What Satoshi Nakamoto left us
From early Greek philosophy to the golden age of Islam, I often wonder how and what was the culture that contributed to these periods of explosions of free thought and innovation? What was the impetus of Greek ideas and the early stages of science during the golden age of Islam?
Greek philosophy and thought
What would free and innovative thought be without the great Greek philosophers? Without Thales of Miletus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras, could the golden age of Islam have existed? Without Al-Zahrawi, Abbas ibn Firnas, Al-Biruni, Avicenna, Averroes, Ibn al-Nafis, Muhammad Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, Alhazen, Ibn Khaldun could the Renaissance have existed? Without Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Copernicus, Andreas Vesalius, Francis Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Kepler and Descartes, would modern science and philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries have existed?
Socrates, considered the father of Western philosophy, gave us the innovation of the Socratic method. His ideas of logic and rationalism were radical, and they ultimately inspired the scientific contributions of future philosophers and thinkers. The origins of intellectual thought, humanism, social theory, economic ideas and democracy go back to ancient Greek ideas. The first democracy probably dates back to Athens. An attempt to move from authoritarian central power to a decentralized style of governance and representation has had and is of enormous influence in Western democracies today.
The Golden Age of Islam – A New Innovation.
Mohammad was the initiator of a new shift in thinking that emphasized scholarship not only among elite aristocrats, but of every citizen. You could say that Mohammad was a catalyst for literacy in the days of the world when literacy and scholarship were in the minority. Mohammad was not only a social innovator, but an argument can also be made, that he was also an economic innovator. I am ready to go further and call him a central figure in the formation of a precursor of a form of capitalism and market economy that we see today. While in Medina, Mohammad created a competitive market that eventually overtook other markets in Medina. This was mainly due to not imposing taxes on goods and services between different traders. It was radical, innovative and brilliant.
Islam flourished and the empire spread west to the Iberian Peninsula and east near present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. The message that Muhammad and his followers preached over and over again was a way of life, whether in the marketplace or in daily social interactions. The emphasis on learning to decipher some of the writings and world mysteries mentioned by the Quran has created a culture of great philosophers and thinkers. As the Greeks did, handing the torch to the citizens of the Islamic Golden Age, the torch was handed over to Western Europeans to finally usher in the Renaissance.
Many great thinkers were influenced by the philosophers of Arabic speaking citizens of the Islamic Golden Age. Thomas Aquinas, Fibonacci, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Copernicus contributed to the explosion of philosophy and art. With the help of Arabic translations of Greek texts, classical Greek philosophy was rediscovered and medieval Europe arose from the ashes of the Dark Ages and the eventual beginnings of the Renaissance. The Renaissance ushered in a renaissance of intellectual curiosity and free thought. Arguably the biggest technology to come out of this period was the printing press. The printing press allowed the development of mass communication. It enabled the development of the middle class. It also suppressed the centralized accumulation of knowledge of religious and political authorities and distributed the renaissance of knowledge to the masses. The shift from a centralized accumulation of knowledge to a decentralized accumulation of knowledge has ultimately been of net benefit to society.
The Age of Reason was an extraordinary period that brought us like Isaac Newton, René Descartes and Adam Smith. As the Renaissance was also known as the rebirth of intellectual curiosity, the Enlightenment can also be called the rebirth of humanism, which can be traced back to its origins in Greek philosophy and thought. Humanism was a philosophy that emphasized that reason and autonomy are fundamental aspects of human existence. A more modern and technological definition would be a shift from centralized thought, i.e. central religious authority and / or central governance, to more decentralized individual sovereign thought. The Enlightenment inspired democracy. We must remember that the United States was formed in the Age of Enlightenment. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison incorporated the ideals when crafting the US Constitution. I would say the statement: “We take these truths for granted, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. », Has a humanist origin and influence.
Our present modern era is considered to have started with the Industrial Age, beginning around the mid-18th century, extending to our current Information Age. The modern era can be seen as the eventual boom in digital and biotechnology. Before Einstein, there was Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Isaac Newton’s discoveries of gravity and optics were the foundation that led to one of the originators and greatest contributors to the age of technology, James Clerk Maxwell. When Einstein said he stood on the shoulders of giants, he was referring to Newton and Maxwell. Maxwell added to Newton’s discoveries and then unified electricity, magnetism, and light to form the theory of electromagnetic fields. Unification contributed to the discovery of electric power, television and radio.
Here we are now, nearly 2,500 years after Socrates and almost 200 years after Maxwell. Electricity → photography → radio → television → computers → internet → smartphone → Bitcoin. I would interpret that all the great philosophers and thinkers were trying to discover and decipher the mysteries of the world to create a positive net for their societies. An emerging consequence that I noticed from most of the big ideas from classical antiquity to the present day was the emphasis on decentralization and its contribution to a net positive effect for society. I give examples in the article, such as the Socratic Method, Islam’s early focus on learning and literacy in its heyday, the printing press, and the United States of America. Other examples in the modern age include the personal computer, the Internet (or the World Wide Web) and now blockchain technology, specifically Bitcoin.
The legacy of Satoshi Nakamoto
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume Satoshi Nakamoto was a person and since Satoshi is a masculine name in Japanese, we’ll assume he’s a male. I would put Satoshi on the same level as the great thinkers and philosophers of the past. Considering what Satoshi has created, I see him as a polymath and a scholar. We know he had to have a clear understanding of mathematical and cryptographic principles, but he had to know the economic, societal, philosophical and psychological aspects of the company. I guess he understood the history of the societies of the past, their creations and their downfall. He had to know the obstacles that the leaders of the company place to maintain the status quo. The creation of Satoshi, Bitcoin, was and is a great idea. Few people deny the beauty of the $ 21 million cap and the deflationary nature of bitcoin, the security features and bypassing legacy finance through the brilliant idea of personal custody. But let’s stop for a moment and take a deep breath. I think, like many others, that the greatest part and functionality that was introduced in Bitcoin was the pseudonymous nature of Satoshi Nakomato and the decentralization of Bitcoin.
Satoshi Nakamoto leaving his identity hidden – what a wonderful feature. Thanks Satoshi Nakamoto for doing this. I wanted to think about it and try to find a period or a case in time when the ideas were presented under a pseudonym. I remember back in the days of Isaac Newton’s writings there was a practice of publishing an idea or a scientific article under a pseudonym. The reason was, of course, that readers focused on the idea rather than the author. Posting under their real name may invoke an attack on the author rather than the idea. This has focused public discourse on the merits of the real idea. Satoshi must have known this about the company. He knew that the potential societal ramifications of this idea were enormous and that his identity would hamper public discourse.
I want to conclude my thoughts on the most powerful aspect of the creation of Satoshi, which is the decentralized nature of the Bitcoin network. You may have already had this before reading this article. Or at least I noticed it in the early parts of this article, where I talked about the importance of decentralization as being a clear positive for society. Looking back, it’s obvious now, but it wasn’t so much in 2017 during the proposed debate over the size of larger blocks. What I had not realized, for a great idea to remain, decentralization must be part of it. Free thought, literacy, printing, democracy, computers, the Internet, and Bitcoin are all great ideas, but without a decentralized component of the underlying idea they are unlikely to get far. Blockchain technology is a great idea and bitcoin has captured it. Can bitcoin last 100, 200, 500, 1000 years? Nobody knows. What I’m a little confident about is that if a new idea comes up that’s better than bitcoin, it’s likely going to be technology that doesn’t currently exist, and it will have a decentralized component. I think the biggest net benefit of Satoshi’s idea is that all great ideas that change society must have decentralization as an inherent and essential component.
This is a guest article by Saleh Isam. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.