By Danver Chandler
"A child's first thief and first lie are pivotal in the history of the intellect, then for with them the child is not just in the world of significance, fantasy, fabulation, and fiction; she is in the world as an independent creator, setting out to make meaning on her own terms, not subject to the prohibitions that protect her." - Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes this World
Blockchain technology, unveiled to the world by the intelligent disruptor and cryptically-named Satoshi Nakamoto, ushered in the groundwork for innovative change in ways that appear to align with religion, the long-held seat of power and competitor of the nation-state. Against the backdrop of nascent technology and religious narratives, Nakamoto enters as the reminder of human essence - of our capacity to create. And while blockchain technology now carves away at power too, the question arises - what new faith are we creating?
Thieves and Liars Bring Evolutions
The book, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen disturbed me the first time I read it. It traces the darker parts of history in the United States, revealing the grotesque details of survival wrapped within America's tragic past. And in coming to know what had been omitted, what had been stolen from earlier learnings, I set out to right it - to know the history more intimately.
I focused on becoming a history teacher, and along the way I became fond of anthropology. There are debates that often arise on the subject - that humanity has so far evolved that the study of anthropology - and using it as a mark for humanity's trajectory, is unsound. I differ.
There is wisdom in our origins. It frames the very essence of what it means to be homo sapiens sapiens - doubly wise human. Over time we created the mechanics of survival. Then we created the mechanics to thrive. But along the way - along the nasty wars, senseless brutality, and power struggles, our creative abilities were exploited, hidden, and forgotten.
this sacred trickster is who makes us versatile...
Anthropological studies highlight the role of the trickster archetype who throws up mischief in our lives. In our stories we meet these characters such as Br'er rabbit, the fox, coyote, Loki, and others. And what Lewis Hyde points to in his book, Trickster Makes this World, is that this sacred trickster is who makes us versatile, ever-wiser, heightening our intelligence by crossing boundaries - leading us to then question and to eventually do the same. We are then led to ask ourselves: What structures and systems in our lives need to be reexamined? Where are we? And where are we headed? This powerful liar and thief somehow brings us into a fuller understanding that leads us to create change.
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Tricky Dick Changes the Boundaries
In 1950 Richard Nixon lied about Helen Douglas - going so far as to falsely link her to communism with pink colored leaflets and vocal epithets. For this Nixon was named Tricky Dick.
"She’s pink right down to her underwear.” - Richard Nixon
Douglas, later named The Pink Lady, and Nixon, fought for the California senate seat in 1950. Nixon won, and roughly twenty years after, he became the 37th president of the United States, where he was perfectly seated to drive his trickster hungers and lusts for political power by any means necessary.
What ensues next under Nixon's economic policy is not unlike the trickster myth of Loki and Balder - everyone promises to protect Balder, but Loki finds the loophole in the liminal space between heaven and earth. In Nixon's case, he makes faux promises, and hunts for several loopholes.
If we rewind the clock a little further to July 1944, we may remember that the United States' dollar was chosen as the world's reserve currency under the Bretton Woods system - the system that aimed to bring stability to the global economy after World War II. The system was a clear approach for exchange and agreed upon by more than forty nations. It established the US dollar was backed by gold, nations could trade their currency for US dollars, and then trade those dollars for gold.
But during the 1960s the USA was funding missions to the moon and war, including Nixon's efforts to escalate the war even at the cost of civilian lives. So, by 1971 America appeared to be spending more in dollars than it had in gold and suspicions in America's capacity to uphold the global economy, as promised, were on the rise.
Tricksters don't play by the rules.
What was Tricky Dick to do? Tricksters don't play by the rules. They find loopholes. America's loophole? Executive Orders. The unchecked directive has the same weight of law and it instantly dropped the gold-backing to the U.S. dollar. The result? With Executive Order 11615, Nixon launched the demise of financial stability as the world knew it. The world was left in shock. Humanity was left to the mercy of nation-states' behavior as they awakened to the fact that their currency was no longer tethered to gold.
To counter the trickster, one must become a trickster.
To counter the trickster, one must become a trickster. After nearly forty years since Nixon's actions, the counter to the trickster appeared on the scene. With new wisdom and new tools to overcome the damage created, Satoshi Nakamoto arrived as the illuminated and heroic trickster - the intelligent disrupter, who aimed to right global instability.
Enter Satoshi Nakamoto, Intelligent Disruptor
There are speculations about the origins of Satoshi Nakamoto. Female. U.S. Intelligence. A group of secretive collaborators who want to right the world. The name of this character, along with the Halloween release of the whitepaper text are all enveloped in the mysterious. Yet what has managed to emerge is still very much human, and it possesses a reverence for achieving something greater, together through decentralization, rather than through the selfish means of the pure trickster. Before we circle back to tricksters and creating, there are a few parts of Nakamoto's enigmatic entrance that are worthy of sifting: name, Holiday, season.
Name. Satoshi, a name of Japanese origins means born from the ashes and Nakamoto means center or inside. In name alone, we are immediately drawn to the awareness of cycles: death-life-death, whereby Nakamoto enters as life in the time of death (Halloween). Additionally, it was Japan's surrender in 1945 that marked the end of World War II and ultimately, the start of the Bretton Woods system, which was highlighted earlier.
Holiday. Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos are adjacent autumn Holidays that collide around the theme of death. The origins of Halloween come from the Celtic and pagan celebration of the Witch's New Year or Samhain who is the Lord of Darkness. Fire plays an important role in the Holiday - as light for cleansing and as light to allow the dead, including one's ancestors, to find their way. Christian monks recorded the Celtic customs and Pope Gregory later morphed the Holiday into a pseudo-imitation of the pagan celebration that, in dogmatic fashion, gives reverence strictly to the noble: November 1, All Saints Day and November 2, All Souls Day.
What about the Japanese origins of Nakamoto and the customs that fall during this time? The Halloween date does not overlap with any particular celebration or Holiday that is specific to the origins of the Nakamoto name, traditionally found in the Ryūkyū islands of Japan. However, I may revisit other Japanese autumn celebrations in future writings.
Season. In anchoring Satoshi and the whitepaper to Halloween we can unearth additional meanings from the Celtic customs. The Celts celebrated two seasons, summer and winter. The mark of winter's start occurs on Halloween, where cyclically it represents the start of death in the death-life cycle. Scorpio season is at this time as well, and it points to the significance of death and rebirth, transformation, and the ever-famous Phoenix, rising from the ashes.
If we are to crystalize Satoshi's entrance into a singular realization, the question is not what has died, it is what is anew?
What is remarkable about these Celtic and Druid aspects is that their beliefs point us to two early religious insights: a reverence for the cycles of nature, and the avoidance of dogmatism. This Earth religion, among others, honored nature and its cycles, which were practiced more-so before times of war.
Not New Wine into Old Bottles. When humanity transitioned to periods of war our religions shifted to patriarchal structures - gravitating away from their nature focus and instead developing into hierarchies of power. We also see these hierarchical structures in our political structures.
Though we may be conscious as we develop the frameworks for blockchain technology across a number of industries, are we so changed that we will not encode old hierarchies of power into our new technology? Again, what is anew?
Satoshi-Consciousness. In the book of Romans, there is a reference to Christ-consciousness, whereby believers are asked to do what they must in order to obtain the evolutionary state of mind. In the last fifty years our economies may have been spellbindingly engrossed in a damaging Nixon-consciousness that I hope we are now collectively departing.
The untethered dollar still haunts us. It haunts us with innumerable print-money ghosts, remnants of trickster's impact. For those of us present and participatory, we can counter those ghosts as parts of a sacred force that aims to usher in a better world - becoming trickster-like, attacking the dogma of old oppressive standards with innovation.
Lest we be haunted by the ghosts of ignorance, it is our duty to use our rightful intelligence.
The open-minded, nature-focused frame of the Celtic traditions are embraced in Satoshi-consciousness. Lest we be haunted by the ghosts of ignorance, it is our duty to use our rightful intelligence. Blind belief in past dogmas, rigid reverence of the seemingly sacred, can trap us. We must criticize and question existing systems and structures as we build anew.
Create to Participate
"The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth.” - Byrd Gibbens
Our collective wisdom has brought us this far. Though, old power structures across failing beliefs have kept a number of us from participating in the world. We see this clearly in the frightening statistics of the unbanked, the unemployed, the underserved...
Hazardously, or with intention, we can create just as Nixon or as Nakamoto. We can animate our world in unique ways, for its demise or rebirth.
Blockchain technology invites us to create. However, if we believe we are cast into an unchanging world, we may toss up our pearled imaginations, our hopes and dreams, to other establishments and players - the ones we believe are equipped with creative powers greater than our own - that in our absence they may go and fulfill our dreams for us. That is the tragic illusion. That is the fatal belief in and inaction against rigid boundaries that will annihilate our creative and innovative selves.
Trickster illuminates us. Awakened, we can now masquerade ourselves to shake up this world too, infusing our lives with this remembrance - that it is our birthright to participate in the world. It is we who can make it lively.
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