Bitcoin, The Hive & Spontaneous Order
An important question when pondering Bitcoin’s place in the world is this: is it a phenomenon of the hive or spontaneous order? Was it given by modern day philosopher-kings or did it rip through the cracks in the “boot stamping on human face forever” as an alternative to submission?
First things first, let’s learn more about the hive and spontaneous order.
Smart phones and social media have created the next step in technological collective consciousness. More so than ever the individual is connected to friends, family and acquaintances 24/7. A constant stream of information informs us and is, ultimately, meant to guide, making more like the greater group.
The Borg is known from Star Trek, and is essentially a synonym of “hive mind” or “collective consciousness.” The Borg Collective is a civilization with a group mind. Each individual is not truly an individual, for they are linked to the collective by a sophisticated network. Today, this is known as the Internet, which ensures each “individual” is under constant supervision and guidance. In fiction, this collective consciousness, known as the borg, allows the individual to “share the same thoughts,” and adapt quickly to defensive tactics used against them. We are today cybernetic organisms, to a degree, thanks to our droid phones and so on. The ultimate goal of borg society is achieving perfection and “resistance is futile.”
“We are the Borg. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.” – Star Trek
The Borg is also referred to as the “hive.” But, whereas a beehive is built to protect the dweller, the hive in terms of collective consciousness and human society is actually built to protect overseers, and not the dwellers of the community. The overseers are above and beyond the hive. So, a better analogy for “hive society” would be “apiary society,” with the overseers representing the bee handlers. The natural beehive’s internal structure is a densely-packed matrix of hexagonal. Click here to read about the shapes with which the hexagon is connected.
The Borg and hive society is part of the Transhuman Movement, and leading scientists of this movement believe “Scientists shouldn’t have ethical responsibility for their inventions, they should be able to do what they want. You shouldn’t ask them to have the same values as other people.” As Feurbach wrote, “anything goes.”
The beehive society is dependent upon human controls of technology and so on. As technology companies today are essentially fronts for intelligence organizations, one can be fairly certain that technology does not burst on the scene solely due to innovation, but also permission from the top. As I will point out below, this sort of structure cannot contend with the law of entropy like other orders, such as spontaneous order.
Spontaneous order is known as the spontaneous emergence of order out of apparent chaos, and is observed in physical biological, economic and social systems. On the social level, spontaneous order arises from a combination of self-interested individuals who do not create law and order through planning.
Spontaneous order has been viewed as the way in which systems as diverse as evolution of life, language, crystal structure, the Internet and the free market have evolved. Modern evolutionists cite the “watch-like” precision of uncultivated ecosystems and the universe as the end-all examples of spontaneous order.
Spontaneous order is not an organization, but rather a “scale-free network.” Organizations are hierarchical networks, while spontaneous orders are not strictly so. To be sure, organizations can be and often are of spontaneous social orders, however the opposite is not true. Organizations are created and controlled by humans, while spontaneous orders are created, controlled and controllable by no one.
Murray Rothbard maintains that Zhuangzi (369BC-286BC) was the first to ponder the notion of spontaneous order. Zhuangzi rejected the authoritarianism of Confucianism, having written that there “has been such a thing as letting making alone; there has never been such a thing governing mankind [with success].” He believed that “good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.”
Scottish Enlightenment thinkers developed the idea of the market as a spontaneous order. Historian Adam Ferguson described it as “the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.”
The Internet has created a diverse and tangled web. It is by now a very complicated system, and to predict complicated systems take complicated algorithms which really only detail the outlines of the landscape, but not the wind of color that fills it all in. Everyone knew that cashless payment solutions were the way of the future. Society is made economically, and one can decipher the future by investigating the investments of the state-enterprise apparatus (that is, the top of government and transnational corporations). As I wrote in the Dollar Vigilante blog:
With big players like AT&T, Verizon, Visa, Mastercard, Google, Microsoft, and eBay’s PayPal unit investing in billions in digital payment solutions, it is no surprise that the mainstream media is serving the idea to the public domain in kind and uncritical ways. One of their assumptions is a monopoly on the technology by some corporation friendly to compromising. While the mainstream press has been unable to ignore Bitcoin, it certainly has been critical of Bitcoin being prone to hackers. Sure, a great many people have lost bitcoins. But, imagine if the general population had to become their own banks. Most of them would get eaten right away by sharks in the economic waters.
So, you see, the cashless society being bet on, but a much different one than the one Bitcoin has given rise to. Not even the CIA, through INCUTEL, began publicly studying Bitcoin until 2011.
Entropy also has its originations in natural sciences, in particular thermodynamics, and this concept is true across closed systems. Perhaps it is entropy that led Thomas Jefferson to say, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
The usefulness of spontaneous order is its complexity. The metastasizing of spontaneous order is far more intricate than can any human mind or controllers of a system. Just like the borg was intended to be in Star Trek – unpenetrable to outside threats – spontaneous order is as well, perhaps more effectively so, as the response to a threat is within the decentralized network. In a centralized hive society, the response to an outside circumstance would first be disseminated from the top, instead of horizontally.
Whereas the hive depends on a natural selection type process, a guiding hand from above, spontaneous order borrows from more recent understanding of evolutionary processes, namely that the evolutionary process is diverse, unpredictable and non-linear.