#002: Democracy | Balaji Srinivasan | Vacant Land | Memetics & Memetic Warfare | etc...
The best way I can make sense of the world is to share my findings along the way. There won't be much rhyme or reason to the order in which I share various PDFs and articles, but enjoy!
Everyone says that nothing makes sense “these days”—I think I disagree. To be honest, I think many realities have forced people into this sense of longing for a time that didn’t exist—specifically within the United States. “People just don’t know how to behave anymore…everyone’s lost the respect we once had for one another.” Did we though? Or were we just lead to believe that these “good ole days” were good for everyone? It seems like the very core of our institutions—on a global level—is shifting. Do I mean that the “people in power” will not have power or give away their “power?’ No. They’re shifting operations internally and branding externally. That’s quite the simplifcation, I realize. What if things never made “sense?” Have we made sense of anything? Is that something you can measure and quantify and track and bet on (or against)—what are “things?”
Anyways…one more tihng because I just finished reading it for the fourth time—
Before you look into anything else below—make sure you check out Raul Diego’s recent work — “Building the Impact Finance Regime: Nigeria’s Road to Cyber-Colonialism” on Silicon Icarus.
Links/PDFs/Ideas Below. Listed in no specific order or group/association. My DMs are open if you ever want to send me an idea—always appreciate getting interesting information from people—good and bad.
Between 2010 and Q3 2019, the national average for land sales prices has increased by more than 3X, from $100,000 to about $350,000.
Over the last 10 years, average land sales prices in Q4 of each year have trended slightly higher
Purchase volumes range from $75,000 and $1M for agricultural land
By understanding the behavior of buyers and sellers while projecting future movements, trends, and people patterns, purchasing vacant land as an asset class is key for stabililty.
“Attacking an ideology is among the most difficult assaults known to conventional warfare practitioners. Ideologies are based on transcendant ideas and are inherently complex military problems. Ideologies are at a miniumum, very different to eradicate kinetically, highly dynamic, garner support for often undetectable reasons, contain both intangible and tangible attributes, generates visceral enmity, compel noncombatants to take up arms, influence strategic, operational and tactical relationships and in the simplest form present a dauting challenge for most conventioally trained military forces.
Tomorrow’s US military must approach warfighting with an alternative mindset that is prepared to leverage all elements oIAf national power to influnece the ideological spheres of future enemies by engaging them with alternative mindset that is prepared to leverage all elements of national power to influence the ideological spheres.
Despite our ideological differences, Balaji is one of the most interesting people I’ve discovered the last year. Never heard anyone explain concepts that normally require hours of research in 1-2 sentences that make sense in laymans terms.
A network state is a highly aligned online community with a capacity for collective action that crowdfunds territory around the world and eventually gains diplomatic recognition from pre-exisiting states.
More or less, what I’ve gathered is that we need to live in a parrallel fashion to how people immediately think of “lands” when they think of “nation-states,” therefore, “the network state system starts wtih the 7+ billion people of the world [compare that to nation state’s relationship to land], and attracts each mind to one or more networks.”
Ready to get more confused? A lot of “internet phenomena” that “share some but not all of the properties of a network state. For example, neither Bitcoin nor Facebook nor a DAO is a network state, because each lacks certain qualities - like diplomatic recognition - which are the core to anything we’d think of as the next version of the nation-state.”
How to do it:
Found a startup society. This is simply an online community with aspirations of something greater. Anyone can found one, just like anyone can found a company or cryptocurrency. And the founder’s legitimacy comes from whether people opt to follow them.
Organize it into a group capable of ocllective action. Given a sufficiently dedicated online community, the next step is to organize it into a network union. Unlike a social network, a network union has a purpose: it coordinates its members for their mutual benefit. And unlike a traditional unon, a network union is not set up solely in opposition to a particular corporation, so it can take a variety of different collective actions. Unionization is a key step because it turns an otherwise ineffective online community into a group of people working together for a common cause.
Build trust offline and a cryptoeconomy online. Begin holding in-person meetups in the physical world, of increasing scale and duration, while
Crowdfund physical nodes. Once sufficient trust has been built and funds have been accumulated, start crowdfunding apartments, houses, and even towns to bring digital citizens into the physical world within real co-living communties. Getting metaverse vibes. Are we just buying up digital space and real estate to convert that over back to physical real estate? Is this how your digital twin will be acting at the same time but then also not at the same time as you/
Digitally connect physical communities —link phyiscal nodes together into a network archipelago. A set of digitally connected physical territories distributed around the world. Nodes of the network archipelago range from one-person apartments to in-person communities. Physical access is granted by holding Web3 cryptopassport, and mixed reality is used to seamlessly link the online and offline worlds.
Conduct an on-chain census. As the soicety scales, crypto audit
Gain diplomatic recognition—a startup society with sufficient scale shoul eventually be able to negotiate a deal.
The sequel to the nation state? The Network State.
Let’s move beyond “historical constraints,” Balaji says. Just like we want (so he says) to own a bare plot of land—the demand for a clean slate once again exists with The Network State.
How to Start a New Country (Conventional vs. Unconventional)
Seasteading — conceived by Patri Friedman & Peter Thiel. “Seasteading essentially starts with the observation that cruise ships exist, and askes whether we could move from a few weeks on the water at a time to semi-permanent habitation in international waters (with frequent docking, of course).
Network States: “Rather than starting a physical territory, we start with the digital community. We create a startup society, organize it into a network union, crowdfund the physical nodes of a netwrok archipelago, and—in the fullness of time—eventually negotiate for diplomatic recognition to become a true network state. How? “We build the embryonic state as an open-source project, we organize our internal economy around remote work, we cultivate in-person levels of civility, we simulate architecture in VR, and we create art and literature that reflects our values.
I’ve had enough of Balaji for the day, but I’ll clip some more from his newest book. You can find it here.
I actually came across this book while I was looking over yet another app I downloaded in hopes of catching up on some reading without having to actually purchase the phyiscal book. I’m not really a science/physics person—I admittedly was more concerned about what boy I’d be sitting next to in my high school physics class versus paying attention…so I’m not an expert over here. Having said that, why not look at these concepts of time and the mystery woven within that one thing that keeps us all “on track” (well, most of us)—that’s time.
The book comprises an introduction, “Perhaps Time is the Greatest Mystery",” along with three other parts: “The Crumbling of Time, The World Without Time, and The Sources of Time". Honestly, the intro to this book is what caught my attention:
Wonder is the source of our desire for knowledge and the discovery that time is not what we thought it was opens up a thousand questions. The nature of time has been at the center of my life’s work in theoretical physics. In the following pages, I give an account of what we have understood about time and the paths that are being followed in our search to understand it better, as well as an account of what we have yet to understand and what it seems to me that we are just beginning to understand.
Did I miss a memo about time? What do we actually “understand” wthin “common knowledge” about time?
Understanding time—”it is like holding a snowflake in your hands: gradually, as you study it, it melts between your fingers and vanishes. We conventionally think of time as something simple and fundamental that flows uniformly and independently from everything else, from the past to the future, measured by clocks and watches.”
No—but seriously. Is this common knowledge and one of those things I just never learned?
Again—I’m sure I would’ve learned this in high school physics. Apparently, Einstein knew this about time—”Einstein understood that time does not pass uniformly everywhere before the development of clocks accurate enough to measure the differnet speeds at which it passes. In the course of making such strides, we learn that things that seemed to be self-evident to us were really no more than prejudices.”
I’m noticing a theme here—literally all of our institutions, down to the very concept of time, are up for grabs in terms of who defines time—what does time even mean? Does it mean the same things for all of us? Laugh if you’d like at my lackluster—and I mean lackluster understanding of the concept of time within the realm of Albert Einstein, but I’d highly suggest checking out this book at some point. I’m only halfway through, but we’ve essentially determined, so far, that time moves slower in some plaes and faster in others, apparently? Isn’t that all perception?
Everyone says that nothing makes sense anymore—I think I disagree. To be honest, I think many realities have forced people into this sense of longing for a time that didn’t exist—specifically within the United States. “People just don’t know how to behave anymore…everyone’s lost the respect we once had for one another.” Did we though? Or were we just lead to believe that these “good ole days” were good for everyone? It seems like the very core of our institutions—on a global level—is shifting. Do I mean that the “people in power” will not have power or give away their “power?’ No. They’re shifting operations internally and branding externally. That’s quite the simplifcation, but don’t be fooled by next season’s big marketing campaigns for literally any product or asset class.
“It all began with a regicide. On January 16, 1793, the National Convention in Paris sentenced Louis XVI (or, Citizen Lazare Carnot) to death. Rebellion is perhaps among the deepest roots of science: the refusal to accept the present order of things. Among those who took the fatal decision was a friend of Robspierre called Lazare Carnot. Carnot had a passion for the great Persian poet Saadi Shirazi. Captured and enslaved at Acre by the Crusaders, Shirazi is the author of those luminous verses that now stand at the entrance of the United Nations:
All of the sons of Adam are part of one single body, They are of the same essence. When time afflicts us with pain in one part of the body all the other parts feel it too. If you fail to feel the pain of others you do not deserve the name of man.
Perhaps poetry is another of science’s deepest roots: the capacity to see beyond the visible. Carnot n/ames his first son after Sadi. Sadi Carnot is thus born out of poetry and rebellion.”
Why does any of this matter? Not really sure yet — let’s keep going. “As a young man, he [Sadi] develops a passion for those steam engines that at the start of the nineteenth century are beginning to transform the world by using fire to make things turn. In 1824, he writes a pamphlet with the alluring title, “Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire,” in which he seeks to understand the theoretical basis of the functioning of these machines…it contains a key idea: that steam enginges function, in the final analysis, because the heat passes from hot to cold.” Once Sadi’s essay/pamphlet landed in his Prussion professor’s hands—the professor, Rudolf Clausius, understands the fundamental issue at stake—formulating a new law.”
“The crucual point here is the difference between what happens with falling bodies: a ball may fall, but it can also come back up, by rebounding, for instance. Heat cannot.
This is the only basic law of physics that distinguishes the past from the future.
Apparently, this is the “only equation of fundamental physics that knows any difference between past and future. The only one that speaks of the flowing of time. Behind this unusual equation, an entire world lies hidden.
I feel like CERN is doing something with these concepts as well-just a sidenote.
I’m remembering why I didn’t really enjoy Physics in high school—losing focus on this as well — but it’s just a clip! Go ahead and check out the full PDF of the book here. here.