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The Rate of Change of Ideas
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they (mostly) still think digital property rights is a bad idea that will never work and doesn’t make sense anyway because you can just right click + save images so why would you ever buy something you can’t touch and feel and hide in a secret little safe so deep in your closet that nobody can ever steal the picture of that weird monkey that you really really like.
Of course, they’ll soon find out that this is, in fact, a really really good idea.
You see - this planet has a problem which is this:
The Big Important Rules that these ape-descended life forms generally agree to follow to make life bearable aren't keeping up with the rate of change of their ape-descended ideas.
This didn’t used to be the case. Ideas rarely take too terribly long to come up with, but they used to take a really long time to spread. Years actually. Sometimes decades. Centuries even.
This mostly had to do with everything needing to either be transported in somebody’s head or get scrawled onto little expensive scraps of paper and then carried to other places.
When this was how ideas spread, it was fairly manageable. Even the best ideas took a while to get some traction.
There were no global overnight sensations because how could there be?
And about 5-ish monkey lifetimes ago these ape-descended life forms started to have some really good thoughts.
They weren't necessarily the first really good thoughts the monkeys collectively had, but these definitely had unique staying power. Some of these ideas were about "inalienable rights" and "private property" and "checks and balances" and before they could process them all emotionally these thoughts started revolutions (like in a lot of places). It turns out that these ideas convinced the most influential monkey people that the biggest and most important rules needed to change.
As they decided this, they wrote long and boring (but important) essays about how the Big Important Rules needed to change and eventually they did. It took a while, but these rules became the general framework most of the monkey communities agreed to follow over the next few centuries.
These changes mostly stuck and stayed basically the same unless someone complained about the language or cultural sentiment changed over time or when they noticed they had forgotten (or not wanted) to talk about some important thing.
It mostly worked and got incrementally better over time.
One day the ape-descended life forms learned how to put lightning inside of sand.
This captured lightning let the ape-descended life forms do things fast.
Way faster than they had ever been able to do things before.
And collectively these monkeys used that new speed to do lots of exciting things.
And build lots of new stuff.
And think of lots of new ideas.
And these monkey people used that sand with captured lightning to tell each other about all these wild thoughts - again much faster than they could ever talk before.
And as they moved faster and talked faster and made and unmade and changed their minds so much faster their systems of Big Important Rules got left behind.
Interestingly, the monkeys that couldn’t keep up also got left behind yet they pretended they hadn’t.
And that’s okay.
Because the monkeys that command the lightning sand realized they were leaving some people behind and started working on it. They eventually figured out how to bring one of the oldest and most empowering Big Important Rules along for the ride.
They figured out how to encode private ownership of things into the sand itself. Even the ethereal things like ideas.
Which led the sharpest of these ape-descended life forms to realize that they don’t really need the Big Important Rules to catch up for monkey societal progress to be made.
They can just make the progress happen.
Which means we’re about to see a LOT more really, really good ideas.
With excitement -
Founder of VF Protocol