Robert Breedlove: Bitcoin, Freedom, and Love with Nozomi Hayase (WiM192)
Link to the YouTube: https://youtu.be/1W_awcknjkk
Robert Breedlove: Nozomi Hayase, welcome to the What is Money Show.
Nozomi Hayase: Thank you for having me, Robert, it’s great to be on your show.
Robert Breedlove: Thank you so much, it’s really great to have you here. The writing you’ve been putting out on the deeper aspects of Bitcoin, let’s say, has been very good, so I’m happy that we’re getting to talk and explore some of this. Maybe by way of introduction, if you want to give just a quick background on yourself: how you discovered Bitcoin, what you’re doing currently? I guess I should say for the audience how we connected: you’re a known Bitcoin proponent, you’re a wonderful writer, we connected on Twitter. Again, big fan of your writing so I wanted to have you on and talk through some of this, but if you want to give the audience a little bit of background, that would be helpful.
Nozomi Hayase: Okay, yeah. So since I was young, I was always interested in finding out: Who am I? The question of Who am I? or the purpose of life. The big philosophical questions, I guess. Because I felt like if we don’t understand who we are as human beings, I feel like we cannot even start a life. So these philosophical questions really drove me, and then that led me to study philosophy and psychology. So my background is in academia, so I studied psychology intensively. And then initially I thought that’s how the society works is that maybe a bunch of psychologists or philosophers — the experts, so to speak — they are maybe having meetings behind closed doors defining what it means to be human, and then somehow that knowledge is passed on through education or through institutions and then create the incentives, I guess, to make us behave in a certain way. And then as I studied psychology more and more, I started to recognize that this is not really the case, that it’s not the people in academia — the experts — are coordinating this and doing this, but it’s more of the economic forces how money is used, how the financial systems along with political systems are used to push humanity in a certain direction. So then I found Bitcoin, and Bitcoin is money. And for me, what fascinated me the most is how somehow Bitcoin brought new incentives and how through this money a new network is created and people started to behave differently. So that really caught my eyes. And as Max Keiser often says, We don’t change Bitcoin, Bitcoin changes us, so he always points at that, and I started to really witness that phenomena that how deploying this new code and this technology, somehow people started to behave differently. And so I got very much interested in Bitcoin from that angle. So my foremost interest in Bitcoin is people who are in this space and how the interaction between the code and human beings can interface between human behavior and economics. So around that time when I discovered Bitcoin at the same time, I learned about cryptography, the power of cryptography, and how the code is law. I started to hear this expression, The code is law, that regulates human behavior one way or the other. So then I soon made the connection that it’s not just a bunch of experts and psychologists controlling our behavior, implementing the school curriculum — I mean of course there is that component, too — but it’s more of the deployment of code, the deployment of incentives through economic forces, and that ultimate system that makes us behave in a certain way. So then obviously I found the potential for Bitcoin to change the system at the global scale, at the largest scale, by changing the code, changing the incentives, and then allowing us to act with laws of nature — fundamental principles that guide us. And at the core of Bitcoin — at the end of my investigation or exploration which is a continuous process which I didn’t think it would ever end, but — I found that what is at the core of Bitcoin is an uncorrupted view of humanity: the accurate view of humanity that is aligned with our human nature. And because of it, I think Bitcoin brings us back to the natural world, or aligns human civilization with its foundation. So then everything just became clear to me that this is it! This is what I was looking for in my entire life! Bitcoin basically gives us — Bitcoin’s revelatory experience that we enter into — it’s a process of knowing ourselves, this Know Thyself. It engages us in the deep search for truth. Truth about who we are. So for me it’s like Bitcoin is psychology. Bitcoin is philosophy. So that’s how everything came to wholeness with Bitcoin.
Robert Breedlove: Wow, well thank you for that, that’s a beautiful introduction and fascinating story. I love that you describe incentives sculpting our actions, really, which I think if you really drill down into not just human psychology, but it seems like even animal psychology, they respond to incentives. So we can direct — I don’t want to say the only determinant, but a prime determinant of human action is the incentive schema that he or she inhabits, and this ties directly into Charlie Munger’s quote, Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome. So the incentives themselves that we codify — we create the systems, we create the incentive systems that we inhabit, we build our own homes, we build our own nation states, our own legal systems, all of that, but — those constructions reflect back into us. They change our psychology, they change our modes of action, our modes of being, and this is important too because, as you said, Code is law — this does not just mean software code. The US Constitution is code: we wrote a code and we built a civilization around it. And in that scope, Bitcoin is essentially a better form of code or a more unbreakable form of code, maybe. I’ve often said the US Constitution is great if you interpret it in its purest sense, but because it’s just scribbles on a sheet of paper and there aren’t real incentives that give it teeth the way Bitcoin has teeth, it’s sort of inferior, in my opinion.
Nozomi Hayase: Yeah, definitely. And I think that Bitcoin is actually the fulfillment of the US Constitution, in my opinion, and the foundation of the US Constitution, really, involves the question of how to balance, how to build a civilization based on human nature. And the Founding Fathers understood that we have a fallen nature — we have darkness within — as well as a perfectible self: divine, god-like selves. And they were trying to somehow reconcile the internal contradiction within ourselves, how to hold our unredeemed part of ourselves accountable. So that created this system of checks and balances with three branches of government, each one checking the other. But then they failed in some ways because they fundamentally have not found a way — because it’s based on human trust, human beings who are corruptible — so obviously they couldn’t accomplish what they set out to do. And now we have mathematics which is incorruptible, and basing the system on this incorruptible mathematics we can actually achieve, we can find a way to balance, account for our own darkness as well as striving for something good.
Robert Breedlove: Yeah, higher human flourishing or higher human civilization. So I was talking about this with a friend last night: beneath the surface I think in all of us — maybe not all of us, but most of us — there’s this aspiration to leave the world better than you found it. I’m not saying this is universal, but it seems like we’re born with it, at least. Maybe we have it in our innocence and we lose it later in life, but there’s a real struggle because you can want what’s better for more people but then you encounter the harsh scarcities of reality and you’ve got to take care of this meat suit and go out and make sure you’re okay and somehow balance that with the interest of others, and it looks like the Founding Fathers were trying to strike that balance — that’s what the US Constitution was. And to your point, they recognized human fallibility. It was almost like anti — it was before Marxism, obviously, but — it was anti-Marxism in the sense that Marxism was saying, Here’s the final solution, final answer, the utopia, and the Founding Fathers are like, No, look: this is really based on a Judeo-Christian worldview that we’re all fallen, we’re all sinful, we’re all corruptible, so let’s build a non-utopic decentralized mode of governance that can adapt.
Nozomi Hayase: Exactly, and that honest account of ourselves, that’s I think one of the contributions that Satoshi Nakamoto did, really, is that he made this honest account of ourselves that we are fallible, we have this darkness within, as well as perfectible. And to be able to say — because we tend to deny our fallibility, like deny leading or a tendency to control, dominate others, and then we tend to have this idealistic view of ourselves, like we humans are good, altruistic, and lovable, and things like that, and we easily delude ourselves. And I think that Satoshi was able to say, Hey, we contain within ourselves this inherent darkness as a part of nature, that if you look at the animal kingdoms or natural world, nature is cruel: it’s a dog-eat-dog world and the exploitation — I mean the prey and predator and all that stuff, and we have this animal part within ourselves. And if that is not checked, we could go out of control. So the Founding Fathers recognized the potential seed for tyranny — I think Satoshi also recognized this.
Robert Breedlove: Yeah, and we were talking about this a little bit offline, but framing Bitcoin as the Philosopher’s Stone is just so damn interesting — something that was talked about for many hundreds of years. A number of things, but one was the instantiation of the principles of Christ in matter, another was the unifier of opposites, which we talked a little bit about, and then the third way the Philosopher’s Stone was described was as an antidote to tyranny in the world. And it’s interesting because what we have with Bitcoin is a new form of software that’s has a very tight grip on reality through Proof-of-Work mining — it’s like integrated into energy, if you will — and this technology is having implications or effects on our own code. The way I think about this is: maybe this is not an exact term, but we’re running cognitive code. We’re all running some kind of software to be conscious — what the brain is. It’s the organic computer — whatever you want to call that. Well our cognitive code is interfacing or interacting with legal codes, immoral codes, software codes, all these different codes we’ve created for ourselves, and I guess the essence of whatever is written into that code has a mutual influential effect on our mind. And that’s what seems to be happening with Bitcoin, and it’s changing us.
Nozomi Hayase [16:45]: Yeah, and what I found interesting is that we tend to think that laws exist in the outside, that laws are written in a written form, but a lot of laws actually are internal. Like you said, it’s cognitive. So that culture has sets of principles and that regulates our behavior. So for instance, I grew up in Japan. So Japanese culture had certain customs and ways of being, and even though I moved to the US, I carry these laws within myself, and then when I interact with Americans, for instance, I catch myself: Wow, I am operating with Japanese code. So for instance in Japan we have freedom of speech but the cultural code creates a friction because culturally we are not allowed to speak freely, so we kind of regulate our behavior at the unconscious level by self-centering, and there is no external law or anything making us to behave like that, even though that freedom of speech exists, technically, but we don’t allow ourselves to claim that right because of the cultural code. So that’s why I found it interesting that Bitcoin is global and Bitcoin is creating a new culture enabling a new set of universal human rights code, so to speak — and freedom is universal. Freedom should be applied to everyone. Freedom of speech should be applied to everyone around the world regardless of their background: gender, cultural, religious background. And Bitcoin does that. And Bitcoin really I think disrupts the cultural code as well, so that’s why Bitcoin changes us! Bitcoin changes us to act in a way that we actually can transcend the limitation of our own culture, so I find it very empowering to watch that, like people in El Salvador: they claimed freedom and that Bitcoin development is really changing their culture as well.
Robert Breedlove [19:03]: Yeah, I would go so far to say: if we are running some type of cognitive software — if we just describe consciousness as that — you could almost say culture is that distributed database of our ancestor’s experience. We’ve all been running the software for many many many generations and we codify the internal software experience into some external code which becomes the mythologies that rule our life, whether that’s a nation-state or church, whatever — it’s codified into this structure.
Nozomi Hayase: Story, mythological story, and even the story of a democracy: we carry this mythology of democracy, that actually we don’t live in a democratic state but then at the same time there’s a story of democracy and the history and the things and we think that we have democracy and then act within that framework. And what I found interesting is that at the global level, the fiat system or fiat culture is based on a certain way of looking at human beings that trace back to the behaviorist ideas of: we don’t have anything innate, we are born empty like tabula rasa and so that everybody can be molded to whatever the state or the society wants them to be. So if you have this view that we are born with just a blank state of mind — we don’t have any character, we don’t have any personality, we don’t have spirit or soul or something that makes us be unique individuals — if we build society based on this idea, then obviously everything has to be dependent on external control, and education becomes such that they want to fill out or give us information so that we absorb it and then we become somebody instead of gradually emerging into our personhood.
Robert Breedlove: Right, it necessitates top-down control because they think we’re blank slates, so that someone has to put the message.
Nozomi Hayase: Exactly, and then what’s interesting is that the behavior is such as John B. Watson — I know you probably know these psychologists — the John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. The famous one is B. F. Skinner. So they basically believe that we don’t have free will, and then there isn’t anything — I mean they might acknowledge that there is such a thing as a mental life, but they saw that it’s not observable and so there’s no point of studying or investigating feeling, or motives, the internal life of humanity, humankind, because we cannot really scientifically approach these data. And so that’s why, for them, thinking is behaving, so they focus on behavior. Behavior is observable. Behavior is visible. So then based on this empirical scientific method to understand human beings, they missed out on the largest part of what makes us human: consciousness, feeling, individuality, and all that kind of stuff. And then out of that incomplete understanding, they try to build a system, and what I found is that basically central bankers — the people behind central banks — they are behaviorists: they want to control human behavior because they fundamentally do not believe in things like destiny, things like individuality, our uniqueness. That’s why they are focused on controlling the population.
Robert Breedlove [23:25]: Yeah, that’s a very excellent observation. I guess it would probably be useful for us here to try and define freedom, free will, determinism for people. I’m clearly speaking very biased as someone that describes himself as a freedom maximalist, but I don’t understand how anyone can look inside themselves and not understand that they are the ultimate decision-maker. You may face external pressures, but I always point to Victor Frankl’s Final Human Freedom and Man’s Search for Meaning, where he describes that we all have this fundamental freedom that no one can take away, and that is the gap between our circumstances and our response to our circumstances. So that seems very intuitive and obvious to me, but this is a very hotly debated topic: like, does free will even exist? Are we just deterministic automatons? How do you unpack those concepts?
Nozomi Hayase [24:29]: Okay, so I know that quote of: Our responsibility…basically. So we are like animals. We are governed by instinct. So then we have instinctual impulses when we’re hungry: we eat. And when we are threatened by force then we automatically find a way to respond, to react, to protect ourselves. And these instinctually-driven acts do not involve our consciousness. It’s like an automatic reflex of muscles: when you touch something hot it bypasses our conscious involvement. We say ouch and we remove our hands from something hot. And animals are governed by instinct, so nature in some ways protects all the creatures through instinct, through granting them this wisdom of instinct. And human beings are also I think guided by that or governed by instinct, but at the same time what sets man apart from animals is that we actually have more flexibility and we have the ability to respond to instinctual urges that arise within us. So animals, for instance, if they are hungry, they hunt: they eat whatever they need to eat. The choices of their course of actions are limited. Whereas humans, like if I’m hungry, I could just steal food that is available and fulfill my hunger. Or, I could make a choice to say, You know, I’m gonna use my money, I’m gonna go to a grocery store and buy something and cook something. So that choice, I think, is a very important one because then humans — with that ability to make choices that are not dictated by animal instinct — allow us to build a civilization, allow us to build the different way of being that is more civil, peaceful, instead of acting out of this reptilian brain aggression and violence and fear. We can go beyond that. We can choose to act in a way that is collaborative and polite or civilized, etc. So that space within us that allows us to make the choice to withstand this in the midst of these instinctual urges, that tiny space is a freedom, in my opinion. But I think our culture has to recognize this, this property of freedom, and cultivate it so that each person can have a conscious relationship to their instinctual urges and then dictate instead of being dictated, but to guide their actions through their consciousness. And that leads to the development of morality and development of conscience, and I think that our society — of course based on this behaviorism that basically denies free will, denies freedom — doesn’t even acknowledge this space, so that’s I think what Bitcoin is doing. Bitcoin points to that. Bitcoin reminds us of the defining feature of what it means to be human and how we are different from other mammals. We share something similar and something in common, but at the same time we have responsibility that other animals don’t have, other species don’t have in that type of freedom.
Robert Breedlove [28:45]: Yeah it’s brilliantly said. So I think you defined here freedom as the absence of compulsion, essentially. So the more we as humanity, we as human beings, can get compulsion out of our interrelations, the better off we are, the more reasonable society is. And maybe one way to think about this — so you’re describing the instinctual response — I’m reminded of this story of I think it was Charles Darwin, actually, that he was looking at a glass case with a cobra in it. And when the cobra would strike him — this cobra couldn’t hit him, like couldn’t get through the glass case, but — every time it would strike, he would try to lean his face to the glass case and not recoil when the cobra would strike, but he simply could not do it! There was some deeper-level operating system taking over, like every time that snake moves towards you, you recoil. Almost like when you sneeze, you close your eyes. There’s no override for it. Maybe we could think of that instinct as a very base-level code — that’s a code that animals are running — we’re also running, but we’re different from the animals. And then we have this higher-order human reason which is much more sophisticated software, if you will, and as you said, the interesting thing there is like, Okay, you get hungry: well, the path of least resistance might be to just grab your friend’s food and eat it, to steal their food and eat it. But if we use human reason to engage in delayed gratification — I mean, that is the basis of civilization right there: the fact that you decide not to do what’s best for your egoic self but do something that’s more reasonable for the long-term interest of yourself and the long-term interests of those around you. That’s the kernel around which we build civilization. Just deciding to cooperate rather than compel one another. So is the trick then — and this is where I think Bitcoin’s so important — if incentives sculpt or cause outcomes, then isn’t our primary aim in the building of human civilization, shouldn’t it be to remove incentives to compulsion? Make compulsion less profitable and therefore the outcome of compulsion will go away and therefore human reason would flourish and we become more wealthy through more cooperation, less compulsion, things like this?
Nozomi Hayase [31:32]: Exactly. That’s beautifully said. And also I wanted to point out the fact that instinct itself has wisdom, so it’s something that preserves our life and we shouldn’t override the intelligence of it. Nature created us perfectly so that when I touch something hot, I react immediately and then the speed is just perfect, and if I try to do it better than nature does — no, we can’t. But I think what’s happening is that these behaviorists of the world, so to speak — central bankerss of the world — they they denied free will but also they try to I think outsmart nature so that they suppress, they make us not to connect, not to trust our instinct. And they create institutions — trusted third-party systems — and that we have to now, instead of trusting our own intuition and connecting with our bodies, with them, that we are made to trust them, and they basically provided this moral code based on dualistic moralism that this is right, this is wrong, the competitive nature is bad, greed is bad, that acting out of self-interest is bad, that you have to be nice, kind, all of that stuff. So they basically engineered a moral code, and that became very destructive, in my opinion, because it disconnected us from nature, disconnected from our instinct, and then if we don’t connect with instinct at the base layer, the freedom that I just talked about — this space who has to respond meaningfully to the instinctual urges — that won’t work either because we are not getting the signal from nature.
Robert Breedlove [33:58]: So I mean you made the the argument here that the behaviorists are essentially viewing free will as an illusion, freedom as an illusion. It’s just all deterministic, clockwork, all the way down. That obviously doesn’t work because to even say that as a behaviorist: who’s driving you? Who’s mechanically pulling your strings to make such a comment? I’ll read one of these quotes you have here and this is a behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner on freedom. He wrote that: “We do not need to try to discover what personalities, states of mind, feelings, traits of character, plans, purposes, intentions, or other prerequisites of autonomous man really are in order to get on with a scientific analysis of behavior.” Thinking is behaving, as you said earlier. The mistake is in allocating the behavior to the mind. So this is a denial of choice, a denial of the reality of the ability to choose, the ability to respond, a denial of that final freedom?
Nozomi Hayase [35:26]: Self-agency or individuality. There’s something unique within humanity, basically.
Robert Breedlove: Right, and so that’s the model. That’s the model we built the financial system on top — that’s the scientific basis of central banking.
Nozomi Hayase [35:46]: Right, and I literally think that it’s just blindedness. I think Skinner — I mean he’s sincere in his experiment and everything, that he really believes in this notion that anything that cannot be observable doesn’t exist. It’s not like he’s just doing it to control humans. He’s sincere, but it’s just that he’s blind — it’s like a blind person can’t see the world like most of us do. That’s the world that they see. So I think the central bankers, the behaviorists, they are just blind. They don’t have the comprehension, the real understanding of what a human being is. And so I thought about this for a long time because people tend to say, This world is driven by psychopaths, driven by people with ill intentions. And I came to an understanding that they are just blind. They are ignorant. And just as the Gospel of Saint John, Genesis says, In the beginning was the word and the word was God and in darkness comprehended not. So darkness comprehended not. So darkness cannot comprehend light — it’s just blind. And in the same way, I find that the fiat world is run by people who are blind. And I think what Bitcoin brings is compassion. Instead of fighting against those people or looking at them as enemies, Bitcoin basically shines a light in a way that the darkness becomes a part of it without changing — I mean it’s hard to explain, but I find Bitcoin’s way of changing the world is very compassionate. Compassionate intervention. It doesn’t try to fight with evil. It just acknowledges that, Okay humanity, you guys are just ignorant. You guys are blind, and now it’s time to open your eyes, and here is the light.
Robert Breedlove [38:07]: Yeah, it’s beautifully said. I’m reminded here I’ll be doing this series later with a gentleman John Vervaeke on this book Plato’s Critique of Impure Reason, but it talks about how in Plato’s Republic, they’re wrestling with the idea of the relative versus the absolute a lot, and one of the points they make is that the absolute can actually transcend the relative but still encompass the relative. So it’s like we’re transcending our own darkness in a way but it’s by integrating. It’s kind of like the Carl Jung thing too where you integrate your shadow or integrate your inner monster to be a fully developed person. We’re almost doing that at like a social level, perhaps.
Nozomi Hayase [39:00]: Exactly. It’s understanding that, Okay, Skinner, behaviorists, you guys see the world through your own lenses and it has [the implication? 39:12], of course. And that’s okay — that world exists. I give validation to your opinion and your perspective. I don’t in any way try to destroy your world, but there is something more — and here is something more. And you might not recognize, you might not be able to see it, but we could coexist. So then that creates a choice. That creates an opening, I think, that those who want to go to experience life in a different way that goes beyond the limitation of the world defined by behaviorists, now we have a choice with Bitcoin. And for those who want to stay in that world, please do so — that’s your world. So that’s how I see it.
Robert Breedlove [39:55]: Yeah that’s beautifully put. Bitcoin — it’s kind of a paradox too where you’re “forced” to interact with Bitcoin at some point, but not really — you’re not actually compelled or coerced, there’s just incentives. It’s in your interest to save in Bitcoin versus save in dollars, for instance.
Nozomi Hayase [40:15]: And I think what’s interesting is that if behaviorists only can see observed behavior, then through Bitcoin people start to behave differently, so that they can maybe see behavior, so how Bitcoin is changing us. And you don’t have to do anything like internal reading or thinking or anything — they could just see the behavior. And then if they like the behavior they could adopt Bitcoin.
Robert Breedlove [40:44]: Yeah, that’s interesting. It even convinces behaviorists in the long-term because it changes people — or so we believe, at least. We could be wrong, who knows? But I want to highlight this idea: we were talking about the behavioralist being blind. I’m reminded of that quote, When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We can get frame blindness where you put on a certain frame on how you’re interpreting a situation or the world, and that may give you clarity on certain features of that world or of that situation, but it will also blind you to certain features. Like, there’s two different types of coordinates: you have polar coordinates or you could have the normal coordinates on a map we see. Like if you’re at the North Pole, you need a certain kind of frame to deal with that situation that’s different from the frame you need when you’re at the equator, for instance. And just to zero in on the behavioralist: you can’t interact with someone productively on the basis of behavioralism. If I’m assuming that you’re just driven by determinism and I’m driven by determinism, well then I have nothing to learn from you and you have nothing to learn from me. So how do we have a productive conversation? If that’s our philosophy, it just doesn’t work! I don’t know if I’m articulating it clearly, but if you just try treating someone like that in a conversation, that you know everything, that they have nothing to teach you, and see how that conversation goes. It’s not real! It doesn’t exist in the real world. When you go out into the real world, you engage with someone in conversation, you assume that they have agency, that they have freedom, they have free thought, they have critical thinking, they’re running the same code to a greater or lesser extent that you’re running, and you two can connect and do more operations together than you could in isolation kind of thing. But the behavioralist viewpoint is just that: No! It’s not there! Am I putting that correctly?
Nozomi Hayase [44:48]: Yeah I mean I think the behaviorist point of view really is that we are nothing, we are nobody — nothing, and that the impulse for our actions come from the outside, so of course there isn’t any curiosity and interest in one another because there isn’t anything in us. And you are the product of a culture. You are the product of genes, genetic determinism. You’re born into a certain culture or like India’s caste system or a monarchy, the British monarchy, that you’re born into this certain family, class and that you are fixed, your life is just fixed, that’s all you could be. And I in my opinion that is very depressing because that promotes a sense of victimhood and I think that fundamentally we always are less stressed, we feel not enough, because then it incentivizes us to become someone, absorb things, consume more, or get into the big leagues, or trying to become someone because we don’t have innate individuality, personality, or uniqueness. But to believe that, No, we are born with character, we are born with this immortal individuality, that gives us I think a sense of peace because we don’t have to become anything else, that external impulses cease to exist, because if we are internally peaceful, nothing would cause us to act in a certain way, if you know what I mean.
Robert Breedlove: Yeah. Well if everyone was spiritually enlightened, you wouldn’t be concernedyou couldn’t be coerced. Someone could put a gun to your head and tell you to do something, like whatever. But clearly that’s not easy to do! I don’t know if it’s impossible, but pretty hard to get everyone to that level. But what we can do that’s more practical is re-engineer the incentives. So part of me here with behavioralism is thinking that it’s an intellectual basis for social engineering, because if they’re taking this view that everyone’s a blank slate, well they need to go out and engineer society, otherwise society’s not going to engineer itself — that doesn’t work! I mean, you start to think you get a god complex, in a way.
Nozomi Hayase [48:00]: Yeah I think that’s what it is: they have that god complex and they are the ones who wanted to be! They wanted to engage in natural selection. It’s nature that selects what has survival value in the human brain — not human beings. And I think behavioralists, they just decide what is good and bad and stuff, and then who should die, who should live, and that’s what they’re doing. It’s just by destroying other countries’ economies, exploiting, and then all through inflation and all of that stuff, they use finance as a weapon, and they they say, That’s a part of natural selection. And what we see is it’s artificially created — I mean, it’s not competitive. It’s not capitalism. It’s not competition based on real competition, the free market. They rig the game. They rig this Darwin’s the survival of the fittest game or whatever and then they say they are playing like god. And so yeah that’s what the economic system has become.
Robert Breedlove [49:08]: Yeah and I’m so clearly at odds with that philosophical basis, but there is this grain of truth in that we are all, again, running cognitive software of some kind. We are malleable. We’re programmable. We’re adaptable. So there seems to be maybe this effort to keep that awareness away from people, keep that amount of self-awareness away from certain people so they can be more easily controlled or programmed. So the competition, it seems to me: the awareness that we are self-programming entities, we’re running some kind of software, but we also have agency over how we write that software. If you realize that, then you can write your own software! I can choose the books I read, choose the cultures I plug into, businesses, etc., but if I’m unaware of that, especially if I’m afraid and like living under circumstances of depravity or economic scarcity, well I’m much more easily programmed without even realizing I’m being programmed. And that seems to be the game that’s been played across history between the ruling class and the ruled class, is you’re just trying to govern people’s movement.
Nozomi Hayase [50:39]: Yeah, that’s why we have secret governments, I mean governments engaged in secrecy. They hide information, knowledge about who we are at the fundamental level and then they deploy public relations and propaganda and then feed us with information and manipulate us. And Bitcoin brings transparency, of course, and challenges the secrecy of these systems. And so those in power dependent on our ignorance, us not knowing who we are fundamentally and how we are being controlled, how we are being programmed, how the incentives or the impulses and motives that we identify ourselves with are artificially created — so if we cannot question these motives, the motives that make us act in a certain way and then immediately identify ourselves with them, then we are not free, because we have to examine where that motive, the impulse, comes from. Are they coming from ourselves from within? Are they coming from the scientific code provided by nature? Or are they coming from code that is programmed? Code that is written by someone? So I think that really what Bitcoin is doing is that Bitcoin provides opportunity for us to claim our right to engage with this code and program our own code, so to speak. And what I find interesting is that DNA itself is fixed! So the scientist talks about how throughout history the surface of the planet has changed, the environment has changed, but the DNA hasn’t been changed, so it’s kind of fixed. But epigenome is flexible, and I firmly believe freedom is coded in our DNA. Freedom is a fixed part of what it means to be human. And so it’s not a bug, it’s a feature that defines humanity, and I think the behavioralists, they, by denying the freedom code, they try to actually change our nature! They try to change our DNA! And I see DNA is like the storing device — it’s a device that stores information, carries the genetic instructions. And so they created this centralized money that could control genetic information and destroy it, even, by denying freedom. So that’s fundamentally, I think, what the fiat money has become. And Bitcoin allows us to claim this sacred property of DNA, basically, and that the DNA has metaphysical dimensions as well that modern scientists don’t even understand. I mean, science hasn’t really understood what life is about. The majority of DNA is called junk DNA — you’ve probably heard this expression. Or Einstein said the spooky DNA, and that they don’t even know what they’re doing. And then now we see what’s happening with this experimental injection and stuff, they are actually trying to change, trying to alter our own DNA to destroy the sacred property — that’s I think where we are going. So Bitcoin really makes human nature immutable — no one can change it. And then it allows us to consciously engage with our DNA so that we can maybe transcend the limitations, we could actually meaningfully engage with what is inherited from our parents, your ancestors. We don’t have to become a victim of our genes. We can heal our trauma. We can find a way to respond differently.
Robert Breedlove [55:20]: [It’s] why we need to heal — we have a lot of trauma through just the past 5,000 years of human history. Quite animalistic, but also ascending — we’re making progress, we’re freer, more or less, than ever, depending on where you are. There’s been fits and starts, let’s say. So it seems like then the Internet is just a big game-changer here. The whole technology and media landscape, the channels through which we communicate and organize ourselves just completely got flipped over in the past 20 years and you’ve seen that with all the FAANG stocks disrupting legacy advertising and media and whatnot, music, everything. We’ve become quite integrated with these machines, digital tools, smartphones, like they are an extension of this code we’re calling human reason or human consciousness, and it appears to me that maybe all of the institutions that we built up before this technological revolution are now shimmying, they’re shuddering trying to figure out how do they maintain relevance in this new technological landscape. And so Bitcoin then is the battle for freedom on the Internet, battle for the freedom of this new communication technology landscape. How can we explain this to people in a way that’s comprehensible? Because even hearing myself say it it just sounds way out there, but it really seems fundamental. It’s like we’re all communicating, we’re all running this code, sharing this code. The way we share this code just changed dramatically. Again, we’re running digital technology, cognitive software, or we just invented software — that’s a really big deal.
Nozomi Hayase [57:36]: Yes, I fundamentally see the Internet as a tool. I think this perspective that the Internet is a tool that could be used to emancipate humanity, I think that’s how I see it. But for that to happen, we have to have freedom over the Internet. The Internet has to be free. And now the Internet has been infiltrated with commercial interests and surveillance industries and so it has been centralized and it’s doing the opposite of what it was meant to do. So my background, I was engaged in Wikileaks, I was a journalist covering Wikileaks for the last decade and I was inspired by Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who is a notable cypherpunk, and he believes in the freedom of the Internet and the importance of free Internet to emancipate humanity, to liberate humanity. And I think that now what’s happening is the Internet was a precursor to Bitcoin and Bitcoin is the key: built on the Internet, Bitcoin enables the platform at a global scale. So for us people around the world to connect, to communicate, and to start to build, start to claim our own freedom and build a new civilization. And for that to happen we have to have Internet and Bitcoin as tools. So it’s important I think for us to recognize that these are tools. And so the question is how we could use these tools, but it’s not the goal [in itself]. It’s: use this to achieve something. And I don’t want to say this is going to be the battle, but the fact that there are people who don’t want humans to have freedom — they are so-called adversary forces or whatever — we will have to face the confrontation, I think. People who want to own, people who want to centralize the Internet, people who want to centralize money so that humankind cannot attain freedom. So I think this is our battle.
Robert Breedlove [1:00:15]: Yes, beautifully said, and I guess you could say that the battle for freedom is ultimately about everyone having their input and how we construct this whole thing. That’s the framing for democracy, at least. It doesn’t work in practice but everyone has a say, everyone has a voice.
Nozomi Hayase: Exactly, and I think the change [comes] through network effects, through hyperbitcoinization, so each person basically aligning themselves with the laws of nature and running the code, running the full node of Bitcoin Core. A practice of saying, Okay, this is the code that I choose. Because Bitcoin developers just provide code for us to choose — we are the ones who have to choose which code that we want to run, and that creates network effects and expands the network and allows other people to join and it makes it easier for other people to align themselves with the laws of nature. So it is a battle, but it’s a different kind of battle. It’s a battle that can be engaged with each person upholding his or her own truth and defending that truth. And that reminds me again of going back to the Constitution: basically, the people in the United States, their task is to uphold the Constitution. So in the same way that we could uphold our own truth, and everybody on this planet, that we can uphold our code and decide this is what’s important to us. So I think thati it’s not really a battle but it requires determination and commitment, I guess.
Robert Breedlove [1:02:23]: Yeah, alignment with the truth of choice, perhaps. That is our nature. We do choose. That’s what human reason is: we choose means to pursue ends and Bitcoin is just mapping on to that reality. It’s like you get the maximum amount of choice or optionality possible, and in that way it’s a “battle for freedom” but really it’s a peaceful protest, ultimately, because you’re like, I’m just going to hold my life energy in this system that you can’t do anything about!
Nozomi Hayase [1:03:02]: Yeah and I think that that’s why Bitcoin is an important experiment, and who knows? I mean humanity, each individual, decides what code that we’re gonna choose to run, and then we might choose, that some people don’t want to have freedom, and some people want don’t want to have Bitcoin and fork off — there are a lot of chain forks and they create different coins, maybe. So Bitcoin doesn’t impose: it provides a choice. But I hope that — I mean I kind of think that nature wants us to succeed and nature wants us to perhaps claim the gift of freedom. So Bitcoin is there, but we have to be the one to choose. So I find it beautiful in some ways. You know what I mean? It’s not my individual choice — I’m depending on the collective, I’m depending on you to choose freedom, and other people, because that creates a network effect and defines what it means to be human.
Robert Breedlove [1:04:10]: Yeah and that mutual selection process where everyone — you’re basically betting on other people choosing freedom. Well that network effect becomes more abundant, more wealthy. It’s the better life, obviously, and again I always talk about this and I don’t want it to sound kumbaya, let’s all hold hands and sing, but it’s like, No! Cooperation actually creates more wealth per unit of human effort or time. So you’re richer, there’s less to fight about, there’s less problems in the world, less scarcity — that is the outcome of this. So it’s a very practical outcome, not just us holding hands and singing by the fire.
Nozomi Hayase [1:04:56]: And the legal scholar Nick Szabo, who created Bit Gold, which was the precursor of Bitcoin, he defines money as a tool, a technology for cooperation. So that it gave us basically capacity, I mean options or a different avenue, for us to engage with our instinctual impulses, perhaps. So then Bitcoin provides the choice for us to become human and not just to act like animals engaging in violence and controlling other people and then destroying the environment and all that stuff. But maybe we could become human, we could act civil, we could be kind to each other, but we have to choose it. So I find it’s just beautiful to me. It’s just whatever God or whatever provided — it’s a tool. But we have to do the work. It depends on human freedom, human free will, to choose.
Robert Breedlove [1:06:03]: Yeah, that’s a beautiful way to look at it, is: Bitcoin is proof of work, but it doesn’t succeed unless we do the work, ultimately. So yeah, really good stuff there. I talk a lot about the book The Sovereign Individual. I’ve written this essay series called Sovereignism exploring where this takes the world. That’s the big unknown for me. I think Bitcoin has a high probability of success. We can tell directionally sort of where the world goes, but it’s hard to say what it actually looks like, of course, in practice. So how do you think about individual sovereignty? How do you see the world unfolding differently in the wake of Bitcoin’s success?
Nozomi Hayase [1:07:03]: I personally believe in things like destiny, that each person is here with a certain mission or a gift to give. And right now I think humanity is living in a state of ignorance and because of it we are not really living our own life, so to speak. And I think what Bitcoin does is it aligns each person with the laws of nature and people start to find what makes them unique and discover gifts that they can give or look at life in a different way, that maybe our existence on this planet is a form of schooling: we learn something new, we learn lessons. And I think that will change the quality of life. That will change how we interact with other human beings. If we start to think that our existence on this planet is a gift, that we are here for a reason, and that there are certain plans that we create for ourselves or whatever, then we start to slow down in our life, start to shift our values, relationships or the the things that are maybe not necessarily material. We start to value things that are not tangible — psychological, and like happiness, how much love that we give to each other. Those kinds of things. So I think it fundamentally changes the quality of life. And when humans are happy, I think everybody, all creatures, are going to be happy, too.
Robert Breedlove [1:09:12]: That’s a great way to look at it. I’m again just sort of thinking out loud here that we have this fiat system — or the system premised on compulsion, coercion — it’s forcing or incentivizing humans to fight over wealth, to fight over stuff, but the real pernicious paradox here is: that very fighting inhibits our ability to produce more wealth and stuff! So I always describe it like we’re sawing off the very branch on which we’re sitting — it is so self-destructive and crazy, and I think to your point, if we would get compulsion out of the system, we would produce more wealth — just focusing on material wealth. And what does that mean? It means that material wealth by comparison is overall less important. You can make ends meet with less work, basically, and so maybe then in that world we would be free to focus more on higher pursuits: spiritual pursuits, artistic pursuits, love, interpersonal healing, all of these things.
Nozomi Hayase [1:10:24]: And I think that one of the compulsions, the urges, is the will to power. And Friedrich Nietzsche developed this concept of will the power, and he connected that with Darwin’s natural selection. It’s like a force of nature. It’s that we all have will to power. And I think this will to power became destructive now because it’s will to conquer, its will to dominate, and I think that at the root of that impulse is lack of acceptance, lack of love, lack of accepting the fact that we have this unique individuality that cannot be destroyed and that cannot be counterfeited. It’s authentic, something authentic. We don’t have to prove it — we have it within. And so I think that this untamed will that is driving the world into madness now can be only tamed with love, and I think that Bitcoin brings that element. Bitcoin has this healing property that helps us find that within ourselves.
Robert Breedlove: That’s beautiful. Yeah you said something really profound to me before we started recording: you said you thought that love is founded on freedom. And I think this is obvious to anyone: like, you can’t force love. You cannot force yourself to love someone, nor can you force someone to love you. Clearly it’s mutual, voluntary — that’s the only way it works in any sustainable way.
Nozomi Hayase [1:12:09]: I think our culture conflates love with instinctual, sexual lust. And so when somebody is infatuated with someone like, Oh you must be in love — you’re falling in love with someone. But when you look at their behavior, I mean they just fall in love — it’s like there’s this compulsion to fall in love with someone, and there’s this sexual attraction or instinctual attraction that that arises without even your involvement. And if you just act on it, where is your consciousness? How is it different than animals eating something because they are hungry? There isn’t much difference! And I’m not saying that the instinctual love, that sexual love, is not a part of love — of course it’s a foundation. But I think humans can choose to love out of their own freedom. Like for instance if I see someone who is suffering on the street, if I act on this compulsion to help because I feel bad like, Oh god, this person, I so much emphathize with this person and I cannot even stop myself. Like without knowing I just start helping this person or I feel guilt if I don’t do it — that’s not really an act of love. But if I have a choice saying, Okay, this person is suffering — I could choose to do this or I could not choose to do this, but if I all by myself choose to help the person, that’s an act of love for me because you made a conscious choice.
Robert Breedlove [1:14:04]: Yeah great points there. Love issuch a loaded term in English. And again, Vervaeke unpacked this for me, but like the Ancient Greeks — they had many words for love but three really stood out to me, and they were: eros, philia, and agape. So eros, which is something we’d associate with the word erotic, perhaps, it’s like just to consume. And it’s not just erotic because you could also be consuming an apple, consuming food — I love this food. It can also be consumptive in a sexual relationship, but that’s all very animalistic. That’s very base-level instinct level. There’s a level up called philia in that you want ongoing reciprocal interaction with the person, so you don’t want to eat your friends, for instance — you want to have friends. You want to interact with them and have this ongoing, loving relationship. And then of course the most powerful form of love which is also very central to the Bible is agape, and that is when you bring your newborn child home, you can’t even say that you love them in the sense of philia because there’s not much reciprocity taking place — they’re basically an inert lump when they first come home, yet you love them with so much ultimate selflessness — it’s overwhelming. So it seems like in English we’ve created a ton of distortion by just jamming all of those meanings — eros, philia, and agape — into one word called love, and we’re all like, I love this, I love that, I love you.
Nozomi Hayase [1:16:02]: And if you look at the animal kingdom or natural world there’s this food pyramid so that there is this prey-predators so that lions are supposed to eat rabbits and rabbits are supposed to eat rats or something, so that there is this natural hierarchy, food chain and it goes around — and it’s like top goes down and it’s like a circle, but it’s a pyramid. So that means that the animals cannot have a relationship out of themselves, like they are locked in in this food chain. And so humans, on the other hand, I think we could introduce a difference — we could develop a sense of brotherhood, the relationship based on the heart, and that goes out of this prey-predator, I’m gonna eat you or you’ll be eaten animalistic-defined locked-in relationship. So like lion and sheep, they do not lie together peacefully. It’s like lions when they get hungry, they would eat them. You won’t see them developing friendship, I guess — maybe they do. But humans, on the other hand, I think we could. Like men and women, men don’t have to act on sexual impulse, so they could develop friendship with the opposite sex and then develop brotherhood. And I think that Bitcoin gives us a tool to spiritualize the economy so that we could have like associative economics, we could have economic studies permeated by the heart through principles of mutual aid, voluntary association, and not like predatory capitalism, like, Okay, I’m gonna just screw you over if you don’t play right and I’m gonna put you into debt slavery and things like that. But it’s more like mutual aid, I care about you so I transact with you and then you would return the favor. That kind of thing.
Robert Breedlove [1:18:25]: Yeah again back to just if Bitcoin can incentivize cooperation at scale, then that’s the same thing as saying disincentivizing compulsion. So we’re creating more freedom in aggregate for humans. We’re established in the free market economic process at this point in a way that lets us transcend material concerns — we’re just producing more wealth and that’s just a flat out economic reality, and then we can engage with one another because material concerns are just a smaller proportion of our actual concerns. We would engage with one another presumably on a more heart or spiritual basis.
Nozomi Hayase [1:19:18]: Yes at least Bitcoin creates a good opening for people who are ready for that, because I think there are people who like to consume and who like to possess material things. And everybody is at a different stage on their journey and I think that people who want to accumulate wealth and material goods, they should do it. I mean there is no need for them to suppress their urge or anything if that’s just them being authentic, just go for it. But I think that the problem of the existing system is that it just denies the other hand — it doesn’t give us choice, basically, because people who don’t want to live like that, they don’t have to be a part of that system if they choose to.
Robert Breedlove [1:20:09]: Yeah it always comes back to that magic word: choice. Just don’t constrict choice. The less we constrict choice the better off we all are, ultimately, and it’s just difficult for individuals to resist the temptation, I suppose. It’s much easier to steal a guy’s garden than to plant the garden and do the whole thing.
Nozomi Hayase [1:20:39]: Exactly. Instead of external forces that try to regulate, try to punish us, each person should be given an option. I mean in the authoritarian society, you are not even given a choice to act on these things or not because the society just says, You cannot do this. You cannot speak, really. And if you do this, these are the punishments. Or even nowadays technologically it makes it impossible for us to act in a certain way. China’s social scoring system, for instance. It’s an algorithm that makes it impossible for people to engage in activities that are deemed to be criminal or not favorable. So the important thing is that just allow everything, allow us to act freely and we will face the consequence. If you want to act out of instinct go for it, and then you would just face the consequence, then you learn the lesson. You are preventing someone from learning lessons and growing from that.
Robert Breedlove [1:21:53]: Yeah that’s a beautiful way to put it, too. It’s just you’re reintegrating individuals with the responsibility of their actions.
Nozomi Hayase: Yes, and without having the choice to learn, how can one develop morality? How can one develop responsibility? So when I think liberals now they’re obsessed with this virtue signaling and you’re trying to say, This is the right thing and this is wrong and you make sure that their speech will be banned and things like that, but by doing that you are depriving people’s ability to learn, people ability to claim their responsibility. Parents want kids to learn for themselves what is the right thing to do instead of imposing morality so then they end up becoming automotons. They just only do good things because they try to avoid the punishment — that’s not morality. That’s not responsibility. So the freedom is the foundation for us to develop capacity for morality and responsibility.
Robert Breedlove [1:23:09}: Yeah beautifully said. Without choice we obviously can’t develop morality and these other higher order constructs of human reason that separate us from animals, again, allowing us to become more civilized. But to the earlier point: without the power of choice, how can we love? So it’s almost like you’re injecting all of this coercion and compulsion that’s anti-love, in a way, because you can’t force this thing. And we mentioned this at the top of the show, the Bitcoin being like the Philosopher’s Stone that unifies opposites — this one just occurred to me recently: I mentioned to you after reading this book The Way of the Superior Man, but love is also what unifies opposites. That’s what brings masculine and feminine energies together. Love, it transcends — it’s kind of like the central axis to everything, it seems like. And there’s a lot of wisdom traditions, a lot of people that take psychedelics, they all describe love being like the basis of reality in some way. So have we discovered something with Bitcoin as like the technology that maps closest to love?
Nozomi Hayase [1:24:34]: Love being a unifying force of opposites, I mean that’s a very important point because Jung also talks about it in Jung’s Book of Alchemy that the first step is to differentiate, so to basically create the opposite. And in the Bible story Genesis the story of the tree of knowledge, and after they ate from the fruits from the tree of knowledge they started to learn what is good versus evil and that duality. And that duality I think is a part of this ego function: it’s the abstraction of our thoughts, that that’s how our mind works. Like to say this is good, this is bad or left and right — this polarity. And then that became a moral code in our cognitive capacity and that we start to act in a certain way, like we try to be good. I think everybody goes through this journey, goes through this process that we want to become a good person. We wanted to prove to be a good, honest, nice, or whatever the society defines to be good, so then we try to avoid whatever that is not considered to be good. So that creates opposite and tension within ourselves. And then there comes a time with love as a unifying force that comes through us to unite these opposites. So I think of love as like fruit from the tree of life, because we have tree of knowledge and the tree of life. People don’t talk about tree of life but then there is this other tree. And I think that tree of life — that love as a fruit from the tree of life — that unifies the opposites and it gives wisdom because we know what is right or wrong. It’s not like we don’t know. It’s like a child: a child they don’t know what is good from bad or anything, but we have to go through this process. We have to engage in these opposites and polarize ourselves and know what is right and wrong and we make efforts to have this one-sidedness in a sense. But then we transcend that and come to the point where oh there isn’t right and wrong — it’s a unifying force, and that creates the transformative — it’s a philosophical stone which is wisdom. But from a person looking at that person who had gone through the transformation — from the outside, that person looks like just going back to the childlike state. Like, Wow, you don’t know what is right from wrong? But that person is enlightened! That person has a wisdom. And it’s not like that person just regressed back to the childhood, back to innocence. No! The person gained wisdom after going through, after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge and given a new life. And that brings life. Love is the unifying force that brings men and women together and we give birth to a child. Creating a new life. I mean that’s amazing. And I think that’s what Bitcoin is doing: welcoming each person, I think, welcoming each Bitcoiner to go through this journey so that we would receive love and gain wisdom.
Robert Breedlove [1:28:44]: Yeah wow it’s really mind-boggling to say the least, but yeah the idea of Bitcoin being just so open and inclusive it can literally unify opposites. You could be the most hardcore leftist and the hardcore rightist and they’ll both appreciate Bitcoin because it empowers choice, it empowers the individual. So maybe that’s why, like love, Bitcoin conquers all in the long run.
Nozomi Hayase [1:29:19]: Yes Bitcoin is neutral and I think that once we understand what Bitcoin does, I think we would understand the necessity of the fiat system, how maybe humanity had to go through this, had to go through this darkness as a part of a journey, and then we learn what is good and wrong and engaging this battle of good and evil only to find that good/evil, they are just opposite sides of the same coin. Teaching us something important, so that we can develop capacity for love, and that’s amazing to me.
Robert Breedlove: It’s a beautiful bright orange future if we do the work I guess. Nozomi, this has been an amazing conversation. I really really appreciate the work you’re doing. I hope you keep writing. I mean the writing is really really good. If you could just please let my audience know where they can find out more about you or your work and I think you’re on substack as well so if you want to mention that.
Nozomi Hayase: I just started Substack: The Way of the Heart. That’s my new writing platform. And I don’t tweet much and I don’t engage myself on Twitter intentionally. I try to stay out of drama, but when I publish new articles or podcast interviews or whatever I would tweet that out so the best best place to follow me is on Twitter and my Twitter account is @nozomimagine.
Robert Breedlove: Okay wonderful we’ll link to all that in the show notes. Nozomi, yeah I hope we can have this conversation again soon and hopefully have some more insight as to whether we’re crazy or this bright orange future is actually possible.
Nozomi Hayase: No, I don’t think we are crazy!
Robert Breedlove: Thanks so much I look forward to talking again soon.
Nozomi Hayase: Thank you for having me.