“I’ve found my favorite modern-day philosophers to be on Twitter,” I said with certainty over our Thanksgiving meal to a family member.
“..what?” was their response.
To them, Twitter is a cesspool of incoherent political ramblings and trolls.
“The learning hasn’t stopped there. I’ve learned more about mental health, nutrition, finance, marketing, and dating all from the internet than my entire education experience combined.”’
“Oh wow.” the relative responded, then quickly went back to dismantling their mashed potatoes.
They didn’t get it.
To them, the “experts” and the world’s smartest people could be found in books or on MSNBC.
They are right about the trolls but are blind to the high-quality thinkers.
“The internet increases variance” as Balaji so wisely put – it on Twitter.
It ups the volume and intensity of nonsense, but it also ups the amplitude of the other side of the spectrum: wisdom, creativity, and mind expansion. So yes, there is high-quality content in the form of traditional media, but analog outlets can never outcompete the longtail of the internet.
I just happen to be the weirdo, or non-normie, at the table that’s been living on the internet for the past 8 years that happened to notice the positive end of the extremes.
Case and point: the internet is underestimated by the majority of the population.
Most people, not just Boomers – even those in Gen-Z, haven’t caught on to its power yet. EVEN when you recognize that it’s transformed payments, media, dating, and dozens of other industries.
I’ve been searching for answers, like a sinner trying to find Jesus, to find some semblance of signal that served me – and I finally did.
Through identifying intelligent content created by authors with integrity I’ve:
- Improved my dating life
- Leveled up my nutrition
- Learned about personal finance and economics
- Increased my income by 77% percent
- Grown spiritually
- Cured my depression
Perhaps 10 years from now I won’t be the minority come our holiday gatherings, or maybe the world will bifurcate between self-educators and those who need the “experts”.
I do know that most of the population still doesn’t comprehend where this open web of knowledge is heading.
Let’s explore the four domains the internet will radically transform, that most aren’t aware of, over the coming decades.
1 – On Internet Education
I’ve expanded and rearranged the way I look at the world and how I approach my career simply by reading Naval Ravikant tweets, watching Balaji interviews, and listening to Tim Ferriss podcasts. I completed a 9-month certification in Web Development as a direct result of Naval Ravikant’s Twitter thread on building wealth.
Still blows my mind that thought leaders of that caliber can publish their wisdom…for free for anyone to consume. Imagine if Seneca had a Twitter account, Alan Watts had a YouTube channel, or if Socrates made those silly Instagram quotes.
They are the college professors I would have killed for as a young adult, I guess that’s why I thanked Jesus for internet college.
Imagine a world where everyone is an autodidact and can act on that new knowledge. How healthy could we all get collectively? How many innovative businesses could be built? How many relationships would become stronger and healthier as a result?
I hope that’s where we are headed as a society. At least for now a small percentage of us are leading the way.
“But what about MOOCs Peter? We’ve had massive open online courses for well over a decade and not everyone is an Einstein yet!”
Of course, we haven’t reached education paradise yet, but as more and more people become aware of the vastness of content that speaks to them directly & act on it, I think culture will change.
2 – On Internet Money / Property Rights
Western Civilization stands upon two core pillars: property rights & contract law. Without them, we’d devolve into feudalism or some form of chaos or anarchy.
Thanks to a pseudonymous software engineer named Satoshi Nakamoto, and the internet, humanity has found a way to decouple property rights from the Nation State (that is corruptible and run by imperfect humans) to an incorruptible open-source software protocol.
On a long enough timescale, anything that software can eat, it will eat. Money is not the exception, there are no exceptions. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin means that there needs to be no central issuer – on a Bitcoin standard money will become open-source software.
Most people have no idea how powerful Bitcoin can be and its societal implications of it. If Bitcoin is to play out how I think it will, all of this is possible:
1 – The deflationary power of technology will be fully realized and all products will be 100x cheaper and not inflated by an expansionary money supply. When software eats something, it trends toward free. Think calculators, photography, and media.
2 – The average person won’t have to rely upon non-productive financial services like wealth advisors, 401ks, and the predatory financial industry.
3 – Nation States will be confined by a hard money system and won’t be able to carry out idiotic military campaigns like the Iraq & Afghanistan war. The only reason they can pay for them currently is via money printing.
I’ll give ya another one.
3 – On Prestige, Influence, and Credentialism
Given the proper knowledge, expertise, and communication skills anyone with a laptop and internet connection can build an audience in any domain and cultivate massive influence. No, I’m not referring to the Logan Pauls of the world or fitness influencers.
Without the internet, these experts wouldn’t have had the opportunity to propagate their impactful messages to the extent that they have. They would have had to go through the analog media channels, be stifled by the limited air time, and most of their wisdom would be forever trapped in their heads.
Citizen journalists, “alternative medicine” professionals, “unlicensed” teachers, and all of their collective intelligence continue to be shared with the world all thanks to the internet. This is just the beginning.
You no longer need to be sanctioned by “the establishment” to provide alternative opinions and solutions. Diversity of thought will lead to a more abundant world.
Perhaps one day we will all look back and laugh at the idea that so few people had audiences and reach the same way we look back on the Catholic Church having a monopoly on God.
4 – On Networks
Religions are networks, colleges are networks, and Governments are networks. Networks are essentially organizations that bind and direct groups of humans. Eventually, a new form of governance network will be born from the internet, one that will compete for citizens with the Nation States.
Sounds crazy? This new form of Governance is already being tested. It’s called a Network State.
A network state is a highly aligned online community with a capacity for collective action that crowdfunds territory around the world and eventually gains diplomatic recognition from pre-existing states.
This would sound far-fetched if it didn’t happen already in history. Believe it or not but humanity went through a similar transition and creation around four hundred years ago.
Remember the Catholic Church? It used to be the main governing body throughout Europe. The Pope had a standing army, the ability to sentence people to torture, and was akin to the most powerful heads of state today.
As a direct result of the printing press, the Nation-State was born. The Nation State will not be the be-all-end-all form of governance. Perhaps the Network State won’t take root, but I think it is inevitable the internet will give birth to the next form of governance on a long enough time scale, perhaps even within most of our lives.
Imagine a world where all of your property rights are secured by the Bitcoin network, you can join a network with your favorite thought leaders and like-minded citizens, and self-directed learning is the norm, not the exception.
That’s where the internet is taking us.
It’s taking us to a world where independent citizen journalists, who have proven expertise in their given domains, will be more trusted than all traditional outlets (MSNBC, Fox, NYT, etc) combined.
A world where Nation States will have to compete for talented and wealthy citizens with emerging Network States. A future where there are 100x more experts with a diversity of thought & approaches that the mainstream media can’t structurally provide and an education system built and designed for the 21st century.
All thanks to the internet.
If you think mobile phones were impactful, just wait until we have mobile citizenship, iron-clad property rights based on cryptography, exponential education, democratized credentialism, and citizenship in the cloud.