Dall-E interpretation of this essay
A Culmination Towards Self-Awareness
Gender, consciousness, and the sharing of self through community
Anyone building within the digital identity and community spaces has a motivation to do so. It isn’t entirely random that someone just says, ‘Hey, this sounds fun. I’ll do this for the rest of my life.’ This is my story.
This is a story of a constant gnawing on consciousness, self-awareness of my own mind and body, and an ever-present curiosity for connection.
The year 2023 brought about many small and a few larger personal discoveries that have culminated in years of isolation due to disconnection from a world in pain.
There is no more important time in our lives to dive into all the ways in which we are eternally and cosmically connected. Today we sit within the threshold of a new future leading us into new realities never imagined by a global society more fractured than ever.
For this reason, I have spent the past 12 months with thousands of hours reading and learning about consciousness, identity, spirituality across ancient history, and oneness—leading to a deeper understanding of self-awareness.
From Hermeticism and the Gnostics to Buddhism and various esoteric texts. Diving deep into philosophy, mysticism, alchemy, and all sorts of curious ideas attempting to explain consciousness and connection to humanity. These are things I’ve been interested in for most of my life in some form or another but have had sort of surface-level knowledge since being too skeptical to go deeper. For obvious reasons, right? I mean, these are the ancient cults (and of modern times), so it is recommended to tread lightly because the YouTube rabbit holes are incredibly deep.
I won’t go into detail here on these topics since that’s not really what we’re here to discuss but it might be important to at least explain the 7 Hermetic Principles that are explained by the Hermetica and govern reality. If anything, those unaware might have just a peek into this research.
Hermeticism is a philosophical and spiritual tradition so ancient it’s difficult even to imagine with our modern minds. These teachings are attributed to a figure named Hermes Trismegistus, literally a Hellenistic legend as he is thought to have many identities. Namely a merging of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. The 7 Principles of Hermeticism have significantly influenced Western esoteric traditions as well.
A more modern attempt to distill these esoteric traditions is "The Kybalion" by a mysterious “Three Initiates” from 1908. They are:
Principle of Mentalism: reality is mental, not physical
Principle of Correspondence: the adage “as above, so below”
Principle of Vibration: everything is in motion. Nothing is static
Principle of Polarity: everything has an opposite. The opposite of love is not hate but apathy or indifference, the opposite of heat is not cold but the absence of heat itself.
Principle of Rhythm: everything exists in a series of flow and inflow. The pendulum of reality always swings back equally.
Principle of Cause and Effect: nothing happens by chance
Principle of Gender: creation and regeneration through gendered identities
Now, the question is, do I believe in these things, and what is their influence on my own self-awareness? The short answer is a little bit here and there, but mostly no, especially the ideas around gender and mentalism. In my research, there are certainly prevailing truths throughout each of these esoteric traditions that influence how we see the world and how the world actually works. Ultimately my beliefs lie in a Universal Love and that I am here to share my gifts freely and unconditionally.
Aside from the ancient teachings of Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and the like, I’ve also listened to countless hours of the British philosopher Alan Watts who talks about Eastern spiritual ideas. I seem to resonate more with his understanding of consciousness and reality. His ideas on interconnectedness, playfulness and joy, and the nature of reality feel more grounded in some ways.
These teachings help us attempt to explain consciousness, and the people attempting to work through self-awareness are also doing great research on the potential consciousness of machines. You’ll find many great AI & AGI thinkers who have ancient influences as well. If you pay close attention to people like roon (@OpenAI), he has obvious influences he writes about that are very sci-fi driven as well, melding religions into his tweets (with a bit of patriotism which is understandable to a degree but cloudy nonetheless).
Now, what the hell does this have to do with gender, digital identity, and self-awareness?
Well, as I’ve sat mostly disconnected from others due to being unable to attend conferences this year, I’ve not been physically around many in the industry who would cause my gender dysphoria to go haywire. I’ve had a lot of time to simply be with myself, however damaging that’s been to my connection with others.
I also feel and have observed that these crypto digital nomads see a great sense of disconnection from friendship (whether they admit it publicly or not) as the same people jump from one conference to the next. Spend only a few days here and there in person with the same people on these panels and “networking events,” the same people being invited to or having the funds to attend these conferences, while most of us stay at home watching recordings from far away.
Here, depth of relationships is incredibly important and I praise those working to build social graphs to connect our onchain selves in more holistic ways. We can build these interfaces to imagine our digital connections but they must be followed up with cultural, intimate, thoughtful connections as well. This slow build of authentic relationships requires vulnerability, kindness, and empathy to celebrate the diversity around us.
I witness certain trans people in the crypto space under great duress attempting to navigate these feelings of gender disconnection. Unsure where we fit when in person, navigating tough senses of identity that leave us just on the periphery.
This month marks six years of my gender exploration journey that started on Tumblr, then Reddit, then Twitter for a short time before being burnt out on the objectively weird side of trans/communist Twitter. Since being disconnected from those spaces for four/five years, I’ve given myself space to let go. To simply be whoever and whatever feels comfortable.
I think of identity and digital identity in relation to community from many different angles. These aspects of myself come together from a life of attempting to name this void. To call out to it and have it give some sign of who I am. There is no one answer to who I am or who we are. We are one. We are many. We act in our own swarms, just as many are teaching AI to do at this very moment.
What I see new community builders unable to understand is that organizing online is not unlike organizing in person. They fail to correlate these human connections with digital connections that allow us to cultivate global cultures resonating with millions at once.
A good modern community builder understands the ways social media and marketing work to hold the attention of participants in flywheels and strategies. An exceptional modern or futuristic community builder will understand completely the ways we are so deeply connected by seeing clearly the depth of oneness and love we all possess through self-awareness and introspection.
What I dislike most about this (and I’ve talked about this before) is some are put in positions of power in these companies where they have little practical knowledge of community-building yet are then thrust into dual roles or founders are unaware of the fragile relationships being built.
If only these companies provided the benefit of a budget for coaching so more experienced or knowledgable builders could confidently spend ample private time with them, maybe we’d see a different, more thoughtful reality for this space.
What I seek to share with you today is the undeniable truth that curiosity is of utmost importance to our futures. Our need for continual curiosity to seek both knowledge and wisdom is entrenched in the soup of life. Well known AI content creators like David Shapiro have talked at length about the importance of curiosity not only for humans but for AI and AGI.
The Internet has fundamentally changed our relationship with information. Our relationship with accelerating our future toward abundance and a possible utopia is both naïve and noble at the same time. Nuance is good. But first, we must collectively look inward with curious minds to seek self-awareness in order to understand this possible future better.
That’s what I’ve been up to privately this year, tons and tons of introspection. I share whatever gifts I have with those who seek to receive them and share the gifts of others who are creators of art, ideas, and code.
I believe it is important to shield ourselves from the harmful aspects of social media and the interfaces that hold us back from looking inward in the company of others.
I welcome questions and feedback, and if you’re working on a community, I’m happy to lend a hand. Feel free to reply or send me a message anytime.
Hunting and Gathering 🔗
Here are some things I found through the week