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The great Stoic, Epictetus, urged people to imagine their future as a way to move through it gracefully. Say you’re going to a friend’s party. Imagine who will be there, what things you’d say that might offend (for better or worse), that might inspire, how you’ll pace your drinking, how much you’ll eat. For Epictetus, imagining a future helps us navigate who we are, what we want, and what we’ll become.

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Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher

So after this coronavirus, what do we — in the US but also the world — want? What will we become?

This pandemic has surely revealed the radical failure of our existing systems. We’re not really a capitalist country in that we don’t actually have free markets per se — not because they’re regulated (as corporate lobbyists suggest) but because they’re backed by a banking system that can create money out of nothing. So we don’t have a socialist regime, either — a central bank and governing body working in the interests of its citizens. Instead, we have large corporations who are free to buck the free market because they have a banking industry that can create money for them seemingly at will and — and!

A system that has to rely on philanthropy to fix the outcomes that that system creates is, well, insane — and obviously not sustainable as a quick look around reveals. So let’s use our clever tech — decentralized smart contracts — to engineer a different economic engine with better outputs.

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I saw this a few months ago and, I have to admit, I thought it was a joke: “UC San Francisco launched a new research initiative aimed at discovering the root causes of homelessness — and solutions to end it — thanks to a $30 million gift from Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne” (CNN). …

This episode eloquently articulates the violence — the fascism — at the heart of “sides.”

Which side are you on? It seems like a fair question. There are arguments and battles everywhere. So, c’mon, which side you are on? Pick one!

But that’s one of those insidious questions that behooves us to interrogate it. Most conspicuously, the question can only come after the terms of the discussion have been established and sides drawn; otherwise, there’d be no sides to choose from. …


Daniel Coffeen

Former Berkeley Rhetoric prof turned…what? Anatha Comms. Wrote this, too:

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