I was recently given the choice between two pills.
One green and glowing. The other candy pink.
I chose the side of science in the Barbenheimer saga.
Some three hours later, I left the screening with a new appreciation for the depths of societal conditioning to which we’re exposed.
And feeling more bullish than ever on Web3 and identity ownership.
In the 18th Century, social theorist Jeremy Bentham developed the idea of a panopticon to illustrate totalitarianism.
Derived from the Greek term for ‘all seeing’, a panopticon is a prison design where a single guard can observe all inmates from a central tower.
Obviously this single guard doesn't have 360° chameleon-like vision. Instead, the positioning of the tower leaves prisoners with the constant disincentive of being observed.
An ever-present, always-unknown fear of retribution pervades, and results in complete compliance.
The introduction of nuclear weapons became a perfect foil for this kind of societal control.
The initial use of these weapons was an intentional final hammerblow for Japan.
What made it so impactful was that the effects were indiscriminate. Wiping out an entire city also erases a clear portion of a society’s identity.
The aftermath meant that there was little capacity to analyze this in a granular way, and it became easy to dehumanize victims due to the scale.
Of course, other major nations dug deep to combat this new threat and an arms race ensued.
What we’re left with today is not a cautious and remorseful appreciation for the power of science, but instead a lingering threat of mutually assured destruction.
Early in the development of nuclear weapons, the Manhattan Project scientists toyed with the idea that the reaction of their first nuclear test might never end, and eventually vaporize the planet’s atmosphere.
They decided that the chances were ‘near zero’ and went ahead. The risk was worth the reward.
When we outsource our responsibilities we give away our freedoms. Sometimes, that happens before we are even able to make rational decisions.
It’s why Web3 identity solutions are one of the most exciting areas in the space right now. It’s easier to comprehend the things that you have a complete understanding of and control over.
Giving humans the opportunity to create a tangible and transparent graph of personal and social information is empowering. It becomes a natural starting point for making informed decisions that benefit them as individuals, and not just numbers.