? It's still unclear, empirically. But if you claim to truly understand psychology, society, and technology, then certainly you should have a thesis about what exactly NFTs are. And with an increasing number of vehicles and derivatives in the crypto economy, it's now possible to wager on virtually any theory of NFTs.
Which means we're going to find out quickly who among academic theorists are the real deal.
Intelligent navigation of the ascendant crypto culture is now the index of any social theorist's comprehension.
Anyone today who claims to be a social theorist who does not become at least marginally richer through crypto will likely exit the meme pool entirely.
Why would any future generation even consider reading someone who could not navigate this watershed favorably, where the movement of wealth is so tremendous, the opportunities for contest so numerous, and the returns to truth so high?
Crypto culture is applied social theory—nothing more, nothing less.
The Imperceptible Country
Highlights from the Other Life community this weekBecome a citizen
Urbit Takeoff is Here. "At the beginning of 2021, there were 8,565 activated planets (users) on the network. By February 6 of this year there were still only about 11,911 activated planets.
In the last two months, Urbit grew to 23,363 activated planets, doubling all planets ever activated before then. Urbit is now adding about 5,726 planets per month, a monthly growth rate of about 48%.
If growth continues near this rate over 2022, we should see somewhere around 1M to 2M activated planets by this time next year."
By ~hatryx-lastud in the city. You can read the whole article here and reply in the Imperceptible Review notebook of the Other Life group.
The Roman Empire Did Not Fall, It Became Software. "If the hardware of the Empire has disappeared, its memic image has definitively survived. What if the choice of Christianism, by the very last Roman emperor Constantin, was designed as a virus to upload the Empire into some sort of memetic entity?...
What if the plan was not about saving the gerontocratic Western Empire, but to perform the exact Coup de Poker run by the Romans 1800 years ago: giving up the private keys of the Empire to the cyber barbarians? The energy to keep the hardware part of the Empire afloat was not here anymore, but the Software part eventually ensured its survival."
By ~witwep-pagwyn in the city. Read and reply in the Open Group Blog at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/b-3929/170141184505585453759350939429288017920
Introducing the Imperceptible Syndicate. "This week I launched a private syndicate DAO for investing in Urbit-adjacent token projects. Milady is just one example, there will certainly be more; so I'm launching this syndicate now, to be ready for future token projects that bubble up from the new internet underground.
The syndicate uses the Syndicate.io tool for maintaining a web3 cap table."
By ~hatryx-lastud in the city. Read and reply in the Urbit group at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/b-3929/170141184505599761225707800979864289280
Part-time crypto office job in Austin. I know someone looking to hire a recent college grad, in Austin, to help with different tasks around the office. It’s a crypto-focused business and you’ll be working in the same office space as my new podcast studio. Pay is $20-$25/hour; about 2 days/week (could change). Hit reply if you might be a good fit.
Don't Lose It
"Fame is something which must be won; honor is something which must not be lost." —Schopenhauer