The Gordian Knot of Fiat, And How Bitcoin Cuts Through It

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Bitcoin has enabled the plebeians to instigate generational alteration without needing a legendary catalyst figure.

This is an sentiment editorial by Andrew Axelrod, a Bitcoin pedagogue and writer whose LinkedIn posts person orangish pilled thousands.

“We genuinely are a taxon with amnesia. We person forgotten a precise important portion of our story.” — Graham Hancock

“You person forgotten who you are and truthful person forgotten me. Look wrong yourself Simba. You are much than what you person become. You indispensable instrumentality your spot successful the Circle of life.” — Mufasa

Most of quality acquisition is relegated to the dustbin of past and forgotten. And possibly rightfully so. After all, beingness is mostly mundane, punctuated by inanities.

But those scarce fewer stories that survive, past for bully reason. They talk to america connected a deeper level. They pat into a cardinal and enduring information astir the quality condition. These aren’t stories from a acold gone past, these are stories astir the present and now. The names and faces whitethorn change, but the stories enactment the same. We can’t assistance but play them retired implicit and implicit again, procreation by generation. They are arsenic applicable to america present arsenic ever.

By contrast, bitcoin whitethorn look similar the bleeding borderline of exertion and without humanities parallel. But the information is, bitcoin fits into a acold richer and meaningful communicative astir our precise nature. Let america present delve into 1 specified communicative and research however bitcoin volition travel to play a cardinal portion successful its latest rendition.

Alexander the Great, who forged a immense empire with the extremity of his spear and whose exploits person go the worldly of legend, is without the shadiness of a uncertainty 1 of those scarce fewer figures that person stood the trial of time.

One of his legends stands retired successful particular. The past Greek story tells of however Alexander the Great’s ambitious run successful Western Asia brought him to the Phrygian superior metropolis of Gordium, successful modern-day Turkey.

As the communicative goes, Phrygia was a kingdom without a king. Its inhabitants believed that the rightful heir to the throne was yet to beryllium ordained. The existent king would uncover himself by solving an intractable occupation — the Gordian knot.

This knot was a nightmarish tangle of wrist-thick cornel bark that was twisted astir an ox cart’s yoke and intolerable to unfasten.

The ox cart had belonged to the past king Gordias, who, himself a humble peasant, had been placed connected the throne done providence a 1000 years earlier.

A prophecy foretold that whoever could untie the knot would not lone regularisation implicit Phrygia arsenic the dormant king’s successor, but would spell connected to conquer each of Asia.

This of people appealed to Alexander the Great who readily accepted the challenge.

But erstwhile helium failed to untangle the knot, conscionable arsenic everyone earlier him had, helium did thing that shocked the Phrygians.

He unsheathed his shortsword and unceremoniously chopped done the ropes, saying:

“It makes nary quality however they are loosed.”

"Alexander Slashed The Gordian Knot Apart With His Sword" by Jesús Blasco (1919-95)

Now comes the absorbing portion of the story.

Alexander the Great had intelligibly violated the oracle’s prophecy by cutting done the knot alternatively of disentangling it and had successful the process desecrated a beatified relic connected the steps of their temple. So however did the Phrygians react?

They crowned him arsenic king connected the spot.

How tin this be?

Although the Gordian knot mythology is wide known, it is besides profoundly misunderstood.

Many historians and philosophers gully immoderate of the pursuing conclusions from it:

  • That sometimes the champion reply to a analyzable occupation is the simplest one.
  • That immoderate problems are solvable lone done bold enactment and with large ambition.
  • That Alexander the Great had lawyered his mode astir the prophecy’s words. After all, exceptionally clever radical spot solutions wherever others bash not. “Thinking extracurricular the box,” we would telephone this.

All of these interpretations nevertheless miss the people and neglect to admit a basal information the communicative elegantly reveals. The essence of the fable is simply this:

Alexander the Great was possibly the top conquering warfare lord of each time. He’s surely close up determination with the likes of Attila the Hun, Sun Tzu, Saladin, Julius Caesar and Hannibal Barca. He was undefeated successful conflict and had brought astir of the civilized satellite to its knees. What’s more, helium had astatine his backmost an service of fiercely loyal Macedonian soldiers who stood waiting astatine the gates of Gordium, acceptable to rape and pillage the metropolis astatine a moment’s notice.

Who among the Phrygians would situation situation Alexander the Great’s methods?

If helium wanted to play accelerated and escaped with the rules, who was to accidental otherwise.

And so, the Gordian knot is astatine its halfway the communicative of however mightiness makes right.

It’s nary coincidence Alexander the Great utilized his Sword to “solve” the problem.1

But the Gordian knot has an adjacent deeper acquisition to thatch us. To recognize its meaning, we indispensable archetypal admit the story’s connection for what it genuinely is.

In the story, the knot was roped astir an ox cart — a exertion for transport and trade, and a awesome of civilization and order. As the prophecy foretold, the rightful king would unshackle the ox cart and go ruler implicit the known world. This would beryllium done done the usage of brute spot — by the sword.

As if to thrust this constituent home, galore historical paintings and creator renderings person since depicted a chariot alternatively of an ox cart. The chariot of people being a striking awesome of warfare and triumph.

“Alexander the Great Cutting the Gordian Knot” (1767) by Jean-François Godefroy

The connection is clear: When a concern becomes truthful gnarly and entangled arsenic to go untenable, a proverbial Gordian knot, it demands a forceful histrion to propulsion retired the aged ruleset and successful truthful doing make a caller order.

But what if determination is nary omniscient and almighty person to grasp a sword successful manus and bash what is necessary?

After all, the Alexander the Greats of this satellite are fewer and acold successful betwixt the agelong arcs of history. They are the exceptions, not the rule. Knowing this, Alexander the Great himself ne'er chose an heir to his empire — what would beryllium the point? When asked connected his deathbed to whom his immeasurable wealthiness and expansive kingdom would fall, helium simply responded: “To the strongest.”

What followed was fifty years of warfare … This is simply a fig with value that we volition revisit. The constituent is though, that the Gordian knot is not ever loosened with a cleanable cut, but is sometimes butchered and frayed.

To this end, the Romans, for example, had devised their ain mode of cutting a Gordian knot whenever it reared its disfigured head. Working people citizens would wantonness full cities successful defiance, called “Succession of the Plebeians,” leaving the rulers to squabble amongst themselves, and unit a strategy change.

“The Secession of the People to the Mons Sacer” (1849) by B Barlocinni

This is thing new. Such transitions hap with stunning regularity — astir each 50 years, successful fact. History tells america that societal orders typically instrumentality astir 3 generations to deteriorate into a Gordian knot and necessitate an Alexander the Great to portion done them. As the saying goes: The archetypal procreation sows it, the 2nd grows it, and the 3rd blows it.

It’s a communicative arsenic aged arsenic time.

This process of civilizational decay and rebirth is specified an ingrained and quality improvement that it’s adjacent recovered its mode into scripture.

The publication of Leviticus prescribes a alleged Year of Jubilee arsenic a remedy for these purges. The Year of Jubilee comes astir erstwhile each 50 years and is simply a peculiar clip during which each indebtedness is forgiven and each slates wiped cleanable — a large reset:

“You shall frankincense consecrate the fiftieth twelvemonth and proclaim a merchandise done the onshore to each its inhabitants. It shall beryllium a jubilee for you (Leviticus 25:1–4, 8–10, NASB).”

Yes, the names and faces mightiness change, but the communicative doesn’t. And we again find ourselves astatine specified an inflection point.

The existent fiscal satellite bid has existed for conscionable implicit 50 years, and present it’s coming isolated astatine the seams (how’s that for coincidence). This astir caller rhythm kicked disconnected with the abolishment of the golden modular connected August 15, 1971. After abandoning the golden standard, the satellite has been moving purely connected insubstantial money, recognition and borrowed time. We person been surviving done a planetary fiat experimentation ever since.

But this section is present rapidly drafting to a close. After all, our existent fiscal strategy is the Gordian knot of them each and we are undoubtedly connected the cusp of a reset.

The 2008 fiscal situation proffered conscionable a tiny glimpse of what’s to come. When the location of cards began collapsing successful April of that year, a horrifying realization began to yet dawn connected our ruling people …

The tangle of debt, owe backed securities and different recognition based derivatives, had mutated into a monstrosity that was constricting and suffocating everything. Even worse, the fiscal situation revealed however trillions of dollars of indebtedness based derivatives were causing contagion effects that nary 1 truly understood — the system’s concatenation of ownership was nary longer comprehensible.

A case-study by EJ Schoen explains how:

" 1 knew who owed wealth to whom oregon however overmuch was owed, causing banks to cease trusting and lending to different banks."

And erstwhile spot successful the strategy yet reached its terminal infinitesimal connected September 29, 2008, the Dow fell 7 percent, marking the largest single-day constituent driblet successful history. This was the plebeians' effort astatine severing the knot. Instead of the Roman citizenry fleeing their capital, these were investors trying to wantonness vessel by selling retired of each positions.

But of course, the plebeians yet failed to stave disconnected the inevitable illness of Rome and were forced to helplessly ticker arsenic corrupt cardinal planners debased the currency and bankrupted and ransacked a once-great empire. Over the people of a fewer achy decades, the superior metropolis was practically emptied out, collapsing from a tallness of much than a cardinal inhabitants to a paltry colonisation of conscionable a fewer thousand. The plebeians could not forestall the civilized satellite from plunging into centuries of darkness.

And conscionable arsenic the plebeians had failed, truthful excessively had we. Absent an Alexander the Great, the knot was not cut. In fact, rather the opposite. The knot was further tightened arsenic bureaucrats poured billions of printed wealth into the void. The expected remedy to the Global Financial Crisis was to furniture further indebtedness connected apical of the system. Central banks person ever since continued to backstop the marketplace by inflating the wealth proviso and further debasing currency.

And now, the knot has go truthful twisted that adjacent thing arsenic elemental arsenic equities, a supposedly straightforward look of fiscal ownership, has go an unmanageable tangle of debt:

The DTCC, the world’s main commercialized matching service, attracts 99 percent of U.S. woody travel and is expected to support way of who owns what.

Only, they can't.

As we present know, dozens of lawsuits person since revealed that the shares successful circulation transcend the existent and authorized interval for thousands of companies.

That's however GME had a abbreviated involvement of 149% (which is impossible) and however shareholders owned 33% much of Dole Foods than determination were Dole Food shares.

The knot has go tangled beyond belief.

Back to the communicative of Alexander the Great:

The crippled ne'er changes — lone the names and faces do. And so, the Gordian knot becomes undone, 1 mode oregon another. Whether it beryllium astatine the hands of a almighty person who tin reconstruct bid to the world, oregon nether the strain of its ain suffocating weight, plunging everything into chaos.

But here’s what has changed: For the archetypal time, we request not hold for an Alexander the Great. Instead, we tin wield the sword ourselves. Because of bitcoin’s unsocial spot of self-custody, we tin take to chopped the Gordian knot astatine immoderate clip by simply taking possession of our ain money.

Gone are the endless and nebulous chains of credit-based ownership. The elemental enactment of taking self-custody banishes each mediate men, sets occurrence to the endlessly multiplying insubstantial wealth and clarifies existent ownership. The plebeians present yet person a instrumentality to chopped the knot. And portion bitcoiners whitethorn telephone themselves “plebs,” it’s precocious clip we besides understood that bitcoin is the sword.


  1. An alternate and acold lesser known mentation of the story tells however Alexander the Great loosened the knot by pulling the linchpin retired of the yoke. However, this mentation hasn’t stood the trial of clip and, instead, the look “cutting the Gordian knot” has permeated our vocabulary.”

This is simply a impermanent station by Andrew Axelrod. Opinions expressed are wholly their ain and bash not needfully bespeak those of BTC Inc oregon Bitcoin Magazine.

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