Tower of Babel & Crypto
🙊🏴☠️ What would happen if we spoke one language and used one coin? Smesher #006 offers food for thought on this.
Listen to the playlist as you read
Tower of Babel TL;DR
In this origin myth, from the book of Genesis, all the people were one and spoke one language. Together they set out to build a tower so high it would reach the heavens.
But the Almighty didn’t like this idea. So she/he mixed up the people’s language, so that they won’t understand each other and won’t be able to collaborate. After which they all went their separate ways, and “scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Is language a virus?
God’s disruptive move proved itself to be successful; today there are approximately 6,000 languages spoken worldwide. English is the most prevailing, with Mandarin Chinese and Hindi coming in at close second and third.
But it’s hard not to imagine what humanity would have looked like if we all spoke the same language. Is language a virus that divides us, and turns us one against the other?
Laurie Anderson - Language Is A Virus
What if we spoke one language?
Would we share the same point of view? Same values? Would we become more accountable for one another? Have greater compassion?
A study has shown that children who spoke multiple languages — and even children who were merely exposed to multiple languages — were dramatically better at understanding another person’s perspective. 🤔
Is crypto the Tower of Babel?
As this 👇 tweet suggests?
Could one currency solve all our trouble? The Sprento — the monetary unit of Esperantists, that was in use in the years 1945 to 1993 — didn’t. And the language that inspired it, Esperanto, failed to become the world’s language or even that of the European Union.
Perhaps Sam Altman’s Worldcoin will have a better shot at this.
Speaking of the Tower of Babel, language as a virus, tribalism, and technology…
In Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Snow Crash, Hiro Protagonist (yes, that’s the protagonist’s name) is a lone hacker and pizza delivery driver, who hangs out on a version of the internet called the Metaverse!
In the course of this cyberpunk (maybe even post-cyberpunk?) novel, Hiro learns of a nefarious scheme involving brain reprogramming, ancient languages, nuclear power, and the mafia. So, if this newsletter has you looking for some on-topic fiction, you’re in luck!