“For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!”
– Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Gay Science”
What is Energy? It’s not necessarily a substance or a thing, but more, as Drew Armstrong calls it in his piece on Entropy, a “quality”. A capacity to do work.
Nietzsche didn’t directly define energy, or conceptualize it in the way modern physics or even common parlance might have, but his idea of the “will to power” shares a similar essence. For Nietzsche, this will is the fundamental drive that underlies all human actions and those of the living, natural world. It is an “energy” in the sense that it propels individuals, societies, and indeed all of life forward, driving them to overcome obstacles, assert their own existence, and flourish. It’s a sort of metaphysical energy that constitutes the essence of life and governs its dynamics.
Why does this matter, and what does it have to do with Bitcoin?
First of all, Bitcoin is money that in many ways resembles the kind of “quality” that energy is.
Both energy and Bitcoin:
– Are conservative, ie; cannot be created or destroyed.
– Have a direction and relationship to order and entropy.
– Have absolutes, zero being the asymptotic minimum for energy and 20,999,999.977 being the asymptotic maximum supply of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has been called “Energy Money” for a reason. It has its own will to power, its own direction and heartbeat. Not only does the concept imply something that’s in some way “alive”–see Gigi’s “Proof of Work” essay from 2020–but it also implies truth, soundness, and universality. You cannot fake, decree or ignore Energy. Vaclav Smil, one of the greatest physics and engineering minds of our time, called Energy the “Universal Currency” because it serves as the fundamental unit that powers all interactions, processes, and transformations in the universe. Bitcoin has the power—pun intended—to do the same in the more abstracted world of human civilization. With it, we enter a new age. One where energy is increasingly channeled, harnessed and mastered.
Quality over Quantity
Second…Bitcoin is money with a high degree of quality. The quantitative element is fixed and predetermined, making it something with an increasing quality (and therefore value) over time.
That which has quality has weight and energy. Bitcoin, like gold, has gravitas. It means something because it is scarce. The quantity is finite. When you hand someone a Gold coin, you can feel it. There is something visceral about it. Bitcoin already carries a similar charge, despite having existed for only 14 years. Imagine the charge it will carry in another half century? It’s the same reason a mountain has presence.
Contrast that with fiat money, the abstract, flimsy promissory note that can be created out of thin air and changed on a whim. It lacks both weight and substance. It’s conceptual and theatrical in nature. Think about the term “Quantitative Easing” for example. It’s the process of increasing the quantity of the money by making it easier to produce. This, of course, occurs at the expense of its promise and quality and makes the money “easy” or “soft”. People rightly do not “trust” it like they do a metal, and even less so when it’s just digits on a screen. This is why fiat money is in a death spiral. It is hollow and devoid of life-force. It carries nothing but the empty promise of a group of bureaucrats.
Why is this important?
It’s my belief that the quality of the money is a reflection of the quality of the culture and civilization it enables. Soft, easy, low quality money makes for a soft, cheap, low quality society, and conversely, sound, hard, high quality money makes for a strong, functional and high quality society.
History has proved this again and again, with the modern world being the most evident example. We live in a world of excessive quantities, and ever receding quality. Everywhere you turn, there is mass media, mass retail, mass politics, mass food, mass markets, mass social media, mass consumption, mass hysteria, mass medicine, mass money, mass everything. As a result, few of these things carry weight or value anymore. They contain no charge. They have no energy. They are like worthless Zimbabwean, hyper-inflated toilet paper money, and from this kind of world, high quantities of low quality character people emerge.
Nietzsche predicted them, and called them “The Last Man”. I’ve called them the lemmings, and the “masses”. Those who lack a will to power. The NPCs who want to be herded, who lack vitality and are almost devoid of the energy that makes life possible. Look around. This is the world now, and it’s a sad state of affairs. The very measure of life, pro-creation, is plummeting in every developed country. These regions are aging and dying.
But, as they say: “the night is darkest before the dawn”. Nietzsche also predicted the coming of the “UberMensch”. The one who would transcend the sorry state of the last man. The breed of man whose character would represent the highest potential, pulsating with vitality and the raw will to power. The one “overflowing with abundance and power”.
Power and Energy
Who is this Super-man, and what needs to happen for him to arrive?
I believe he is a new archetype. Some blend of the Warrior, the Entrepreneur, the Explorer and the King. A modern Alexander the Great meets Steve Jobs, who will rise up, lead and bend the universe to his will. I don’t speak of a “single man” but an archetype. This overman will sprout in different corners of the world. But…
In order for this to happen, in order for a plant to bear fruit, the soil must provide. The analogy is apt in many ways. There must exist both the seed, and also the fertilizer. Our current age provides both. The seed of life, energy and greatness exists, and in the form of Bitcoin, has been planted, on a world with plenty of fertilizer. The next stage our civilisation now embarks upon is the age of “Energy Money”– one in which the means by which we measure action, time, energy and resources is quantitatively fixed, so there cannot be arbitrary “easing”. One where quality, not equality is the North Star, so that excellence, nobility, honor and all of the virtues necessary for such a civilisation to prosper, are rewarded.
This is what lies ahead, and ironically, it is also in such an environment that Nietzsche claimed the UberMensch would rise. It is this kind of seizure that may be what allows Bitcoin to gain a foothold.
Most people think that Bitcoin’s greatest contribution will be to lift the masses up and “help the weak”. While that will likely occur–and not for the reasons you think it will–it’s my (unpopular) belief that the more important contribution and impact to mankind will be that Bitcoin makes the strongest stronger, the best better and the most powerful, more powerful.
I can already feel you squirming as you read that line, so please read it again, then allow me to clarify why this is a good thing and of utmost importance.
First of all, I think we can agree on the following. You get more of that which is rewarded. If you reward theft, you will get more theft. San Francisco is a perfect case study. Participation awards in school reward average students, not those who excel, ESG and DEI (or DIE as I like to call it) in the workplace results in hiring for politics instead of competence, and giving people money for staying home results in more people staying home, getting fat, lazy and less productive.
The converse is also true. When we reward people for doing a great job, they not only feel recognised, but feel a drive (or will) to do a great job once more. Therefore, my point is simple. If we want a strong society, with competent people who are doing their best, then we must reward strength, competence and those individuals who are the best in their chosen vocation. If we want society to grow, then its people must grow, so we must reward them for growing. If we want strong characters, with high energy, it is these attributes we must reward.
The formula is simple:
Strong individuals = strong society.
Weak individuals = weak society.
Contrary to popular Bitcoiner belief, it’s not the broken money at the root of all problems – it’s what we reward. A decline in culture is upstream of a decline in the quality of money – although their relationship is deeply intertwined. To fix the world, we have to fix both. One is a check on the other.
If you want a powerful, meritocratic society, you must encourage powerful people and reward them for winning, ie; for merit! Not for cheating, lying or stealing, not for quitting, not for just ‘participating’, but for achieving.
This might sound harsh to some of you, and in some ways, it is. But it’s life. It is the “hard pill to swallow” that if you come to understand, shall set you free–because it’s true–and that’s precisely what the truth does.
Still not convinced?
Allow me to clarify further…
When I say make the strongest stronger, and the best, better, I mean the people who are genuinely strong. Strength is a virtue, and true strength seeks not to just trample the weak, but to test itself against a worthy opponent, whether that is a person, mountain or barbell.
In fact, let’s pull on that thread. Picking up a 10 lb barbell doesn’t make you strong, but standing under 500 pounds, squatting down and raising it back up does. Climbing 3 steps doesn’t make you strong, but hiking a 10,000ft mountain does. It’s not the exact number that is important. It is the challenge and the burden you carry. To get better, to get stronger, you don’t contend or compete with less than you are. A strong man doesn’t go into a ring and beat up a small kid or a woman to prove himself. He doesn’t ask for his opponent to have his hands tied behind his back. He seeks out a fair fight with someone as good or better.
This is why responsible men are the strongest men. You carry your responsibility, and the amount you can carry is the true determinant of strength. A man who is responsible for his territory, a father who bears the responsibility for his family, who runs a company, and thus bears responsibility for his employees, who is mentor to the young men of his community and is thus responsible for the development of their character. This man is strong. This man is powerful.
This concept of course scales up. The man who bears the responsibility for his people or for an idea that changes the way the world works is that much stronger. The Nikola Teslas, Steve Jobs and Alexander the Greats of the world. These men were the truly powerful.
Notice I did not say “Christine Lagarde” or “Janet Yellen” or “Joe Biden”. When I talk about strength, I am not talking about the man who steps on the ant and calls himself a hero. I am not speaking of the heads of central banks, petty politicians and meddling bureaucrats who exist only to suck wealth out of the system. These people are too weak to actually build something, so they lie, cheat and steal from others. They are the most dangerous kind. The weak who have access to power, by fiat. Those with unearned authority. Ayn Rand called them the moochers and the looters. None of these people are “strong”. None of these people are “elite”. None of them are “the best”.
Such people are parasites, and so, by my above admonition–that bitcoin will make the best better, the strong stronger and the powerful more powerful–it is precisely this kind who will not be rewarded.
This is a fundamentally important psychological paradigm shift we must make if we are to lead the world to a better place. It’s in the very words! To get to a better place, we must be better, which means we must reward, better. To make the world exceptional and excellent, we must be exceptional and excellent. We must in fact, be elite. We must take this and other key words back.
The word “Elite” comes from the Latin word “elitus,” which means “choice” or “selected.” The PIE root of the word “elite” is “leg,” which means “to collect” or “to gather.” To be elite is to be the ‘selected’, which means ‘the best’. To be distinguished and to be outstanding. In short, to be excellent.
The word “Aristocrat” originates from the Greek words “aristos,” meaning “best,” and “kratos,” meaning “rule” or “power.” Therefore, etymologically, the term “aristocrat” essentially means “rule by the best.” In ancient Greek society, “aristocracy” originally referred to a form of governance where the most virtuous, skilled, or noble individuals would rule. The concept was closely tied to the idea that these individuals possessed certain superior qualities, whether in wisdom, bravery, or moral virtue, that made them the most fit to govern. Over time, however, the term has taken on other, less noble and guilt-laden connotations which we must shed.
The word “Noble” originates from the Latin word “nobilis,” deriving from the root “gnō-” which is connected to “gnoscere,” meaning “to come to know.” In its original context, “nobilis” would refer to someone who is notable or distinguished, often due to virtue, bravery, or social standing. A person who possesses excellent qualities of mind and character—known for some sort of excellence or virtue.
In 2021, I wrote “Fire, Bitcoin, Teleportation” for The Bitcoin Times, Edition 4. I discussed how society will likely bifurcate into ‘Homo-Bitcoinicus’ and ‘homo-hystericus’. The former being a species superior in mind, body and spirit, while the latter emulates more of a roomba vacuum cleaner with chatGPT installed on it. I didn’t know about Nietzsche at the time, but perhaps I was channeling the same ‘energy’ he was–the difference being that he was prophetic and I was merely being contrarian.
I stand by this statement today, but with a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the situation. Homo-Bitcoinicus is the UberMensch. He is the new archetype that integrates the essence of greatness that’s spanned across all of time, with a new vitality, energy, technology and knowledge – making him a superman in comparison to those who came before. We do not go back. We move forward to a new age.
A new dawn
If we want a fair, functional, sound and strong society, we need to encourage excellence, strive to be elite, develop nobility and behave aristocratically once more. These are all attributes of maturity lost in a world drowning in easy money, cheap plastics, fake food, mass media and constant lies. Reject this.
We’ve been fed a never ending diet of “power is evil” and “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” but I’ve come to realize that this is false. We must reject this too.
Power only corrupts the weak. Power like technology is agnostic. You put technology in the hands of a sadist, and they will use it to dominate those weaker, and to bring down those who are better. This is communism in action. It’s why everything that comes from communism is ugly. It’s anti-life. It’s an attempt to make everything the same.
The truth is Power is a measure of the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred. Power is the capacity to channel energy. Power is vitality and youth. What does this have to do with evil? This is life-force for God’s sake. What’s evil is to be against life. What’s evil is to convince everyone that the life-force inside of you, that your Will to Power is wrong. Reject this.
It’s not power itself, but those who wield it. It’s not that power corrupts, but that the corrupt can attain power. This is the paradigmatic mental shift you must make.
And this is why Bitcoin is so important. It makes it more difficult for the corrupt, the parasitic and the weak of spirit and character to amass power. Like King Arthur and Excalibur, it makes it so that the worthy and noble can draw the sword from the stone. Not the weak and corrupt. It rewards the best in us, which in turn inspires the rest of us to be better, to be stronger, to be more powerful.
In such a civilisation, with such a character of man, with such power and thumos, we may actually harness the energy to travel to the stars. Without it, we will wither away and recede into the dark ages.
Powerful individuals = powerful society
Energetic individuals = energetic society
A rising tide
I should make clear that none of what I’ve said suggests that the masses will or should be trampled. First of all, strong people don’t just step on weaker ones. Second of all, a rising tide does and will continue to lift all boats. What matters is the focus for individuals and civilisation. You go where you look. If you’re always looking down, that’s where you will find yourself. If you focus on the masses, don’t be surprised if you get more “average”. On the contrary, if you can set your sights on excellence, you are more likely to find greatness.
This has everything to do with the almost “hippie” sounding “energy” or “vibration” of people. Groveling in the dirt comes from a different place in both the mind and the soul than does reaching for the stars. It’s a different quality of energy. It’s the difference between life affirming and life-denying.
As Bitcoiners, we must operate on a higher energetic plane, even more so than we have been. We need a grander perspective. We must climb the mountain – which is in fact where the word “excellence” originates. For too long we’ve been defensive, parroting much of the same defeatist garble that the political parties of weakness and lack have been promoting for the last few centuries. We’ve been tricked into believing that “average” is ok, because it represents the little guy. But the truth is that there is nothing aspirational about being average.
Average doesn’t require courage, passion, drive, responsibility or self control. Average asks that you “do just enough to get by”. It is a low energy state, and a small story designed to make you give up on your dreams–to trade all you could possibly be for what you’re told you should be. An average man, content with the crumbs and scraps brushed off the table. I say reject this narrative! Reject calling oneself a “pleb”. Embrace becoming aristocratic, in the true sense of the word. Make it your duty.
Bitcoin aligns us toward excellence because it puts a real and accurate price on time and energy. Like life itself, it is unforgiving. There is no rewind button. Those who waste and squander it must pay a real price for doing so. Those who save, invest and deploy it, along with their time and energy will reap the rewards (notwithstanding luck, as the one factor we cannot account for).
It has and always will be Great Men of energy who change the course of history. Alexander, Caesars, Christ, Newton, Tesla, Jobs and most recently, Satoshi. Now, with the dawn of a new age, what will you do, what seeds will you plant, what foundations will you establish, how will you show up, who will you raise, that might change the course of history and drive humanity to a higher energetic standard?
Bitcoin is Energy Money not only because it’s in some ways alive, but because it encourages a life-affirming approach to living. This is the same reason why I like to think of it as UberMoney. Bitcoin is a framework for excellence, and excellence is the soil from which the UberMensch shall spring.