Ethos and Core Beliefs: On The Evolutionary Nature of Crypto-currencies

A Description of Tacit Process in the Brain

Consider this metaphor:

One might here consider the image of a turbulent mass of vortices in a stream. The structure and distribution of vortices, which constitute a sort of content of the description of the movement, are not separate from the formative activity of the flowing stream, which creates, maintains, and ultimately dissolves the totality of vortex structures. So to try to eliminate the vortices without changing the formative activity of the stream would evidently be absurd.~David Bohm, Wholeness and The Implicate Order

This is what is meant by “tacit”. In the bitcoin community there is a tacitly held belief that the value of bitcoin is tied to its transactions per second or in other words its scability. There is no basis for this argument yet it is very strongly held as true across the entire community on both sides of the civil war/debate.

Such tacit beliefs are difficult to change because they are related to our core beliefs in regard to how we see the world. Each of us uses money without a realization that we don’t understand the most significant purpose of it (hint: it’s NOT as a medium of exchange). This blindness to our own ignorance comes about because money NATURALLY arises to solve a problem in which the complexity is such that the average individual does not have time to understand.

Core Beliefs and Their Relationship to Tacit Process

This article was written in regard to addiction, but the insight is still perfectly comparable to different belief systems:

Our brains have a natural tenancy to sort of justify our experience and our existence.
There is something we should understand about this in regard to “core beliefs”. We each have to justify our existence in some way at every moment, and for some people, especially in relation to propriety or the social norm, this can be a very difficult thing to do. Addicts that are physically out of control to the point of crime etc. must tell themselves a story that fits and justifies what they are doing. They re-write their core beliefs and create different associative neural pathways. When we confront an addict, or someone who’s brain doesn’t function correctly (brain injury), with reason and rationality, that is related to what is socially normal, but is not inline with their core beliefs, we cause them to initiate “fight or flight” programming (in other words when things get fucked up we get scared and fight or run).

Having core beliefs helps secure long term stability while also allowing compartmentalization of experience and knowledge. The way in which our brain functions in relation to our core beliefs decides our ability to associate and compartmentalize experience and knowledge into (for example) metaphors:

In regard to one’s own brains and minds (whatever relationship we ascribe them to have with each other) I think it can be said that we have some natural tendency to try to make sense of our experience, but I think it comes not from a psychological need but rather from a need to compress and store the experience. Probably in some form of debriefing stage (like dreaming), it could be supposed that the mind uses complex association in order to compress and compartmentalize as much information as possible. This creates a need for some “very stable” centers in which different concepts are linked to and that they can “unfold” from. From another approach, we represent our experiences with some form and magnitude (or level) of metaphors, and we sometimes struggle to fit new experiences and understandings into whatever basic metaphors or building blocks we have constructed to represent the compressed information. The “core” of these metaphors, or the most basic of blocks, would be the most difficult and traumatic to change (some possibly or nearly impossible), especially in a society that generally uses this paradigm (whether they know or understand they are using it or not).

This suggests that the metaphors we have available, or in some sense the fundamental building blocks and individual uses to produce logical output, are held tacitly in relation to the individuals core beliefs. This could be seen as an evolved safety mechanism that allows different regions of the brain to become damaged or to malfunction, without the entire system failing:

The basic understanding I mean to portray here, is that our core beliefs are not necessarily held in a region of the brain. We get here by understanding the process of evolution, in regard to accidental stability (which is related to self interested actors), but it is critically helpful to understand the brain as if it was designed through incredible reason and foresight (this happens because the accidental evolution took a (relatively) very long time). From this view of design, it is important that the core beliefs are not stored in a certain region because that region could get accidentally knocked out, and the brain would be completely unable to re-ground itself. So there is the suggestion that our core beliefs, are actually held up TACITLY. Not from a certain region, but by the processes in which the regions interact.

This speaks to special insights by John Nash, insights that he had about a future possible high-speed parallel and decentralized computing system:

This memorandum concerns some ideas for new designs of the control system in high-speed digital computers. The ideas are yet in an immature and rather unspecific form, but this is a subject that deserves some attention and though for the future.
Indeed, the idea is more or less futuristic, and is more appropriate for the “electronic brains” of the future than for the computers now used, or under construction, or even planned. The basic idea is simple. Instead of having a single control until sequencing the operations of the machine in series (except for certain subsidiary operations as certain input and output functions) as is now done, the idea is to decentralize control with server different control units capable of directing various simultaneous operations and interrelating them when appropriate.

He notes the importance of the parallelity of the system:

If logical units could be made cheap enough, and the same for memory, one could afford to have trial and error and search processes used in the machine. Trial and error processes and learning processes (which would require a lot of memory) would be helpful in developing high order interpretative capacity. Ultimately trial and error process, combined with search or association processes, abstraction process, and learning or condition processes should lead to the learning machine or even to the genuine thinking machine. For this development parallel logical operation will certainly be important.

The last paragraph is especially important, that his insights in how we might optimize a thinking machine seems to prove, in his mind, that this is exactly how our brains have evolved to function:

It is interesting to consider what a thinking machine will be like. It seems clear that as soon as the machines become able to solve intellectual problems of the highest difficultly which can be solve by humans they will be able to solve most of the problems enormously faster than a human In closing, the human brain is a highly parallel setup. It has to be.

Core and Core Beliefs

We can relate this to emerging crypto-economics by thinking about each project as an evolving primitive AI structure, emerging as self-replicating entities from the primordial internet soup. Each project will have its core development team and each coin and or block-chain evolves based on its initial conditions.

In this sense each project is born from an ethos. And the underlying ethos, whatever it is, cannot be changed. Underlying is a key word here. There IS some certain ethos to a project, but much of a projects ethos COULD be implicate (ie not stated but read between the lines). This is a crucial point for the collective community to understand.

It means different factions could argue about a what the stated or intended ethos of a certain project is, but that doesn’t mean that the underlying ethos could be changed. It might be said, for example, that Roger Ver’s pursuit and Bitcoin Unlimited, is an attempt to change the ethos Satoshi laid in bitcoin’s initial proposal.

To change the ethos of a project, is to fork the project. This has been seen with ethereum which has an ethos that was set by Vitalik Buterin. The ethos of ethereum (roughly) follows Vitalik’s stated vision not a hacker that wishes to hack against the ethos of ethereum.

The initial ethos then, is the set of parameters or rules that sparks life, and creates self-replicating nodes (perhaps nodes, miners, coins, or users could fit into this part of the metaphor). The network that grows from this ethos is that comparable to a tacitly held process much like the vortices in a stream.

Here we return to the initial quote from David Bohm on the tacit process in the brain:

One might here consider the image of a turbulent mass of vortices in a stream. The structure and distribution of vortices, which constitute a sort of content of the description of the movement, are not separate from the formative activity of the flowing stream, which creates, maintains, and ultimately dissolves the totality of vortex structures. So to try to eliminate the vortices without changing the formative activity of the stream would evidently be absurd.~David Bohm, Wholeness and The Implicate Order
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