The Myth of Bitcoin

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” – Edgar Allen Poe

I love this quote by Poe written some 200 years ago or so, because it perfectly encapsulates Mankind’s Mythological Mind and his eternal quest for meaning in a meaningless world. To see one’s life and all life as but a dream is the disillusionment we all create for ourselves. The Myth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is no different.

I’m an investor in Crypto. In fact, I created some very early NFT artwork for sale on Ethereum. But it doesn’t mean I do not doubt the premise of Crypto and the blockchain token model. It is simply more artifice to entrap us in our quest for instant wealth, immortality, and importance.

If cryptocurrency is “property” then it is no different than buying cabbage patch dolls or beanie babies in the 1980’s……it’s something that’s popular now but can and will die later. Property gains value but it can also depreciate. Buying BTC is like buying a car you just drove off the lot. It’s value is tied only to its popularity and its limited value today, not years from now.

It’s no different than a Prom Queen we elect by a high school popularity contest. She’s popular and important now, not 50 years from now. Bitcoin is one massive Prom Queen whose value is 100% tied to our belief in social togetherness, not money or value. It’s built on our love of her but also of ourselves, a vote of which we cast with our money.

But behind the mask of Bitcoin and Crypto is a Frankenstein monster we brought to life, not by noble art or discovery, but for greed alone, a creature who has no real purpose or drive but to wander over fields and plains attracting greedy mobs to him until he plays himself out on some lonely hilltop set ablaze.

With the rise of “social” media online, Americans are more trapped in this delusion of phony mass popularity contests than ever before! Years from now Bitcoin may be replaced by the next popular meme, next younger queen we gloat over, the next Pokémon we chase across highways, the next beanie baby store we all storm in a crowded mall. The Myth of Bitcoin is all temporal. That’s why investors just left the gate and moved as one herd into altcoins like Dogecoin. What’s next? What will be popular tomorrow? What green grass will the cows deafly graze upon?

If we break the “myth” of meaning in these artificial fads, we realize Bitcoin is all psychology…’s what we let young people decide is cool NOW, not forever, like all the He-man reruns they might have loved as toddlers in the 80’s but the rest of the world laughs at today. Who decides what has meaning? Our youth? For their youth is also fleeting and in their age what fragile myths will they cling to if they have gutted all history, all religion, and all of their parents? Some fleeting technology?

The fact is, Bitcoin is just another myth, another passing fad no different than a cool toy that was hot on a toy store shelf 40 years ago. It’s something popular culture assigns value at a moment in time that never had any real value or which never really changed anything beyond enriching a few oligarchs. But its value was ENORMOUS for a fleeting moment in time for one small generation of kids. Yet, the myth and mythology of Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in our brains seems more real than life at this time. Why?

Bitcoin may change the world, and better and newer versions will certainly come. Blockchain and Definance is what is coming, right? As I’ve talked about in my many web logs on myth, our brains need mythology. We need ancient myths and symbols as well as more modern ones that culture creates to give our lives purpose. We then follow the “myth” and each other like sheep off a cliff. The ghost of meaning drives us over that cliff to our doom, the doom others created in their brains that our brains now blindly adopt as our own. Why? Because in today’s culture we need to believe, not just in artificial meaning and myth, but in what others believe.

Bitcoin is simply the latest phantom to be seen and accepted by those without real meaning in their lives. That is why it has stuck. And that explains the chase going on today. Bitcoin and the blockchain will likely change some things in our aristocratic financial system. It’s likely blockchain and smart contracts create a sub-web of value that the world can now use as a powerful tool that makes contracts more affordable and widens access to money and property to millions. It is likely Bitcoin helps us redefine the idea of currency, too, though it’s not likely to replace the Dollar or Yuan. But it cannot and will not last. It is too mythological, too much based on the mists of the cultural myth of wealth and its instant promise. It will simply be replaced with a better digital currency concept, a better digital token that has no real value, a better cabbage patch doll or beanie baby, music icon, or car or house or wife or husband or career or job or God. All replacements serve the same purpose…to drive our brains into believing. And yet it is the suspension of disbelief that makes a good story. Bitcoin is excellent at that!

The purpose of myth is to build on the successes and failures of what came before in our minds and create new Meaning. But it never truly does. It simply succors our brains who need to know it exists for a purpose beyond itself. Our minds need to be disillusioned, played, entertained, and filled with life’s riddles, puzzles, it’s social games. It needs to see plays and actors and stories and drama upon Reality’s cold limelight stage, that is in fact but our Life. We replace one illusion for another, just as one token can easily replace another token on the blockchain, if we believe in the power of its artifice.

For Bitcoin itself is but the “replacement myth” of our time, replacing religion, culture, work, even family with something beyond life itself, even though in reality it is just one long hash of alphanumeric characters on a solid state drive on a server somewhere, right?

Bitcoin will be replaced someday with the next “cultural love interest” the next generation will derive. But that doesn’t mean our minds don’t assign huge value to it today. Like I said, the technology or concept of it may last and I believe likely will. But even crypto itself, or its quick financial rewards, will die someday, replaced by better digital constructs. Sorry, that is the painful future of Bitcoin, just as it is for everything ever conceived of by the Mind of Man.

All are illusions as are we, dreams within our own dreams….things born of the mind we readily attach ourselves to and assign value to, simply because the alternative is pure horror….the horror of Our Common Reality. I say this not to chase away believers in today’s seemingly mind-boggling technological changes. Many of these changes will die because they were terribly designed. But like everything made by great minds, a few will last. Bitcoin won’t be that one, I’m afraid. It’s too fraught with error. But all of crypto may not last. But something great inside it will. But that’s because myth alone cannot last, but a piece of it, of our brains, can and does reshape Reality. The get-rich-quick dream of Bitcoin will not.

But know that the Myth of Bitcoin is a wonderful myth, one that has served our minds so well and may still serve us for some years. It’s an amazing cultural groupthink concept that empowers the technocrats of today, who Godless and without faith or belief beyond science – know only that their money, their youth, and technology will save them – must now grasp firmly onto any hashed values assigned to the financial lifeboat that is but a frail digital wallet now.

The fact is, in this cold digital age, we cannot let go of our failed ideals, our statues to our most recent modern heroes, and the growing hate of all history but our own. Without a past they seem spiritless, without myth or meaning in the wider culture today, disconnected, and so demonize all relics, words, religions, and the ideas of wise men of history as corrupters of something they cannot quite pinpoint (anything prior to 1980 seems loathsome to them).

Bitcoin replaces history and truth and all meaning! It is the “New God”, for many. It’s altars and monuments are growing quickly in the minds of our youth. For not finding any past or present myths to sustain them, I’m afraid, they rely on pixels of things and encrypted values on Chinese servers and popular memes laughed at on corporate media pages to sustain their need for separateness. It’s pure arrogance driven by deep, deep insecurity in our youth, I feel. This technology reflects on our failure to provide our children anything born of permanence, love, family, unity, or mentoring. To them all is broken, racist, corrupted, soulless….everything but their own empty time. Bitcoin agrees, so beckons with power and of power grabs for our youth, with false promises of their own utopia to come. But it never will.

The Myth of Bitcoin helps demolish past Truths and false ones of the histories they so easily dismantle, leaving them alone to hold or admire no one but themselves, with no past or future but fake money and its false idol. BTC then has become the perfect foil for them and their mental struggles. The terror of the meaningless culture means they must believe in something, and Bitcoin giveth. It draws them like a magnet to its promise.

The alternative is a meaningless world and universe, or rather one where old myths of a larger world of people and history remains but which sadly, they have already wholly rejected. Disconnected from the umbilical cord of all history and their elders like flotsam adrift on a sad sea, they seek out a land in a mist of their dreams that will never come. For Bitcoin is but encrypted in their minds as a future that they see in even greater fairy tale glory. It’s a Future that can sadly never fulfill through the promise of riches, much less phony money. Only facing Life and facing the real world of people, of history, of faith, and a devout belief in cultivating one’s own personal myths (which is much richer) can they save themselves from the Myth of Bitcoin.

That Truth is too painful to imagine…that maybe meaning never was to be found in Crypto. In fact, no meaning ever existed but what our minds create and nurture. And so, we must love our mind’s phantoms more, letting each new generation regenerate new ones, each believing so fervently of the lasting power of those “monuments to themselves”, until Time’s cruel waves turns them all back into sand again.

That is why the Myth of Bitcoin reminds me of the power of our minds to turn us away from ourselves and reject History, our elders, and from Life and it’s true purpose. For History reminds us we but repeat what came before if we do not learn from the past, the hollow search for easy money and power in things others dream up around us we then must join. And so not understanding how our mind’s create myth we fall in its traps.

For in History lies the cure… a dusty library there lies in ancient tomes of the past the words of wisdom of those who came before us who knew myth and yet found meaning, men and women who found the Truth we today wholly ignore and reject. And so not knowing or seeing ourselves, we must go spiritually and intellectually backwards as a culture in 2021; as but dumb brutes to now blindly repeat what Mankind has done many times before in failing to value what was real and what was not in the one great Mythical Mind that is our shared Humanity.

Yes, I invest in Crypto and will for many years. But I see the myth for what it is, and cultivate willingly as yet one of many parts of my mind that I choose to believe in knowing it is but dust in the wind. But I fear for those who follow Bitcoin like it is a religion, as it has no Truth like faith, no loving Creator, no moral compass, no social gathering united by their flawed Humanity, their love of Mankind, their united spiritual awakening. Its disillusionments will leave many feeling hollow, in later years. That is why in my articles I encourage you to delve deep into ancient myths, as they hold something more for the individual than what shallow popular culture will ever provide.

– Mitchell Stokely, May 2021

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  1. BDj in NJ says:

    Thank you for this article. I came to your site for the article on the sorcerer’s apprentice and then I saw the link to this. As so often happens to me, I start to reply to an article and it becomes extended to some very personal writing, which I then removed and put in a file for further exposition.

    But I have been mystified by Bitcoin and suspected a mirage and, of course, you have shown the flights of some fevered brains. A car maker disowns the crypto currency, but then he can’t keep his hands off it, can he?

    My myths, with age, are dissolving in the mist, It’s amazing that I am not on some hilltop with Lear wailing the misfortunes of age in the swirling rain and thunder and lightening.

    But that’s not me.

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