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Signs 89: Exiles in This World

5 min

"People who feel themselves to be exiles in this world are mightily inclined to believe themselves citizens of another." —Santayana

The California coast in Pescadero (Imperceptible Mansion, November 4-6, 2022). Photograph by the author.
Welcome to Signs of Life, a periodic roundup letter from Other Life, the coolest newsletter in the world. If someone sent you this, subscribe for yourself here.

In this issue:

What's up everybody? We just got back from the Imperceptible Mansion #3, held in a beautiful house on the California coast. It was great to detox and IRLmax with more than 25 members of the community. Thanks to everyone who came, and especially Marissa Cade (who ran all the logistics, and allowed me, for the first time, to experience this unique event as a regular guest). This year's meeting updated my perspective a lot, especially around the real and concrete value of IRL meetings and digital detox for original thinking and creative work.

Code, Content, and Capital: Building a Network State on Urbit

​Last month we discussed the significance of programmable money coming to Urbit. This month I'd like to develop a more general framework for thinking about Code, Content, and Capital on Urbit. This open Zoom call is for crypto developers, creators, and capital allocators interested in what we're doing. There will be ample time for questions and discussion, next steps, etc.

Zoom. Free. November 28. RSVP for Code, Content, and Capital here.

Paper Belt on Fire: Book Launch Party in Austin and the Imperceptible.Country are hosting a party/salon for the publication of Paper Belt on Fire by Michael Gibson. We'll be joined by the author, co-creator of the Thiel Fellowship and co-founder of 1517 Fund. Michael has been a reader of the newsletter and a presence in my wider community for a few years now. And the book is cool, so apropos of nothing I decided to throw this...

I haven't done anything too big in Austin since I moved here 2 years ago. It's about time to flex on the collapsing pedo-rationalist world order: This salon will be a "who’s who" of the wholesome cypherpunk underground burgeoning in Austin right now—a little coming out party for Other Life going all in on Austin and Urbit, it will probably be pretty big (but chill, families welcome, etc).

This event will be free; I might just have a cash bar to recoup for the venue!

In Austin. November 30. RSVP here.

Speedrunning Faust

The streamer Amouranth makes about $1.5M/month, but she is a shut-in with no friends. She has no family around her, and an aversion to people in general. She seems to have no interior life; her house and everyday routines are a vast emptiness, even by her own account; she describes her own life as depressing. Shedding a tear, she explains that on most days she feels robotic.

She is a Horse Girl and Dog Mom. Her only goals and dreams are to have more horses and dogs. She is rich and autonomous, but it's as if she took a path she did not fully understand—a path that nobody can understand at its beginning.

It is a path that opens one big door, which is money, but closes a great number of other doors that would otherwise open through the course of a flourishing life.

Facts mentioned here come from this 30-minute Vice documentary I watched on Youtube recently: Making $1.5M/month on OnlyFans and Twitch: Amouranth.

Setting aside any ethical judgment about the nature of Amouranth's work, the most striking aspect of Amouranth's life is how transparently and admittedly stunted and impoverished it is.

She says herself that, before horses, nothing in life gave her pleasure. She likes horses because they don't ask for creepy perverted actions from her. Even with all the money in the world, merely finding a horse expert that does not look down upon her was difficult, she explains. The documentary makes it seem like this is all quite normal or reasonable—just the challenges of being a unique, passionate, and hardworking artist or something.

It is true that the Troubled Genius archetype is reclusive, outcast by society, and possessed by a sometimes torturous calling. But portraying Amouranth’s life in this frame is patently implausible: She doesn’t even claim to be creating or searching for anything meaningful or significant. This is what makes her case study so interesting to me.

This young woman accidentally fell into a unique opportunity to make a lot of money, quickly, for simple work, which means nothing whatsoever to her. This is not to say her work is easy, for clearly it devours her time, energy, and potential eudaimonia.

At the age of 28 years old, Amouranth seems to have speedrun the Faust myth, but in reality, for all to see.

The Good Metaverse

Episode 9 of The Network Age (Firebreak My Heart) is one of the best single podcasts encapsulating the Urbit Maximalist perspective. Produced by some of the Uqbar guys, The Network Age is the only new podcast of which I've listened to every episode. It's honest about the current limitations of Urbit but paints an excellent picture of Urbit's inevitable telos. I'm biased because I've been working with the Uqbar crew, but then again, I'm only working with them because these guys get it.

Episode 9 of The Network Age ("Firebreak My Heart")

The Imperceptible Country Is Now the Best Urbit Onramp in the World

I've given out hundreds of Urbit ships to readers of Other Life in the past several months, but many people have been snagged by technical difficulties.

All of that is over.

I've been building a new onramp to Urbit for the Other Life community, and it's now live.

Thanks to a new and improved checkout process engineered by Tirrel, anyone can now get their own Urbit planet with professional hosting in just a few clicks. That means a fully-powered personal server, in the cloud, accessible from all of your devices, pretty much instantly—no fuss, all the technical stuff is done for you in the background. Tirrel will also give you technical support if you need it.

This is a low-key game changer for giving writers and creators true digital sovereignty without any technical annoyance.

Urbit planets bought from come pre-installed with the few Urbit apps I use the most.

I expect that, gradually, the entire Other Life community will come to live on Urbit.

Lech, Austria
"The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are rather the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the 'easy life of the gods' would be a lifeless life. —Hannah Arendt


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