Robert Frost opened his famous poem “The Road Not Taken” with the following stanza:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”
It’s funny; I can’t help hearing the words of his poem in the back of my mind during my everyday interactions with people.
Full disclosure: I’m not the archetypical culture vulture who remembers poems word for word. I’m merely someone who had the privilege of experiencing the tutelage of outstanding English teachers long, long ago – all credit to them.
I DO remember the last three lines of the poem verbatim. We’ll get to those later.
Crypto fans, this post isn’t for you. It’s for you to share with people who you’re trying to get into crypto, the ones who won’t listen.
Ironic, isn’t it? “Analysis” is a heading I often use in my crypto blog posts. It’s also something one encounters when studying poetry. In this particular case it has a combined (and unexpectedly cohesive) meaning: we’re analysing poetry, psychology and cryptocurrencies – simultaneously.
Frost’s poem speaks of a traveller who encountered a fork in the path while walking in a wood. The poem is the tale of the author’s mental struggle with this fork: he wants to take both paths, but knows he can only take one. He laments having to choose only one path, automatically missing out on the other. He knows that even though he could theoretically return to the same spot sometime in the future, chances are that the decision he makes now will forever lead him away from this place, never to return.
In short, the poem is about making a choice: one path, or the other. It is here that the poem becomes analogous to Bitcoin, analogous to embracing blockchain technology as a whole.
The problem I have with people is that they keep choosing the wrong path. I can literally not overemphasise the magnitude and severity of this problem.
How very human we are. How afraid. How hypocritical. How horribly uncomfortable we feel when faced with leaving the familiar safety and comfort of our herd.
We lie to ourselves, we pull the wool over our own eyes, we block out dissenting voices, all so that we don’t have to deal with a reality that we find uncomfortable – nay unacceptable to our view of the world.
Reality hurts. Very few people can face it head on! I’ve already had an argument with one person today, he believes that a three-hour wait at a government office is not only acceptable, it’s GOOD and PRAISEWORTHY! The sheer ridiculousness of his argument aside, just let that be a lesson to you, one small example of how easy it is for the average person to deliberately delude themselves into a comfortable and acceptable situation. (I’ll give you far more serious examples later on…)
We huddle in our herd, reassured by the promise of mutual protection. But from whom do we imagine this protection will come? Each other? Ha! Fat chance! Every member of that herd is just as afraid as any other! They’re a part of the herd for the same reason, they’re scared of reality too! Scared of the unknown. Deathly afraid of change. Metathesiophobic.
And more’s the pity, because nobody is going to defend the herd.
Those who have embraced change are no longer a part of it.
Those wolves who prey on the weak don their sheep’s clothing and roam among the flock, picking off victims one by one.
And what of the shepherds? The guardians of the sheep, those who make the rules and watch over us – won’t they protect us?
Who do you think eats the mutton?…
What’s the cost of remaining part of a herd mentality? What’s the worst that can happen if you continue to follow mainstream thinking and allow politicians to dictate the limitations of your rights to you? Hitler marched roughly 3.5 MILLION Jews (and other people he classed as “sub-human”) into cattle cars and transported them to concentration camps. Most of them were executed. 3.5 million people is an ENORMOUS amount, larger than any standing army. Even equipped with nothing more than rocks to throw, 3.5 million people could destroy just about any army, even today. But that’s only true if they’re willing to stand against authority, to stick their necks out, to be bold and to leave the perceived “safety” of the herd. They didn’t. They wore their yellow stars, they kept their heads down and they marched towards their death. With their own children beside them. Over 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust.
Never forget that.
My frustration is palpable.
More often than not, I fail to coax sheep away from the herd. I made a new online friend this weekend. She’s a friend of a friend, and she heard that I can help her with crypto advice. That’s about the size of the average “win” I can expect. It’s been two and a half months since I last talked someone through investing in crypto from scratch – two and a half months since my last significant “win”.
About a month ago I was speaking to my mother on the phone, explaining to her the dangers that her newly acquired pension faced. I warned her about the many pitfalls, the very real and possibly even imminent dangers that could render a regular pension effectively valueless.
(We won’t discuss why pensions are in danger on this blog post. That’s a huge topic in itself. If you need that information, then I recommend Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Channel.)
She heard me alright, I could easily tell that what I said was hitting home and making her incredibly uncomfortable. But instead of listening to me, instead of taking my advice, she literally dismissed everything with a simple “No, it will be fine, it will all be fine”. End of story, she shut down completely after that. The panic won. A sheep sank deeper into the herd.
Is the way out, the advice “invest just 1% of your net worth in crypto” really so terrifying? I would consider that to be a most welcome and relatively inexpensive safety net! Apparently it isn’t.
How very human:
Feeling safe surrounded by familiar lies.
Robert Kiyosaki loves to speak about “fake teachers”. Fake teachers are not necessarily bad people, they just don’t realise that they are “fake”. They think they’re teaching the right thing, when in reality all they’re teaching is the same lie that they were taught, passing it on from one generation to the next. It’s no coincidence that governments control school curricula, control exactly what it is that young minds are taught. You never learnt about the nature and history of money at school, did you? Something so fundamental to our everyday lives, the very reason we work each day, the thing we can not live without. We didn’t learn about it, not at all. Even the woolliest of sheep should find that to be more than just a little strange!
Robert often tells the story of an accountancy lecturer he challenged while studying his MBA. The exchange went something like this (like poetry, I don’t remember all of it verbatim):
“Are you an accountant?”
“I have a Masters in accountancy.”
“Are you an accountant?”
“I have a Masters in accountancy.”
“You’ve never done accountancy. You’re fake.”
As a young naval officer wannabe I was trained by sailors who had many years, if not decades, of experience under their belts. The best instructors were those who had spent the most time serving on seagoing vessels – fancy that? After my initial training, I joined the greater military organisation. The first time I met my army counterparts, especially the female ones (who were trained separately to the males) I was most unpleasantly shocked. The standard of their training had been absolutely abysmal. Compared to the young naval officers, the army officers knew nothing. That’s not a bias on my part, that’s fact.
Of course they didn’t see it that way, to them it was just intra-service rivalry. The adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” is true, as is “ignorance is bliss”. To us the distinction was as clear as day. Had those army men and women trained alongside us navy ones, most of them would have been kicked off course within a week, they would never have become officers at all. But what went wrong? Why were our army counterparts so incredibly inept, so ill-equipped and poorly educated? Eventually I found out…
Listening to the young army ladies talk, I discovered that they weren’t too keen on one of their own, a young lady whom I shall call Linda. It turns out that Linda was unpopular because she had been an instructress the year before. Linda had trained the very same young ladies she was now working with. Here’s the problem: Linda herself had been a candidate officer only a year prior to that. In other words: Linda completed her training and was then appointed as a trainer the very next year! She did not have a single day of actual working experience in an army environment, yet she was tasked with developing the minds of the next generation of young officers – based solely on her own training the previous year.
And it didn’t stop there, because it turns out that that was the norm, that it always happened that way! One year you were the trainee, the next year you were the instructor. And so it leap-frogged from year to year – an ugly game of broken telephone-style training carried out by people with no experience at all!
Granted, that’s a shocking and rather extreme example, but it’s a real one, the disastrous results of which I witnessed for myself. The important takeaway from this is that our schools are no different to that and the majority of our teachers are no different either. Teachers pass on knowledge learnt from teachers, learnt from teachers, learnt from teachers. Experience seldom enters the loop. As students we are taught what the teachers know, and the teachers only know what their teachers knew, and so on and so forth. And all of us, students and teachers alike, only learn that which the government places in our particular curriculum.
It’s an incredibly broken system! A manipulated system. A system with an agenda. A system which does not allow people to be taught about money – and for good reason:
If people knew more about fiat currencies, I mean really knew them, then they would avoid them like the plague! There would be an international outcry, mass protests, rioting and revolutions.
We will start Part 2 by returning to the words of Frost. Find Part 2 here: The Road Not Taken – A Bitcoin analogy (Part 2 of 2)
Yours in crypto
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“The secret to success: find out where people are going and get there first”
~ Mark Twain
“Crypto does not require institutional investment to succeed; institutions require crypto investments to remain successful”
~ Bit Brain