Limitations of the physical world
If you asked a stranger, “What are the properties of a physical object?” You would probably say that it can be touched, has volume and mass, and is made up of atoms. If asked about the restrictions, it could be said that it has to travel a physical path to get from point A to point B (no teleportation). it cannot be given to a person without being given up by the giver (discreet property); or it worsens over time (increasing entropy).
If you ask the same person how to describe “information” they could essentially be saying the opposite. it’s immaterial, it can Given to someone while the giver holds it, and it can survive permanently without changing. In summary, the physical is finite and limited while the metaphysical is infinite. Many of us (myself included until recently) believe that no single entity can be both finite and infinite. Enter bitcoin.
Some of the following topics are addressed by Alex Waltz in Bitcoin: Or How We Became Gods. He concluded: “Bitcoin is the link between the two worlds: chaos and order, real and digital, insecure and secure, unconfirmed and confirmed.” I hope to build on this idea and study its implications.
I will refer to the network and token as Bitcoin in general. Bitcoin (the token) has both physical and metaphysical advantages: it is immaterial, teleportable, infinitely divisible and arises from nothing, while paradoxically it is impossible to destroy it and limit it in its final quantity. While you and I both know that it isn’t actually physical, it appears to be so on application (e.g., futures markets ironically call derivatives settled in Bitcoin “physically settled”). The importance of this relationship cannot be underestimated. We now have an example of how an infinite resource can be bound in a semi-physical form to take advantage of both worlds. This author has lost his understanding of the metaphorical and literal implications of this technological breakthrough.
At first glance, this seems to be a smart computer science trick, one that is continually improving and increasing in magnitude as it advances. One might think that this mimicking of scarcity might as well be undone with more information or changes to your code. However, there are several metaphysical layers of defense that prevent this from happening: robust network effects, a firewall made of mining hash power, a hornet’s nest of social consensus, etc. (these are well documented elsewhere). If the laws of thermodynamics set the limits of the physical world, these properties could be viewed as the incentive limits of bitcoin dynamics.
I no longer believe that Bitcoin is simply a network, digital gold, or the future of our financial system. I believe Bitcoin is evidence that we have taken the boundaries of the physical world for granted, which opens the doors to question, reverse, or eliminate those boundaries as long as we have a limitless concept (like information) in opposite Way can apply to a related level.
The second law of thermodynamics
Entropy is a measure of the stability or disruption of a system. We accept that in every contained system the entropy increases over time and cannot decrease. In some cases, such as chemical reactions, this can be measured directly. Entropy is an important driving force in the physical world; Everything tends to chaos (ultimately to the heat death of the universe). But as the saying goes, “Bitcoin’s value isn’t exactly going up.” Similarly, the universe has systems of order on the way to disorder.
Life itself is an affront to the compulsion of increasing entropy. Living beings strive to maintain a level of order throughout their existence. This inevitably leads to the failure of the individual form of life, but this failure must still be seen for life as a whole. Life could be described as the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continuous change before death. It is also defined as a system that can perform functions such as eating, metabolizing, excreting, breathing, moving, growing, reproducing, and responding to external stimuli. In the context of this monologue, I define life as a system that uses the potential energy of its surroundings to stabilize its own entropy. Individual forms of life die, but life goes on. When entropy is a river, life is a fish swimming upstream against the almost insurmountable power of the water.
Unstoppable force, immovable object
In physics class we learn that a greater force outperforms a smaller one; it will either move it, build it in, or destroy it. However, there are types of measurements or planes of existence that do not allow direct comparisons, at least not intuitively. For example, what would win, the sheer volume of my shrill singing voice or the strength of a wine glass? Intuitively, everyone’s primary properties have nothing to do with each other; this can be demonstrated by the units by which they are measured. Audible volume is measured in decibels and my cheap wine glasses are made up of strong bonds between silicon dioxide molecules.
High school math taught me that the measurements of different units were not directly comparable and therefore did not affect one another. However, there is one term that can be applied to both: resonance. With research, practice and many singing lessons, I can learn the resonance with which the chemical bonds in my wine glass vibrate and sing at precisely that pitch. From then on, it’s a simple case of “Which force is stronger?”
It wasn’t what I took for granted as the main characteristics of my voice (decibels of volume) and glass (chemical composition). These concepts are not related. What mattered was the ability to use my voice in such a way that it could act powerfully in the same domain as the glass.
Most of us understand the world around us by perceiving things, measuring them and subconsciously dividing them into a basis of comparison. For example, yesterday I took a cold refreshing beer out of the fridge and enjoyed it. I believe the rest of the beer today will be equally cold and refreshing. I could take for granted the fact that the next beer could serve the same purpose, or it could be a gift for a new neighbor that could foster a strong community or a long and memorable friendship. Same tool, new application. These two concepts, refreshment and friendship, are two concepts that cannot be compared to apples.
I didn’t reinvent the idea of voice resonance, I had to discover it. I didn’t change the beer, just learned how to use it differently. What other concepts do we take for granted that could hold us back as individuals or as living beings?
When I was a kid and wanted my father’s attention, I sometimes stood between him and the television. When he told me to move, I would step back and technically comply with his request (see picture below) while still blocking his view. I would only hold this position for a short time so I don’t stop being charming and start annoying. My path was a movement we could both understand, but it could best be described as orthogonal to his line of sight.
I like the term “orthogonal” to describe two seemingly unrelated concepts. In a classic two-dimensional graph, the x-axis and the y-axis are orthogonal because they can be described in an independent way, but most importantly, they are not completely independent. In fact, they coexist in a very important point, [0,0]. The meaning of zero is brilliantly described by Robert Breedlove in “The Number Zero and Bitcoin”.
Most of us assume that this point is meaningless, but Breedlove complements Brahmagupta’s work to say that zero is not just a kind of final limit of numbers, but also a gateway to negative and imaginary numbers. He says that zero “punched a hole and created a vacuum in the context of math” and that Bitcoin “is the catalyst of a worldwide paradigmatic phase change”. I will combine these concepts and say that Bitcoin is the gateway between the infinity of information and the finitude of matter.
How difficult would it be to block the thrust of an enemy sword with your own point? Not as difficult as finding a single point between dimensions where seemingly unrelated systems can interact and influence each other. Bitcoin holds it tight at the pointed end.
“Let’s get cosmic.” – Marty Bent
In other words, Bitcoin is that [0,0] Coordinate between (still within) the orthogonal dimensions of the physical and the metaphysical. The fact that this relationship was established is a quantitatively unique event. It can be difficult to analogize what I am proposing here. So let’s start with basic concepts. An electron is practically a zero-dimensional object because it has a nearly immeasurable mass and a nearly immeasurable volume. Its path through a wire is analogous to a zero-dimensional object bound by and moving through a one-dimensional plane. If it encountered a slow, stopped, or backward moving electron on the same wire, they would have no choice but to pass each other or collide.
In our world, this means that an electrical force applied to one end of the wire travels to the other end and affects the wire completely; There is no section of wire that is not influenced by the electron. But if you place the same electron on the edge of a thin metal plate (two-dimensional wire), the number of paths to another edge will be numerous. The dimensional degree of freedom is one level higher than in the one-dimensional wire. The likelihood that two electrons will meet on different edges is unlikely. The possible paths are orthogonal and increase exponentially with each higher dimension of freedom. In this example, a zero-dimensional object enables two dimensions of freedom on a two-dimensional plane.
Let us now consider two electrons that have been placed in different places on a metal ball at different times in history since the Big Bang. This ball is a four-dimensional version of our wire that allows four dimensions of freedom. These two electrons have an infinitely small chance of ever meeting. In summary, the dimensional difference between two systems has an exponential effect on the inability to influence each other.
Another interesting example of domain boundaries is the chemical phase change. We all know H2O as solid ice, liquid water and gaseous vapor. These are all areas of the existence of H2O that are limited by physical changes in the pressure-temperature diagram. We regularly observe the transformation of water through boiling, melting, condensing and freezing. Most of us only observe these changes as manipulated by temperature changes. In a sufficiently cold environment (to the left of the triple point in the picture below), reducing the pressure causes solid ice to turn into gas and the liquid state to be completely eliminated. This is known as sublimation and is the process used to make freeze-dried foods, an important tool in increasing their shelf life.
I cannot describe how difficult it is to discover the diffraction between the realm of imagination and the realm of the physical world, since I cannot perceive all dimensions of freedom between them.
“It’s like throwing a pencil over the Empire State Building, turning it around, coming back down and landing on a shoebox on the floor in a storm.” – Tim Urban on SpaceX lands a rocket upright for the first time.
I would like to bet that the electrons in the four dimensional example above will never meet. However, two entities that coexist in multiple dimensions are much more likely to meet. Look at two lines on a graph. These are two one-dimensional objects bound by the same two-dimensional plane.
The graph below shows how two lines representing supply and demand can cross and set an optimal price (all trading depends on supply and demand tied to the same areas so that they can fulfill each other by double Meeting of wishes).
Let’s come back to earth. If supply is the main driver of value (as can be seen from the supply and demand graph), it could be said that everything physical is completely scarce. You would be wrong, of course, but only if supply and demand were seen as too literal to be conceptualized. The hidden complexity of delivery is the amount of work it takes to get goods and services to market. Gold coins are much more useful than gold ore. Frédéric Bastiat describes the relationship between work, property and value in “The Law”. In short, the physical is finite, but not necessarily scarce. This is another perspective on the laws of thermodynamics as unlimited resources are pointless if they cannot be used properly (just ask Venezuela oil producers). Scarcity and value are always measurable in terms of energy and labor, including Bitcoin’s proof of work. So it’s ironic that Bitcoin is the only purely rare thing in the universe and it’s not even purely physical.
I’m looking for zero
Bitcoin is a practical application that spans the interface between the real and the imaginary. In Bitcoin’s Eternal Struggle, Gigi demonstrates Bitcoin’s incentive limits and summarizes them by saying, “Bitcoin is growing on the verge of order and chaos.” He describes how Bitcoin picks up the “chaos” of randomness and ties it into the “order” of the blocks. Bitcoin is that [0,0] that allows us to transform the chaos into order.
Information can be shared without restriction. Information is fire, Satoshi is Zippo and Bitcoin is the lighter. Being able to use something immaterial and bind it in physical form frees us from our physical limits. All it takes is to admit what many of us deny: the physical state is not our final form. The first human epoch was spent understanding the spiritual realm and earning rewards. A short period of human existence was devoted to developing an implementation of the afterlife: the computer.
We got closer to building the Theseus digital ship by reducing ourselves to small parts. This can lead to a fully digital existence or the ability to regenerate in the flesh room elsewhere in the universe. Maybe we can have our cake and eat it too. There will be some uncomfortable truths to face along the way. As
- Is a digital self really the same as the original or just a projection of what we can currently perceive?
- Will our vanity make us pursue perfection by changing either our DNA or our source code?
- Is that the right way of life?
A single living being cannot overcome the power of entropy. Everything that has ever lived has died and decayed. Yet life itself continues to grow and improve. I mentioned above that I believe that life is a “system that works as such to use the potential energy of its surroundings to stabilize its own entropy”. In general, individual forms of life are in competition for resources. But on a grand scale, life itself is making strides in the battle against chaos. There are many examples of living things working together. A lion pride works together to hunt, grow, and survive. Humans as beings of higher intelligence can work together in much more complex ways. Our intelligence survives and continues to grow with every generation.
The difference between an inanimate object and a living being is intelligence. If knowledge is a force of infinite magnitude, it will prevail against anything tied to the limits of the physical world, but it requires proper application. A virus has an intelligence that has a unique application: reproduction. Lions have a higher, but still limited, level of intelligence, the application of which is limited to surviving a pride until a new alpha takes control. Humans have taken the application of knowledge one step further by allowing us to communicate our knowledge directly and by allowing our collective intelligence to grow with each generation. The more effectively we use our intelligence, the closer we can get to the next gateway that will unleash the power of infinity [0,0].
Applying infinite metaphysical concepts to the physical world enables us to achieve the improbable. Not because our knowledge is complete, but because our imagination is limitless. Bitcoin is an order of magnitude improvement for humanity. How many improvements would it take to counter the forces of chaos or to slow them down? Possibly many, but maybe not infinite. What do we currently accept as truth that can be fallible as we grow to a higher level of intelligence: the ultimate end of our species? The heat death of the universe? The expected death of an individual life form? Hope I live long enough to see another broken assumption.
[0,0] is the ultimate goal of degrading the intelligence of life, not only as the common path of the physical and metaphysical, but also as the goal of life as it applies to its change in entropy. If entropy is a current and life is a fish swimming against the current, then the ultimate goal of life is to build a watermill and harness the power of the current or contain it completely. Bitcoin has shown us that we don’t take for granted the impossible of today, which could be an afterthought of tomorrow.
This is a guest post by Corey Edwards. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.