#OTS Chapter 10: Self, ownership.
As I’ve been writing my story, the theme has led me to the source of a current phenomenon happening in the world, a peer-to-peer electronic cash system called Bitcoin.
I learned of it when I stopped eating barcoded food for three years and cleared my head via annual (up to) 2 week no food water only fasts. I started to question systems. Again. It’s a thing I do. I learned that Bitcoin is quite a different system, the architecture is unique, the people it attracts are strongly of the NOBODY-tells-me-what-to-do nature, and the technology ticked a lot of my imaginary boxes:
Peer to Peer.
Needless to say I was curious.
With a lot of questions came answers that connected what I was looking for at the time, avenues to strengthen my sense of self, to restore ‘me’ to the source. I sought to ground myself in a foundation that would act as a solid platform from which I could build.
To invent myself, like I’d learned to do at Landmark. I had to turn the experience that was weighing down my thoughts into a fuel, I had to use it on its self.
A pretty standard practice during my employment there was to be inventing and maintaining newly invented ‘selves’. Creating wild and crazy ‘possibilities’ to live into via pathways of our own creation rather than those we inherited.
To be free from flashbacks of the past.
To be free from the pressure.
As a man I have felt many pressures. These pressures conflict, they offer
paradoxes, the twist and flail under the weight of opposing demands. Mine have come through imposed regimes of self. Applied demands weigh in on all we make and do and result in an undue pressure that cannot be moved. Like Sisyphus, we seemed doomed to endlessly repeat the tasks we have assigned upon ourselves.
Warrior. Father. Husband.
A trilogy of competing stresses in a realm that calls for control and
submission of its own absurdity and yet forbids at the same time. It seems to be an endless diorama of plays competing for the same stage. As actors, we stress the same roles in multiple plays as we also seek to play the lead in one and the support in another. We come into yet more as cast, siting as extras in the back of another’s stage before we are swept again into another role, the foreground and then another obscurity. In withholding do we maintain the coin from our tongue? Or more likely, do we postpone the end to a direr one?
I have sought of the three goals to be a warrior and a husband only to lose
father from the fold. A crushing weight encompasses us all and we withstand it as no other choice presents itself.
I seek father only to have the warrior we as men crave dissolved in a sea of
conformity. I say crave for few have the aspiration for it in a real manner. Many of us long secretly for this, knowing we can never achieve it all. We strut and turn into the role only to shy away from the opportunity that is always presented. In Othello’s steps we listen to the whispers of Lago. We are all desirous,
wanting all that we see as a completion to that we seek to be.
Father, husband. How these protagonists cannot go hand in hand across
the expanse causes me boundless exasperation. Yet they come to oppose one
another in all the ages of the world.
Father works with one and fails for the same.
A mirror in the same man casts a poor image as we treat the differences in those we create so unwell. My role as warrior is at an end.
Row, row, row your boat…
A new round starts crying to the empty expanse of time. Layered over one aspect of our past comes the future. Wait! A sideline to the act. A new call to stage is heard. The actors churn and compose themselves in a tumult of competing dramas.
We draw strokes of time in an endless river whose current drags against us
no matter which direction we are impelled to take.
Oh, which story to tell, for we all have many. We compete and that which is
seen by one does not match the perceptions of another. How do we change and conform when facing a loss of self from that which we have defined? How do we move towards a new beginning?
I was efficacious as a warrior only to lose becoming a father. But in the
same, I miscarried as a husband. My strutting on the stage allowed a character to blossom under the weight of conflict and yet another suffered the effects of cold reviews. My Caesar, my Spartacus, all called to an audience who can never see the actor without his mask.
Oh yes, they cheered.
Again and again I would come to the stage and play the role assigned to
me. In my paramount fiascos, the cheers roiled in towards a stage that lay against the sea of other lives. Layered stages bustle against the rolling surf as we seek to avoid and encompass all simultaneously. In grasping for all we allow the sand we hold to slip. It escapes marking the time we have lost in its pursuit. Yet, for that we lose, more remains. Stuck against our flesh we find grains of sand. Uncalled for, unwanted and yet attached. We wipe them away to discover more unwanted remains of a beach we past across.
Select any two of three.
There is the catch. We all live to hold all three choices and not to select
between those picks we need to make. The trade-off!
In choosing any we relinquish something. Yet, to choose nothing gains us
little more than an endless barrage of other seas, other stages. To be more than the extras cast in plays created in the thoughts of the mass we need to decide.
That endless choice. Once made, only to be made and remade endlessly until
there comes the final ending.
Will they work where a choice has failed before? Once lost, can the choice
be made again? It would seem so from the characters that come across our paths, but the mask hides a deeper truth. We cannot see behind the masks of others as they play role upon role in the sea of stages.
I was a warrior. In relinquishing, can I be more? This remains a question
asked by many and one that few see answers to. To be or not to be, it remains
eternally open and a demand that even time can remain closed mouthed about.
We all choose, even in selecting the choice to withhold making a choice, we
choose. We face the consequences better or for worse, but this is something we cannot escape. We try, but the inevitable failure comes to pass and our thoughts come back to create the reality we imagine within ourselves.
Father, but the choices come in more than one. A choice once made cannot
be separated. It comes as a trilogy in the selection I have pounced upon. Yet, to succeed in one as father does not make an accomplishment for the other.
Husband, will the failures made return to haunt me. Can I grow and
become more than I hoped to be. I believe I can, but the struggle is always uphill for anything of value.
There are many ways to be a warrior. Some are far from the forms of old.
Some have updated weapons. Some are warriors of the mind. Some are physical.
Some have changed little. We all risk. We call test our courage and at times all find it lacking. We all fear. What matters is how we face it. A sigh in the face of reality or that which we make for ourselves, and then
Incipient failures ensure. Inchoate but forming in the world’s womb these
bring life to our impending doom. Chipping at the slabbed form of both our
physique and psyche, they make the marble of our form whole. Each failure a
razor of stone, it makes us hard or softens us. That which is hard can also crack, the hammer blows fall precariously.
A crack fixed remains, visible, weakened, glancing to the universe and
proclaiming our enduring humanity. Only that which is damned can be saved.
Only that which is broken can be fixed.
A man must be hard.
Too hard, too unbending, with inadequate suppleness and we break. A
discontinuity and a cessation come to form and we split. Then again, flaws make iron steel. Strength comes from flaws and failure and in this we remain human. I have seen death. I have been delivery boy and messenger for Hades, but Hades needs no aid, nor does he broach it. Can we ever truly be honest even to ourselves?
We say honour. We make constructs and reasons for what we do and yet
are these mere paradigms designed to cloak and encircle the truth from that
which we must most fully hide from, ourselves. If we cannot be candid in our own heart, if we seek to mislead and waylay that core which forms us, what hope
We say love, but can we give of what we truly are? In candid lies we seek to
deceive. Who could love another when the truth itself is a façade? This veneer conceals even self from contemplation.
In stories, we are damned and delivered.
Craig Wright wrote that.
Craig Wright is known as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.
Let me set the scene.
At ‘our’ one and only bitcoin event I organised back-to-back interviews with the speakers following on from a whimsical moment in time when I thought I had to document Melbourne’s Bitcoin growth. Because it was clear nobody else was going to. Approx 48 hours after that thought cropped up I found somebody who’d made advertisements and almost a short film that lived close by, was willing to work with a few hours notice, and who thought bitcoin was pretty cool. Two days after our initial meeting we started filming #TheBitcoinDoco. Having never made a documentary before, nor had I had any experience in an editing studio, I really had no idea what I was doing other than collecting a story which I’d somehow put together once I got all the content. Like I said, I had no idea.
Unlike Torsten Hoffman who HAD made documentaries before, he clearly DID know what he was doing and hired a professional camera crew to set up lights in the room he hired in just the right way to get the perfect angles and give those he interviewed that distinct professional edge. For he knew the story he was telling and quite easily attracted all the BIG, professional names to his project.
I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to organise a room for interviewing speakers at the conference, instead randomly found places I thought would suit different people. In the foyer area right next to Torsten’s professionally set up room was where I started asking questions of the formally dressed guy in a 3 piece suit sitting in front of me.
“Please introduce yourself, who are you?”
“I’m Craig Wright…”
I’d never heard of him and as was with most of the people I had on my list, finding information on his online activities had proven difficult.
We chatted for a little bit to establish how early he was in the scene, the answer to that question shaped who I was talking to.
“it wasn’t a number”.
Really? I knew the interview was going to be interesting.
Two questions later he responded with:
“You’re thinking too small.”
That’s when I started to get really curious, who WAS this man? Nobody had said that to me for years, I was after all making Melbourne the Bitcoin capital of the world and here was somebody telling me *I* thought too small??? All the other bitcoiners wanted to shrink my project down to the Bitcoin capital of Victoria, maaaaaybe Australia… the world? That was way too ambitious for those I knew in the scene.
He got my attention, I wished I had done more research and bungled along with some of the questions I’d written on my notepad, and others I made up. He was creating a bank yet he didn’t seem to fit in that world, definitely not with those socks.
He seemed to know a lot about the fluid nature of systems when they’re allowed to flow of their own accord, without interference, systems that would give people the tools to opt for any given choice at any given moment.
Of all the people I interviewed he was the one that got me searching on the internet for more details when I got home. Video’s of him were varied, one of him rowing like a maniac racing the machine unashamedly determined to improve his personal best. In another, demonstrating how google glass worked at a supermarket, and finally, drunkedly toasting an acknowledgement for the life and death of Dave, somebody who obviously had been a very good friend of his.
I’ve worked with powerful, decisive people, those on a mission, clear for the outcomes they want to produce. It was my job to coach and develop newly invented selves into existence. I was paid to empower people, hold them true to the ‘possibilities’ they’d imagined in the face of no agreement as the real world more often than not brutally knocked their fragile fledgling dreams about. When the creator of the idea shares THEIR creation, what they say rings true. There was *something* about Craig that was familiar to my ears. The way he held himself during the interview, that moment when he checked in with the self he wanted to present to the world, how he adapted language to meet where I was at…. very clearly on the outskirts of technology yet extremely keen to bring the world Bitcoin promised to life.
Two weeks later I called him “I don’t know who you are, or what you do… I just know I want to work with you.”
Although he didn’t have any positions available we kept in touch as I thought for ways I could be useful, like connecting him with JonMatonis on his Australian visit. “Jon, you have to meet Craig Wright when you go to Sydney”, “Craig, Jon’s in town can you meet him (date/time) in the hotel lobby?”.
He asked me if I knew any people that could write code, “sure, I’ll ask around, what qualifications and which program do they need to be proficient at?”
The people I knew that coded laughed… nobody codes in C++ anymore apparently.
He seemed amused with my responses.
“What would you say if Satoshi was an Australian?”
I looked at that message numerous times then sat down to watch his interview’s again. When the realisation hit I forest gumped the city to calm my racing brain and come to terms with the one very obvious question I hadn’t asked.
“Are you Satoshi Nakamoto?”
November 2015 he tweeted me “Next week there’s an article coming out.”
And last week he rocked the Bitcoin world with this talk in Arnhem.
Many have wondered who created the controversial peer to peer electronic cash system that is spreading like a virus into the hearts, minds and wallets of people around the world. What type of person would think for a system of that calibre, AND have the skills, connections and courage to execute a computer program that now shares (only) $42 billion dollars of the global financial market?
Perhaps a perpetual student who chooses to live in a world that allows him to absorb knowledge like a sponge, and research systems that can be mathematically proven whilst honoring his libertarian values. A man who has an extensive online library, reads and writes papers, LOTS of papers, is an academically scientific, proud mathematician… a philosophical geek that conjures up weird and wonderful, sometimes gnarly titles.
Like, SISYPHUS IMPENITENT.