Inherent in the Covenant of Noah is the requirement to build a civilization, but with a great deal of flexibility.
To be civilized is to embrace the rules necessary to live peacefully in close quarters with other humans. A civilization is the collection of rules by which people are civilized, able to live in a city. I would contend the Spirit Realm is congruent to a civilization, but that’s because we are forced to use parabolic language to describe that realm in the first place. More than once I’ve compared it to the virtual world, but the virtual world has multiple civilizations already. One is more highly developed than the rest.
You may be familiar with the Open Source community, which constitutes a virtual civilization. It has its own ethics and culture, its own rules of co-existence. It makes us all a little schizophrenic because what we find in our virtual civilization is pretty hard to match in meat space. The reason I use Open Source software (particularly Linux) is because, of things human, it comes closest to the Spirit Realm in my experience. Yes, you could allege my personal Christian Mysticism is partly shaped by my experience with the Open Source civilization, but it’s the very nature of spiritual truth we recognize it when we come across it, regardless whether we can talk about it. Some part of my spiritual awareness recognizes something true and good in Open Source, mostly in the nature of the civilization.
There are limits, because in the Spirit, you are either dead or alive, and anyone is welcome to rise in wealth and power, as it were. In the Open Source world, the core talent is not so universal. Being able to contribute is simply not something everyone involved can do. Also, the Spirit Realm may wax and wane in human awareness, but it will outlast humanity itself. Open Source is a derived system which will pass when the Internet goes away — and it will. What endures and outlives Open Source and the Internet is something more fundamental, something which reflects the Spirit Realm.
So we who participate in Open Source are fully aware of its limits when we bother to consider it. It’s an expression of something humans have always wanted, and will always surface regardless of what our world looks like and what shape it takes. The coin of the realm is reputation based on talent and accomplishment. The kernel itself makes Linus Torvalds a demi-god, and he gets his way on most things. Not because he has some power of coercion, some ownership and control, but he has reputation, and people honor it. His authority is virtual and voluntarily rendered to him by the community. It becomes a civilization because the participants embrace the underlying ethics, the rules. It could easily fall apart, and most of us know the situation is changing. We don’t know whether this thing we all share will stay alive in the new virtual world.
When people who know something about economics say they don’t trust Bitcoin, for example, we can discern, whatever else they may know, they don’t understand Open Source. Bitcoin is really nothing more than basic modern economics applied within the Open Source civilization. Yes, it can be used to exchange for meat space goods, and that is happening right now. As with all economic systems, it had a birth, a wobbly start, was embraced and grew. It has a future golden age when it will seem dominant within its own sphere. Then, this too shall pass, and some folks will be left holding the bag. As with any market, Bitcoin is an investment with some risk. While it lives, good things will happen and people’s lives will be improved in some measure, and the good will almost certainly outweigh the bad, all things considered. So it is with any economic system, whether barter, precious metals, electronic fund transfers in the fiat currency of your choice, or anything else. Bitcoin is just another store of value and means of exchange, and it works, so we can call it “money.”
So long as any of this is anchored to fallen humanity, it will be vulnerable to predatory behavior. We know for certain governments would like to control Bitcoin, but so far cannot, and may never succeed. They’d like to control the Internet, and will surely succeed on a limited scale, but it will take time. They most certainly do have back doors in Windows. Such doors have been used more than anyone cares to admit. They’d like to have them in Linux and BSD, and may have some finger holes here and there. There is little evidence they’ve done much with them, if so. They believe they control the various fiat currencies, but the underlying assumption of debt is already owned by some other kind of government. None of them can control any part of genuine spiritual activity.
I use Open Source, and it uses me. Same with the Internet. I may eventually use Bitcoin. All of them will pass away sooner or later. This business of the Spirit Realm stood before time, and will be after it ends. I don’t make a religion of anything on this earth.
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