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The King and the Messenger

On permissionless and scalable kingmaking.

The executor of Kafka's estate found the following fragment tucked away in a private notebook:

"They were given the choice of becoming kings or the kings’ messengers. As is the way with children, they all wanted to be messengers. That is why there are only messengers, racing through the world and, since there are no kings, calling out to each other the messages that have now become meaningless. They would gladly put an end to their miserable life, but they do not dare to do so because of their oath of loyalty."

In a 2016 interview, Sloterdijk points out that we once lived with a sense of “strong senders.” There were gods, or at least kings, who authorized those statements that were worthy of being transmitted. Authors and creators had the solemn responsibility of bringing those messages from a powerful, illuminated center into the darkness of the hinterlands.

By abolishing gods and kings, we have allowed more people to become messengers. But messengers of what, exactly?

Most of modern discourse issues from a void, and is about the void from which it issues. As Sloterdijk says in an earlier interview from 1994, modern writers and creators today "carry out commissions whose sole necessity springs from their own course and their own progress."

Once everybody becomes a messenger, most messages will revolve around the problem of how to ground messages. The messengers won't advertise themselves as struggling to ground themselves, au contraire: They will compete to signal they are more grounded than the other messengers, as the very activity through which they ground themselves better than other messengers. Inflationary spiral virus.

In other words, as Kafka intuits in his chilling parable, spam is a cosmological problem, which cannot be solved for human beings without strong authority at the social base layer where meaning is secured.

We have an oversupply of messengers with nothing to say, and an undersupply of responsible agents willing to make the sacrifices that secure meaning.

Spam as a general problem can only be solved by a general-purpose technology fit to general anthropology.

What is needed are sacrificial mechanisms at the social base layer.

Permissionless responsibility assumption, provable aristocracy auto-formation, scalable kingmaking.


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