Bitcoin, Autism, and Dąbrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration
I have long suspected the phenomenon of nocoinerism that runs rampant throughout the world today would eventually become one of the most interesting research areas for the field of psychology. In a discussion of “how much bitcoin is enough?” Maslow’s heirarchy of needs was brought up, which reminded me that when I had looked into it, I found it rather facile and took an affinity instead toward an alternative developmental psychology framework by Dąbrowski, the Theory of Positive Disintegration.
Over the past year, the app Clubhouse drew me in and I felt a need to orange-pill people, but I am happy to say I have finally gotten that out of my system. I am no longer an orange-pilling maximalist, and I do not care whether people have fun staying poor. This shift past the evangelical stage seems to be a common occurence among Bitcoiners and the sentiment is superbly captured in Aleks Svetski’s recent piece, Bitcoiners are the remnant, the masses don’t matter. So why does the psychology of the nocoiner and the Bitcoiner matter? — Perhaps exchange companies that make it their business to help people understand Bitcoin would be interested, though in my case, I just am curious to understand what’s going on merely for the sake of understanding since it is by far the most important event that human life will ever pass through.
I am also starting to build a Bitcoin company now, and seemingly would benefit from a more precise understanding of what makes a nocoiner or precoiner become a Bitcoiner. However, I have shifted away from business models based around orange-pilling that initially attracted me. Eventually, attempting to scale orange-pilling will turn into attempts to shape and control emergent egrogores, which is likely infeasible without institutions an order of magnitude more powerful than an individual company, let alone a startup (even once public).
This is why I prefer to build tools that can be used in multiple ways — once by the nocoiner, and then by the bitcoiner, and I can remain fairly neutral to when or how that transition takes place. The company is called Caliber Contracts, and it enables a shift in employment contracts such that they are partially denominated in (not paid in!) inflation-resistant assets, a concept that intuitively makes sense to everyone, especially after this past year, regardless of their views on Bitcoin. Caliber Contracts fully automates a new type of salary that tracks employee-selected alternative assets, keeps companies market-neutral to those assets, and then integrates with the company’s existing payroll system (Caliber Contracts also solves the inherent game theoretic challenges / risk-assymetries that can arise from this…).
Precoiners will use a basket of equities as their inflation-resistant money, which is conceptually sort of a more volatile subset (with an absorbing barrier due its non-ergodicity) of a real money, which operates as an index of literally everything. Caliber Contracts will prime people to make this conceptual leap more easily since the concept of “money” is something most people struggle profoundly with, and it will provide a lower latency entry point into Bitcoin than direct purchase on an exchange (due to a combination of sign-up friction, and engineered shitcoin distraction/confusion in the overwhelming majority of exchanges).
Bitcoin companies in general will outperform, but this uncommon structure will enable Caliber Contracts to outperform most (if not all) other Bitcoin companies. This is a new type of tool. One that could be considered a critical vulnerability in the entire fiat system since it funnels the stolen value within cheap corporate debt to corporate wage-slaves — we are breaking the Cantillon effect before the final transition and taking a piece of the world’s largest arbitrage opportunity. The alpha version of the app is now deployed, and if you are an employer that is interested in using Caliber Contracts when the beta launches, please let me know (or send this to other people who might be interested).
The Levels of Dabrowski’s Positive Disintegration Theory
So getting back to the topics I teased and away from my “infomercial” plug, there are five levels to Dabrowski’s theory, each of which strongly parallels the experience a bitcoiner might go through, since most have not reached the final level. But this gives us something to speculate about — what will it be like to be a Bitcoiner after hyperbitcoinization for people that become Bitcoiners at various times prior to the fiat0 singularity? What will Bitcoiners do that reach the final level?
The overarching premise is based on the idea that it is flawed to be well-adapted to a society that is itself wrong at a deep unfixable level. It follows that those of sound mind become disintegrated from this broken system, naturally leading to a more chaotic state, followed by eventually finding a saddle-point with some new standards. This flow strongly parallels the remnant theory that Alex Svetski has layed out, including in his follow-up piece on the remnant.
I find it curious that the Wikipedia article (which I’d highly recommend) ends with the criticism section as follows:
No suitable psychological test exists that measures any Dąbrowskian constructs well. The most widely known instrument, the Overexcitability Questionnaire—Two, has poor psychometric properties.
How very fiat of them to have such a strong attachment to legibility as the fundamental aspect from which to establish veracity in a field that is inherently not Popperianly falsifiable. Well either way, now we have a metric for them — your bitcoin stack, or perhaps some convoluted formula that also looks at the delta between first buy and becoming a Bitcoin Crazy Person is a pretty good indicator of overexcitability and developmental potential. Becoming a Bitcoiner is clearly well-correlated to advancing through the different levels, but in setting a new standard, it will be possible for Bitcoiners to stagnate in the lowest levels as they gradually deplete their stack over multiple generations.
Let us consider how each live maps to the world and Bitcoin today.
Level I: Primary Integration:
This is the stage most people are at and we could define this as the category of the normies. People at this level are driven by base biological impulses, ego, and operate in ways that ebb and flow with the whims of “society”, presenting behavior that might be considered stable. This category includes psycopathic “leaders” as well as their clueless followers.
People sometimes temporary break out of this state, but usually go right back to it, as it’s a stable attractor, and the next stages are highly volatile until the end state is reached. This is the state of first order thinking, at least within certain dimensions where it is unlikely one will escape from the scope in which one is in. Naturally, just about every person on the planet can relate to this, except perhaps for Satoshi, simply by our failure to become maximalists not just when the whitepaper was released, but prior to it as well when few of us yearned for it.
Level II: Unilevel disintegration:
This is the first step of disruption from one’s primary integration, often portrayed as the idea of “waking up” or “taking the orange-pill”, but it is not actually a singular event, which likely explains the experience we may have of feeling that we helped things finally click for someone, only to see with evidence that materializes some months or years later that they seem to have never actually gotten it at all, or perhaps that they knew for an instance, but then managed to destroy the memory and recover to a prior neural arrangement.
Unilevel disintegration may give some insight into this phenomenon. Disintegration typically begins with some sort of conflict or existential crisis, at which point one may begin to question the values one has been instilled to hold by society, and determine that society is in the wrong. Since nothing in the built world goes untouched by money, and since fiat poisons everything it touches, the engaged person always has a conflict to uncover if they are sincere in observing the space through which they move, live, work, or create. It is unilevel in the sense that there is still some uncertainty about which thing is higher or lower, with an awareness that there are a number of different things whose relative merits require further assesment.
The internal conflicts are fairly serious here, and this is considered a transitory state. Once the conflict is triggered, most people will run back to level one, since this level also has escape by suicide or psychosis. Given that many people are incapable or unwilling to progress to the next level, by presenting them with information that conflicts with their primary integration, their brain will automatically factor in this suicide/psychosis risk, and is likely to reject any information and be unable to process any data they are presented in a logical rather than emotional process. Those with autism do not exhibit this risk reduction method, and thus are far more likely to grapple with the problems of the world, after which they may progress further into disintegration, compelled to move in the general direction of that which is right.
Moreover, most people (especially level 1ers) are Boydian be-somebody types rather than do-something types, which means their ego and sense of self cannot be decoupled from what it is they do and think. So it is not just the suicide risk, but a sort of suicide itself for these people to move away from their identities. These people’s attachments to society are rather effiminate, and the more autistic person can more easily be a true individual, but the person who will have the least trouble in progressing past this stage is whoever considers themself to be no one.
(Arya Stark under the tutelage of a faceless man learning to be no one in Game of Thrones, some time after the crisis of having most of her family murdered.)
Level III: Spontaneous multilevel disintegration
In the third level, a clear heirarchy emerges between higher and lower values, with the realization of the choice that exists in acting in alignment with the higher values or disregarding them. Moreover, imagined ideals come into existence against which one can contrast one’s actions. Whenever one falls short of this ideal, there is a conflict that drives toward some change. Many bitcoiners find themselves here and as they work through these conflicts, they are implicitly building out the moral frameworks upon which civilization will rest post-hyperbitcoinization.
The Great Bitcoiner Divide: There is a sense here that Bitcoin will be immensely beneficial to the world, but there may be a disconnect from how society will operate on a Bitcoin standard. In fact, some people have such a poor understanding and disinterest in authentically pursuing higher ideals, that they regress into a new form of level 1 primary integration, with bitcoin, but not with Bitcoin. Since bitcoin is immensely valuable to the individual, a person may be an aimless sociopath or clueless individual even as a holder of bitcoin since they purely operate within narrow self-interest in the first order effect that their wealth will greatly increase. They do not understand, nor do they care to understand the higher order effects. They are again social creatures that can be considered only semi-individuals. This possibility of a stable level 1 is an indicator of stage of Bitcoin. Positive disintegration is a common path to Bitcoin now, but few have the developmental potential to go through this process. Their only option is to find a lateral level 1 primary integration, perhaps accessible with a quick, pleasant, curated trip to level 2 unilevel disintegration. It is very difficult for outside observers, especially those at level 1 without bitcoin, to notice the difference between bitcoiners that have gone back to primary integration and those that have gone further. There will come a point where the tactics will shift from “orange-pilling” to “tools that normalize” (I see Caliber Contracts as a prime candidate for capturing market share of the new normal of primary integration while everyone else is busy orange-pilling the dregs of the orange-pillable, among whom I arguably am as well. Trojan-horsing will be key.).
This primary integration gap is what the Silicon Valley VC faux-tech shitcoiners have achieved. The unaccomplished with low developmental potential, the purest of parasites, naturally latched on. Whereas the genuinely accomplished, such as Marc Andreessen or Peter Thiel, made a more deliberate choice in their degeneracy — it was willful rather than circumstantial, a weakness of will, no doubt exacerbated by the environmental factors that is destroying them at a cellular level as I type these words — the blood of a fiat youth is no match for the devestation of the fiat poisons that surround us (a topic for another time, which if you care at all about, you will already be well-versed in). The shitcoin memetic weapon was achievable specifically because of how skeumorphic and non-innovative it was — just like an ideal money has no intrinsic value, an ideally scalable meme must be based upon zero real innovation, for it would slow down “understanding”. The shitcoin world is one and the same as the fiat world, so I actually see it as less impossible than most that Ethereum would flip Bitcoin before its eventual collapse. In fact, I hope it does based purely on the number of dumb bitcoiners I’ve met and wanting those bitcoin to find smarter hands faster. The people that live their lives on logic rather than emotion are mostly here already, so the path forward may meander until the physics does what it inevitably does.
Level IV: Directed multilevel disintegration
How do we know which bitcoiners are simply filling in the scaffolding of the new level 1 and which ones represent the tip of the spear? — I’d argue it can be determined by whether the person truly understands that Bitcoin fixes everything. The person who cannot help but scoff at such a notion is the nocoiner whose path will be joing the bitcoin level 1 primary integration once we have built it out sufficiently (another way to partition is whether people stopped believing in S2F before or after it failed as spectacularly as it just did).
Level IV is where the third factor of developmental potential, the drive toward autonomy and striving for that which may be out of reach, emerges. Here is greater clarity and sense of responsibility across all things, and of course, since Bitcoin fixes everything, it is natural to feel responsible to some degree for the entire world — when you hold Bitcoin, you hold up the entire world. This also where true pro-social behavior emerges, which is likely the reason why bitcoin meetups are so much more pleasant than the rest of the disease-ridden “society” of anti-social parasites. Autism may hinder integration, but provides immunity against these anti-social tendencies of nocoiners, precoiners, and shitcoiners. The mere existence of Bitcoiners operating at this level in contrast, elevates society. The peculariaty of Bitcoin is that the most important thing to do is nothing, which is a bit tricky for people to notice other than via NgU. The other ideals cannot yet be implemented in a way that ripples out and elevates the rest of society until after hyperbitcoinization, but even then, order and guidance of ideas will emerge from a top-level that complement the inherent bottom-up economic forces.
Those who profess so-called monetary maximalism who engage in grifting via shitcoins and NFTs are psycho-socially aligned with the bonafide shitcoiners, perhaps a less narcissistic psycopath of the fiat-shitcoiner level 1 primary integration. There is something fundamentally different about these people in that they appear to not progress to hold themselves to any ideals, and without ideals, they are bound to forever be aimless. So regardless of any accusation that there is some moral failing, it is simply a pity to see such uninspired meaningless activity from those who could know better. These people sometimes think themselves the sort that will build meaningful or useful things some day, but I am highly skeptical of such people. Those who truly wish to build are pained by the brokenness of the world under fiat for they truly understand the impediments brought forth at a visceral level, and I do not believe someone with such an understanding is likely capable of degenerate shitcoinery.
Level V: Secondary Integration
This is the peak of true integration where one is living in accordance with one’s ideals, resulting in minimal internal conflict. This is where creativity and art may arise, and since the empathy for the human condition here is the foundation for art, it is trivial to see that anyone minting an NFT is not an authentic artist. This is where society avances from. Arguably, it is impossible to level a sound life under the conditions of fiat as one would like so conflict remains due to the enormity and breadth of the fiat world. This is why we aspire to live in the citadel, where we do not have to make great compromises.
Hyperbitcoinization and Realizing Secondary Integration
But the question arises as to the practicality of forming a citadel, where a new level 1 primary integration may stabilize for the masses. It may happen eventually, but it might not be the fastest approach. Instead, why can we not hack the substrate of the fiat level 1 the way shitcoiners do such that the emotional labor of becoming a bitcoiner can be minimized? This is the essence of a trojan-horsing product such as Caliber Contracts, which inserts itself into the behavioral patterns that are already present rather than attempting to introduce novel ones. The fiat standard is an incredibly broad system, built specifically to be illegible among other things. Caliber Contracts (in essence, an arbitrage play on the Cantillon effect arising from the incorrectly, non-zero-present value in the implicit labor-money swap agreement that is employment, when the monetary basis is swapped) proves that fiat can be hacked away at in a far more direct sense rather than simply building another tool that may attract the stragglers among the remnant.
Anyway, I doubt I’ve said anything new here, and apologies for this presumably being poorly written. I know in principle I should be valuing your time more than mine since there is only one of me and numerous readers, but I don’t quite see it that way, for what has the remnant ever done to find me?
The Remnant exists
They will find you
Sorry, but I’ve made the strongest materials in the universe, figured out the correct solution to pandemics (which also was our best shot of fighting against the tyranny pandemic given Bitcoin is in its infancy), inadvertently built what may be the best device for treating severe COVID after building the foundational technologies for human health/wellness in the modern world, now building what appears to be one of it not the most interesting Bitcoin companies (mostly bootstrapped, with only a couple small, more recent angel checks), and you have the gall to think I should be editing what I write — if you don’t like it, the unsubscribe button is below. I will write what must be written when it is time do so, and not a moment sooner. Since it is apparently time for most hodlers to do nothing, I will not edit with the expectation that anyone might be searching, I will simply carry on with what needs to be done since the resources needed are minimal for those who seek truth, and I suspect I do, for I have things I must get back to when this is all over.