Life, Decentralized

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

You know that really famous quote that’s sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein? “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” I’ve always thought it to be the definition of perseverance.

I believe it to the same extent I believe in Oscar Wilde's words of wisdom: “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

Yet, ever since I started this blog (putting aside the dozens that came before) I’ve met a lot of brilliant writers and artists who are cynical and deeply afraid. They don’t really want to be successful. They’re afraid to take risks, to give something up for that great work of art they have the potential of creating.

“It's just a hobby.” They say. “It's just a passion project.” They believe they're not yet good enough, that they haven’t saved up enough money. Maybe they’re too young, they’re too complicated, they’re too alone or too happy.

It can be summed up in one word: bullshit.

Money isn't the problem. I built this site for $0 (the domain costs $11 per year).

What you believe, you create. Simple as that.

Think of how many opportunities people miss out on because they tried to “play it cool.” It's completely venomous, and the only way to be toxic is to be insecure because it is responding through fear. When you're secure, you make choices out of love.

Whenever I run into amazing artists and learn about them, one of the topics of conversation always happens to be about the early web.

The idealism of the early web brought a lot of excitement to the world. It was a new technology that would provide everyone, regardless of means, access to the world's knowledge at their fingertips. Unfiltered, and untouched by algorithms that aim to appease advertisers. The truth will set you free, borders aren't a problem, and you should have equal access to governance and connection to your community.

That ideal seems like a far cry from the web we have today, right?

Not entirely, but we've certainly abandoned (many of) the principles of the free and open web and what it was supposed to be.

For me, it's not about the idealism of the early web, but the actual early web as it was, that I miss and respect. It was a tool of passion. I remember searching for something and getting results that were just people's personal sites; they were made because they were passionate about the topic. Amateur enthusiasm was a beautiful thing. Everything's a statement now, done for clout or to build a 'personal brand.'

You know what they say about the sin of age, though, right? The biggest one of all is to forget the trials of youth. To forget what came before, even though things have evolved, is how things eventually fall apart.

Is that what Web3 is trying to solve?

Somewhat, yes. Generally speaking, “web3” is an umbrella term. It refers to the “future of the Internet”, which believers say will be decentralized, uncensorable, and egalitarian.

Take it from Richard Hendricks, who explained it best:

The truth is (and I’m afraid I can’t lie to you) that it’s not enough to be really good at something. What you dream of matters to no one but yourself, but what you do about it and how you decide to act upon that dream, is an entirely different story.

If you want to be successful, it won't come by questioning the past or fearing the future.

It'll come by making the best possible decisions for the people that need you now.

Is that what Mastadon and Minds are trying to give users a taste of?

I believe so. 

I had seen Mastadon and Minds quite a while ago but didn’t think anything of it. The idea of “federated” social media seemed quaint.

There's nothing wrong with the way Google, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube work, in my opinion.

A search result reads: “Decentralization is key to ensuring that the Internet remains a public resource that is healthy and available to all of us.”

My qualm with tools like these is philosophical.

  • Do we deserve them (given how many systems we abuse)? 
  • Are we ready for them (are we mature)? 
  • Will this be a repeat in history?

We saw what happened with the early idealism of the early web, which is why I'm hesitant to think that web3 won't play out the same way.

Besides: there isn't a problem that web3's technology solves that existing tech doesn't already do a pretty good job of, from the perspective of a customer.

Ultimately, we can make all the (nonsensical) promises we want, but we won't know what web3 will be until it's here, and we won't know the true effect of decentralized social networks unless a majority of us are using them.

A bit of satire here, but I agree with some German guy, who created Motherf***ing Website, and said:

I'm not actually saying your shitty site should look like this. What I'm saying is that all the problems we have with websites are ones we create ourselves. Websites aren't broken by default, they are functional, high-performing, and accessible. You break them. You son-of-a-bitch.

The real difference is in the choice, and not whether we can, but whether or not we should.

“Why?” is the one question that makes us more human than any other, and we’ve stopped asking it. We don’t care. We're simply given a bunch of rules and expected to comply; and more often than not, we do. 

Without thinking, we have traded our artistic and creative individuality for things that do not matter. When our time comes, what will be our legacy?

Start being a creator. Stop being a follower.