Middle Path Mindset: Navigating Chaos With Bitcoin

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Many Bitcoiners have read the seminal essay by Jeff Booth entitled “Finding Signal in a Noisy World”, and if you’re new to Bitcoin or haven’t read it yet, consider putting it somewhere near the top of your “Rabbit Hole” reading list. Jeff’s illuminations are brilliant and they resonate strongly with something I’ve been studying and trying to follow since AD 1975 PBTC [That’s Pre-Bitcoin]….Yes I’m that old …let’s just move on. The Lindy Effect suggests to us that the longer concepts are valued, the more likely they are to persist. It’s something we hope to see applying to Bitcoin as it continues to grow. We need to go a long way back to re-discover a timeless principle such as the one I’m about to describe. As the Lindy Effect outlines, the reason that principles like this still exist, is simply because they’ve been proven over time to be of great value. Many of these concepts arose at a time when life had fewer distractions and much deeper questions. In that age, the pace of change was much slower than now, and people occupied themselves thinking about much bigger things than what someone just tweeted. Such examples of great wisdom exist to provide us with a model or image to help ground our actions and understandings in knowledge passed down through the ages. In this way, each generation doesn’t have to learn anew, and can build on solid foundations of prior wisdom. I believe that this principle even applies to Bitcoin and how it can center us within a world of chaos. Before we dive in, please understand that I’m not promoting religion of any form, I’d simply like to share a model and philosophy that anyone can apply in their life that is utterly Bitcoin compatible. It is antithetical to greed, fear, selfishness, hatred, aggression, anger, and any other of the “Dark Side” motivations. “Yes Skywalker, principle in Star Wars it was, fortunate were you”.

Most of us are familiar with the “Yin Yang” symbol or as pronounced in Chinese “Taijitu”. It represents the union of opposites that make up the whole, with each side having a kernel of the other. They are often represented as: Male and Female, Light and Shadow, Moon and Sun, and a long list of other opposing aspects. And so, like Skywalker’s father, there was still a seed of good in all of Vader’s bad. Likewise, there is a seed of bad in all that is good; lessons from splitting the atom come to mind. Something that is less frequently discussed is referred to as “The Middle Path”, highlighted in red on the image above. It’s a principle slightly harder to explain, and has been followed by Buddhists and Taoists for centuries as it marks the path between the extremes of light and dark, or good and bad. It is described as the virtuous path to travel through life. Understanding it implies that we can never seek all good, without inviting its opposite and similarly the pursuit of evil begs for more goodness. It is a principle that also lies at the foundation of many martial arts. In traditional thinking, this path has eight aspects:

  • Right View
  • Right Aspiration
  • Right Speech
  • Right Conduct
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

The principle of The Middle Path is at the core of great thinking, and when understood, can become a useful guide to navigating life’s aspirations and challenges. I would even venture to ask that when you read the 8 aspects outlined above, [try it again], are there any you can see that SHOULDN’T apply to your own life, or that don’t apply to Bitcoin for that matter? If they were followed by everyone, would the world be a happier more equitable, fulfilling and peaceful place? It would seem so. Would aspiring to the above as well as adopting Bitcoin be a virtuous journey? That would also seem so.

Here’s our challenge; the Middle Path has never been paved, it moves and breathes with life’s circumstances, and not everyone follows it. This is why the pursuit of these virtues is not always easy; walking the middle path takes practice and awareness. Some people foolishly depart the path for their own personal gain, Bankman- Fried for example. Others, believing they are more clever than the rest, attempt to improve circumstances while not fully anticipating the consequences of their actions. In doing so, unforeseen troubles abound, distorting the path ahead. Did someone whisper replacing gold with fiat as an example? Sometimes the path meanders like a lazy river, but recently with too much greed and short sightedness, more like a snake with stomach cramps. Finding our way along this path can be both challenging and rewarding. Travelling it was beautifully described by Joseph Campbell’s “Heroe’s Journey”, which illustrates themes for innumerable parables and stories that we love, including that of “Young Luke Skywalker”.

In times of chaos, could you do better than to follow virtuous principles with a virtuous store of value and exchange like Bitcoin?………… Hard to do; the Force it follows; so hard to do it would be.”

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