In this article I will discuss how schism has formed the human world and how it is a fundamental part of Bitcoin evolution.
In today's world, the states, nations or countries are slowly suffocating all valuable human activity. Whether they are Fascist or Communist, or exercise the Tyranny of Benevolence under the name of Welfare Socialism, it doesn't matter. People are brainwashed and programmed by state-controlled education (called a benefit), to become obedient slaves to a system exercising almost total control of the individual's life. By enforced "welfare", the individual is made dependent on the state, and cannot get away.
But there are ways to break loose. One is to stay outside of any particular system, and live more or less in between them, or going between them at will without getting too stuck in any one particularly. This is known as fiscal nomadism, (or since the 1980s popularly called PT), and it requires an international life set up to avoid dependence on public service of any kind.
Another approach is what's called Vonu, out of sight, out of mind. That's mainly to jump off the system but stay unregistered inside one and the same country, sometimes living in some wild unpopulated area or in a car or a boat. Vonu life is especially practised in North America, where the preconditions for this are the most favourable. However, a Vonu life would be very limited.
If you have something more special on your mind, you might be better off using an offshore structure, a tax haven company - or, better yet, a foundation. With this you can be active in a way that holds very few limits - as long as it concerns property or activity that can be placed in such a structure. You can stay untaxed and more or less uncontrolled. Even if offshore structures were more useful before the OECD's fight against tax havens around this past turn of the century, and before the so-called "war on terror", there are still many possibilities, and there are many jurisdictions that can be favourably used for various purposes. The key is that you should not restrict your thoughts to the idea of having to "place" all aspects of your life in one and the same state. You can live in one country, have your business in another, bank in a third, etc. Use each place for something it is good for.
A ship under a flag of convenience in international waters offers other possibilities.
Another thought, far-fetched as it might seem to most people, yet still quite common, is the idea of creating a new state. Not to change an existing one, but to leave and create a completely new one, based on new principles. To most people this would appear to be pure escapism, and you would probably be told that it is better for you to direct your efforts to improving contemporary society, instead of engaging in unrealistic fantasies. In today's world this might seem obvious, but the advice reveals total ignorance of human history. Schism (the separation of a group into two groups) is the principal way to deal with friction within a group or groups of people, and has been so for so long that it is probably a part of human genetics.
(While there is a real theoretical difference between a country, a state and a nation, it is hardly ever observed in modern usage. For more on this, see Nation & State, Art & Culture; How confusion serves a purpose.)
Our first humanoid ancestors were probably a small group of primates, a few dozen, gathering edible plants and eggs. They were co-operating, thus being successful in gathering food, so they increased in numbers. Soon the food in their immediate environment got scarce, they simply had become too many, so they had to go farther and farther to find their eggs and their plants. This was not working out well. Hunger and even starvation was threatening. If they continued like this, they would become extinct, and maybe some groups did. But somewhere, someone suddenly had an idea. Let's split the group! Let some members leave and form a separate group and move it to a new environment! This was the first break-off and creation of a new "country".
During the ages (hundreds of thousands of years) this was repeated again and again, and it became the principal means for the human species to spread over the whole planet earth.
To be successful, the splitting of a group must be well-timed. It must not be too late, when food supply in the original place had already become too scarce, or the individuals so weakened by starvation that they lost their ability to survive. It must not be too early, so groups became too small to defend themselves against predators or malevolent humans.
Diversity and dispersion served as an insurance against extinction by epidemics, natural disasters, starvation and self-generated pollution. Even if many groups were dying off, some would survive and carry on the line. This predisposition to split a group at the right moment, again and again, was evolutionary successful and it was (and is) one of the major preconditions for making humanity, as a species, successful. Natural selection favoured this predisposition to a level where it became a part of the human genetics, a part of what it is to be human.
To see this principle applied in recorded history is not hard. Just read any standard work on history. How the people of Asia Minor colonised the coastal lands around the Mediterranean during the early Antiquity, is a good example. In the city-states of the time, it was common to solve the problem of overpopulation by sending away young men to find their fortune somewhere else. A boat or two were sent away, with the explicit purpose to form a new society somewhere.
Overpopulation has not always been the major reason for breaking away and it is not the most important one. Ideological or, more often, religious disagreement can be found as far back as there is recorded history. In more recent times (recent from a historical perspective), a part of the early United States was formed by colonies of people deviating religiously from the norm of their native countries, and who emigrated for that reason.
The world today is so full of people that it is hard to find a new place for a new society. The trend of the times (which is a different expression of the same predisposition to schism) is rather going in the direction of dividing existing countries into several, being distinctly different in some way. The most apparent examples are the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. No doubt that trend will continue.
But it is not evolutionary beneficial, since the geographical separation of the groups is not sufficient to make the process "risk reducing" for the species. [Not beneficial in terms of biological evolution, that is. It could be beneficial in terms of societal evolution, provided the separate groups become sufficiently different (which is rarely the case).]
The same applies to attempts to schism inside a society. There is no room for breaking loose and since it is a natural human instinct to do so, a lot of violence is the result. This can be seen on all levels of society. An example on the most vulgar level is the forming of groups of supporters to specific football teams, who will launch veritable warfare against supporters of other teams.
The ruling "bigbrotherism" is striving to make populations conform, calling it integration. That will fail, because conformity is unnatural in a group above a certain size. Obsession with various forms of "equality" (egalitarianism) and attempts to force people into the shape of a common standard will just cause unrest, violence and mental disorder, and ultimately it will be a threat to continued human life as a whole.
What we are discussing is the principle of schism. The word “schism” means splitting into “two”, and the principle is that when there is an important disagreement or difference, the disagreeing or differing parties split into two and both continue their own respective ways. Nobody tries to force his or her ways on the other, no majority trying to impose its will on a minority. The minority simply breaks off and both respect, or at least accept, the difference – or keep so far away from each other that they cannot harm or otherwise interfere in each others' business. This is the only reasonable way to deal with serious disagreement or friction, and repeated schisms in this sense, is the only development that can ever lead to genuine progress. That is, unless we are talking about a progressing decay!
Schism provides diversity, which, in turn, by competing alternatives, brings evolution ahead. On the long run, only the fit results of schisms will survive. However, if there is conformity, no schisms and no alternatives - there will be no competition and no evolution, only stagnation, and in the next step atrophy and decay.
However, it doesn't mean that more schism is always better, it can become too much if the resulting parts become too weak – as in the example above: if the groups of people become to small. The one provoking the schism, the one who forks something out from something existing, must have a sufficiently strong alternative to make it worthwhile. Otherwise the new alternative will soon die.
For the time being, creating a new country, especially if you are going for traditional sovereignty, would be an almost insurmountable task. Maybe not impossible, but very hard. And it can definitely be questioned whether it is the most desirable goal. Sovereignty of traditional countries tend to erode these days, and maybe tomorrow's world will have no nation-states at all. After all there are other ways to organise people. The state is not inevitable.
Moreover, with a traditional state you would have to deal with many tedious and expensive things, like military defence, foreign policy and diplomacy. You need settlers and a complete administration. If you are aiming at freedom, this is hardly the path to follow. You would soon end up as enslaved by your new state as you were by the one you left.
Limited sovereignty, autonomy, is more attractive, since it would free you from much of the tedious task of relating your country to the surrounding world. This sort of countries are mostly protectorates to larger countries (which manage the foreign policy and defence), and the internal freedom is mostly far beyond what any major country offers. Example of public countries of this sort are the various Channel Islands, some other areas related to Britain, some islands related to the United States, and quite a lot of other areas around the world. In international law these areas are mostly counted as a part of the larger country that "protects" them, although they are self-governing in all or most internal matters. [Some countries normally considered as fully sovereign, are for all practical purposes belonging to this category. Notably Andorra and San Marino, which hardly own any genuine sovereignty.]
Forming new countries of this sort would not be easy either, but not quite as hard as a fully sovereign state. Yet, would it really suit your needs and be worth the trouble?
Cyberspace is seen by many as the new frontier, and it might be in a way. Given that cyberspace is in some sense considered as a "territory", the term "country" could be justified.
The idea of forming cyber countries has resulted in a plethora of phenomena, of which most are games and belong to the entertainment industry, or have their real value in artistic or educational aspects. For this discussion we will not consider them.
Forming communities for various purposes can be a way to deal with "schism", since it allows people to get together with others sharing the same ideas or interests, without concern for the majority society's stance.
Real serious cyber countries for the purpose of expanding freedom are a very real dream and some serious attempts have been made, even if "freedom" must be understood in the limited meaning of everything related to cyberspace. The most serious and in some meaning successful attempt so far was LFC, Laissiez Faire City, which started as an attempt to create a real state, but changed its focus to cyberspace. It is treated in Laissez Faire City.
But everything that has to do with cyberspace is still much in its infancy. The future will certainly present many new attempts, some successful and some not. It is probable, however, that individual freedom can benefit strongly from the development here, even if a more decentralised approach than "countries" seems more viable.
The general principle of schism is in a sophisticated way integrated in bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency. Indeed, it is one of its major strengths. There is no silly majority imposing its will on minorities. If someone wants a different bitcoin, introduce changes in the protocol and cause a fork. This is slightly simplified, but it is the underlying principle. But of course, one can also create a completely new cryptocurrency from scratch.
Either way, we get two different cryptocurrencies and everyone is pleased!
This can be repeated any number of times. Not said that every new cryptocurrency will survive though. Schism never guarantees any party's survival, only the fittest ones survive.
(This article is partly based on material previously published in TMA & Meriondho Leo.)
Nation & State, Art & Culture; How confusion serves a purpose
Laissez Faire City
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