I had the good fortune of having not one but two out of town friends stop by our house last night. One of the best things about living in a popular place is that if you advertise your guest room enough you will eventually get visitors.
Montana isn’t the most accessible place in America, but there are plenty of folks who make a point of coming out here for opportunities both recreational and professional. Yellowstone and Big Sky is incredibly popular and rightly so.
We are adjacent to a lot of popular outdoorsy activities but also a destination on the social circuit of the ultra high net worth who drive much of our financial and cultural products. Where there is money there is the talent & service that relies on that capital class for a livelihood. The amenities here are a cut above thanks to the wealth.
I personally appreciate it as it means all kinds flock to Bozeman from billionaires to back country guides. One friend was driving up on his way to Minnesota while the other was in town for hunting season. It was totally impromptu. I didn’t even know either would be in town till a few days ago.
We were lucky enough to tuck into a meal prepared by a crew of high end private chefs. The group calls itself Yellowhouse and does the occasional elaborate meal as a pop up restaurant. The pop-ups are at their own pleasure so it was sheer good luck to have not only multiple friends from out of town but a special meal to share with them.
As we are fully in the swing of fall, all this real life time is to be expected. I’ll be on the road soon meeting with folks and scouting for talent and companies. If you happen to be based out of Europe make sure to hit me up. I’ll be in the Baltics and Nordics with maybe another stop or two.
In one of my group chats, I hang out with a bunch of rationalist machine learning engineers who are happily climbing the rungs of accelerating life.
I really love the energy of the community as it’s centered tangibly around making things. It’s a little less talk and a lot more action. It’s got a bit of a feeling of Stack Overflow’s early helpfulness but without the Hacker News nerd sniping culture. It’s like the best of a small Reddit thread but for dudes who want to make shit with artificial intelligence.
Now, of course, every community finds itself with disruptive members and turf fights over social mores. Virtual spaces are notorious for clout chasing and personal dramas. Veterans of green text wars are familiar with Geeks, Mops and Sociopaths in Subculture Evolution.
I spent an hour watching it play out last night and then went back to reading before bedtime. I’ve got some personal investment in the space and it’s people, so of course that’s what I’m doing on a Friday Night.
But as I got up the next day and saw everyone going back to work, a insightful lowbie named bmorphism (slang for smaller anon accounts on Twitter within subcultures) introduced me to a term I’d never heard before. Autopoietic Ergodicity. Or how do multi-actor dynamic systems self regulate?
He introduced me Autopoietic Ergodicity via a link on PerplexityAI which seemed appropriate. And it got me thinking about how we as individuals interact on a much wider system and how it interacts with us.
The term combines two ideas by positing that complex adaptive systems (like living organisms or ecosystems) exhibit self-regulating behavior that enables them to maintain persistent patterns while also experiencing change from external influences. These systems are capable of minimizing changes caused by random factors, ensuring their essential dynamics remain stable without needing to undergo a complete reset or cycle back to the initial state. It’s like having a dampening mechanism that continually adjusts for fluctuations, allowing system resilience and long-term persistence in an ever-changing environment.
It’s my suspicion that something special is happening across portions of the fracturing social web as most of our platforms go back under more centralized control. The system is fighting back.
The grey tribes that have populated Silicon Valley have an opinion about the future. And it’s a positive one. We’ve got to find ways to be resilient in the face of memetic interference on our systems. There will be high energy distractions. We’ve got to be reminded that it’s a competition for efficient use of energy and we shouldn’t let it be drained. We’ve got to focus on making things that speak for themselves.
Humans are horny for hierarchy. We are eager to give our power away as a species. Please will someone else just be responsible for making our decisions for us? Can someone point me to the person in charge? “Take me to your leader!”
If someone seems smarter, richer, more capable, more aggressive, heck even if they have better taste than us, they become an instant candidate for us delegating our authority over to them. My most popular blog post ever was about dickriding. Yes it was about Elon Musk’s fans.
I’ll be the first to say that people who court you to gain power should be viewed as suspect. But someone who has power is not themselves always suspect by default. I know it’s a fine distinction. But people fall into positions of authority simply by going out and being competent. Competence is a fast route to power.
Sure being competent has a lot of downsides. Suddenly you’ve got power you maybe didn’t want. We have an incentive shunt power off to someone else as it generally sucks to be in charge. It’s energetically expensive to be responsible. Just ask one of your friends with a toddler.
Sometimes we have to wield power because it’s our job to take care of our corner of the universe. Again ask someone with a toddler. We are in charge of sustaining some portion of the grand experiment called life. Even if it’s just our own families. Even if it’s just yourself.
So why am I titling this post “I am Beff Jezos?” Right now online there is a movement gaining recognition for encouraging people to have agency and build for the future. It’s a movement that wants you to own your own power. And to help others get more power of their own.
It’s principles are simple. The future will arrive and we should build like it’s coming. Slowing things down, or even worse, going backwards, is not a solution to our problems. We can only go forward. If you’d prefer a driving metaphor, we should accelerate into the curve. Slowing down just spins out the car. Civilization is the car.
So what, you want to just uplift humanity, build AI and populate the universe with the maximum diversity and quantity of life?
The movement is more of a meme space than anything else. It is decentralized. I’ve not met anyone that runs it though I’ve spoken to many vocal supporters. And I’ve chatted with folks that are at the nexus of of its online presence. Everyone is positive and friendly. Most of them are anonymous. I’m not even of sure if some of the accounts are singular or plural. Which is pretty cool. It doesn’t have a president or a CEO or even a founder who owns anything with any amount of authority. It could be one dude or multiple dudes gender non specific.
It’s just a bunch of people who make stuff. It’s popular amongst engineers but it’s an ethos that to anyone who can make something. Even this blog post counts. I am e/acc as much as anyone.
Naturally if no one is in charge it’s a bit threatening. If there is no hierarchy how do we control it? If no one is in charge then what will we do if someone under their banner does something bad?
Such is the beauty of an idea. A meme can’t really be owned. A decentralized group of goofballs on the internet can’t really be snuffed out for bad think. Maybe a few nodes go down. They literally cannot kill all of us.
The messages does seem to be resonating. I know being hopeful has improved my mood. A decent number of people who make shit want the future to come a little faster. They want more people with more ownership of the building process.
More complexity and more abundance is appealing even if it seems impossible to achieve. Don’t worry, just build for your corner of the world. Put power and responsibility in as many hands as possible. We can build it together.
You too can have a toddler and own the joy of being responsible for your corner of the universe. It’s dangerous for sure. Folks will tell you for your own good you need to have a hierarchy and someone responsible for the power.
But guess what? It can be you. And sure heads will get bonked. Crying will ensue. Remember I said ask someone with a toddler? What if you are the competent and in charge parent? Shit right?
We’ve got to go forward. I am Beff Jezos. You too are Beff Jezos. And they can’t stop us all from arriving at the future. Go ahead and accelerate into the curve.
I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about who gets to decide the boundaries of society.
Automation of civic and cultural life has been happening at the speed of capitalism. It’s about to happen at the speed of artificial intelligence’s processing power.
At least during most of techno-capitalism, corporations and governments were still run by humans. You could blame an executive or elected official. What happens when more decisions are snapped into reality by a numerical boundary?
High frequency traders have found many an arbitrage they whittled into nothingness. Who will get whittled away when the machines decide how society should run?
We got a taste of the horrors of treating people like statistics instead of humans during the first Biden era crime bill with mandatory minimum sentencing. And here we are rushing to find new ways to nudge consensus back to hard lines and institutionalization.
I don’t know how we handle virtue in a world without grace. Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue seems prescient. Forgiveness in the face of horrific reality has been the hallmark of humanity’s most enduring religions. But then again so has swift punishment and inscrutable cruelty. Humans are quite a species.
I am, like manyothers, concerned about reinforcement learning in machine learning and artificial intelligence. How and where we set the boundaries of the machines that determine the course of daily life has been a pressing question since the invention of the spreadsheet.
Marx certainly went on about alienation from our contributions to work. But division of labor keeps dividing. And algorithms seem to only increase the pace of the process.
Everyone in my social circle was in a terrific mood yesterday. A small company that was widely supported by angels in my ecosystem was acquired by a larger startup that we all like. Happy investors that we were, Alex and I read the cap table over dinner and celebrated each co-investor that we liked.
It was a jubilant moment across my group chats in a darker wider climate for startups. The federal reserve’s inflation fight has meant tighter dollars. And that means less funding for early stage companies at lower valuations.
The focus has been good for the industry. A reminder that we can’t spend our way to innovation. We’ve relied on bigger companies, weaker talent, and unsustainable growth policies while the cash spigot was on.
I enjoyed the win. I’m happy for the founder and the team who will be going to such a great company. I’m happy a lot of investors got a win. But I know that the good mood will have to sustain us through some rough patches. So it’s good we are all banding together and the wins are shared.
Rounding the bend into a thousand posts is teaching me some lessons in humility and frailty. I am reaching to get words word as my mind is slow.
I am not reacting to something in an average way and it’s been a struggle to keep going over the laser week or two. I’ve put one foot in front of the other but I can see that I only slept for a couple hours last night. Ironic to be considering averages when one’s own responses are so slowed.
Much of my struggle is probably just some better living through chemistry problems. A new addition to the biohacking routine went awry. I’m struggling with the heat wave and the air quality of summer in the mountain west. The long days of bright lights slowly unspooling my sanity as I wait for cooler less cruel months to come. Just breathe in and out and try to eat and sleep.
We are deep in the dog days of summer. I ran a fever and found myself dead asleep till nearly 1pm as my body valiantly struggled to process deluge of stress hormones I’d let pile up. I missed recording a podcast but the fever broke. I’ll catch up.
In the space of a day, we all leapt into the proverbial blender to save the naive, the kind, and the fucking stupid. It’s what Spock have done for us. Pro-social is the logical choice. Or is it? Is it better to be red than dead? None of us know.
I found it to be a privilege to be a member of the hive mind. We are all the alignment. Our consensus efforts inside the plutocrats toy is more likely to bring about the singularity than almost any other activity I can imagine.
It is a privilege to be in the egregore. My smol sensemaker syncretic smooth brain being hooked up into the wider hive for “Red vs Blue Walk Away From Omelas Boogaloo” is quite literally divine. To retweet each others bangers is to see the face of God. Just try and remember the truth. There is no blender.
It’s clearly the deep dog days of summer as I’m in a bit of a mood. I’ve got all kinds of things on my mind and yet it’s slow going executing on anything. The doldrums has certainly gripped me. And yet I take hope.
This corner of Twitter is going through a paroxysmal fit of whether it’s rational to be embracing pro-social behavior. Without having to cite all my sources we had Jane Goodall being packaged into a deceleration meme about removing a billion or so people.
So I think my entire mood when staring down the barrel of the future is “what’s it going to cost me in my soul?”
The cost of knowing it’s not just about us is slamming into the hard reality that you can’t do a damn thing about other people. And so we have to ask if we preserve what we have or do we leap into the great unknown. I don’t know anyone who is in the mood for much safety at the moment. There doesn’t seem like much to be had.
You could be forgiven for losing faith in the American Dream. We’ve had a rough couple of years with bad vibes and culture wars. The Great Weirdening era was not easy.
I’ve been encouraging people to consider preparedness in the face of unrelenting uncertainty for a decade now. It’s time for us to move on from the “what if” of our current geopolitical, economic & climate dislocations to the “what now?”
But that doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful. I am optimistic about what a very different future will look like. I invest in technologies as varied as open source vector database software, multi sig wallets for DAO governance & network states, and psychedelic clinics for mental health. I clearly believe we can do future in the future. Orders of magnitude better. If you believe in the same you future you can become an LP in my fund chaotic.capital
Change is the only inevitable thing in life. I’m proud to have been raised in the Rocky Mountains because our history has been so crucial in the formation of the American mythos of a better future. We are the frontier. The future is a frontier just as surely as Star Trek was about space cowboys.
We take what works from our heritage and we use it to inform a better future. Because a frontier represents a better future for your family. That the next generation will have it better. It’s a commitment to our heirs.
We’ve seen what happens when people don’t believe the future will be better. The pandemic years were bleak. I’ve seen the despair in people’s eyes when I discuss the problems we have in front of us. I’ve happily worn the doomer mantle as I do not wish to convey that success is assured nor that the problems all have solutions. As without clear eyes we will remain in denial forever. But after accepting that we have problems we cannot remain frozen, we must act.
I’d like us all to wake up to our reality and resolve on the good we can achieve by believing the future can be improved by what we do in the now.
We need culture wins not culture wars.
The desire for clean and livable environment, a functional state, and the dignity of our life’s pursuits remain common cause for all humans. Resilience and adaptability remain our tools.
If you are one of my neighbors in Montana, I am hosting a get together on August 16th. I believe that America has a “dissident” middle who are tired of culture wars. We want the freedom to pursue the American dream without government interference. A dynamic future with growth and choice for everyone is the best path forward. And I like to walk that path with you. If you’d like that please come on by my place.
A regular theme of my writing here is the pace of accelerating change. There is rarely a break from “life happens” for any of us because that is the human condition. But I must say it’s really taking a lot to manage for some Americans who have had enormous systemic advantages for several decades now and are reacting poorly to even the potential of loss.
I believe the best way to overcome the loss of these advantages is by banding together in teams and collaborating to solve bigger problems together. Everyone brings a unique viewpoint.
If you are like me, teams are necessary for survival. I can survive on my own but it’s a much smaller more circumscribed life.
I have accepted that whatever character sheet got built before my arrival (genetics & chance) requires some min-maxing as on my own I’m not particularly independent or self sufficient. Yes, libertarians recognize our interdependency. It’s called division of labor.
Min-maxing is the character-building strategy of maximizing a specific desirable ability, skill, or other power of a character and minimizing everything else, seen as undesirable. The result is a character who is excessively powerful in one particular way, but exceedingly weak in others.