So Elon Musk has bought twitter, but what happens next? I don’t want to talk about the chaos of the purchase, or who is coming back to the platform or any of the other topics you can read about elsewhere. I want to talk about the one thing that is so big that few people see it.
From the start of his career, Musk has been open about the fact that his goal is to colonize the galaxy. Everything he has done since then are steps to achieve this.
- Paypal: a neverending firehose of cash
- Tesla: in space, you’ll need batteries, solar energy, engineering, self-driving software, all that stuff.
- The Boring Company: not really about solving LA’s traffic problems, it’s about building tunnels on Mars.
- SpaceX, obviously.
- Starlink, the “internet in space”
- Crypto, because you need money in space.
The last point is where it gets interesting, because a fundamental part of his vision is that there is no government, or at least, no government except the “Impirator of Mars”, as he called himself on twitter. How can you coordinate government policy across the vast distances of space? Everything must be built on decentralized systems. Obviously crypto is a con and a failure, but they will need something.
Which is where twitter comes in. It’s a centralized system, built on a notoriously shonky codebase. He’s not interested in the tech. What is it about?
The founder of twitter, Jack Dorsey (a committed meditator), spelled it out when he left. Here’s the link and here’s what he said:
I love Twitter. Twitter is the closest thing we have to a global consciousness.
The idea and service is all that matters to me, and I will do whatever it takes to protect both. Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step.
In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.
Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one. This is also @paraga’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart.
I’m so happy Twitter will continue to serve the public conversation. Around the world, and into the stars!
Jack has since then started building BlueSky, which implements his idea of a twitter-like social service that is purely an API, an open protocol for folks to build on.
And the union of twitter and BlueSky is not the only gesture in this direction. Musk recently posted a dumb meme saying “in retrospect it was inevitable”, with a picture of him, the fascist demagogue Donald Trump, and the anti-semitic Hitler fan Kanye West. Trump is behind the twitter clone Truth Social, while West wanted (at the time) to buy Parler, another failed attempt to replicate twitter built by people too vile for the platform. In that meme, Musk represented himself with his long-fantasized “x.com” a putative “everything app”.
Of course, Musk was only mugging it up for his fanboys. But now he owns twitter.
Buying twitter is about establishing communications in space. It will evolve, or at least it’s planned to evolve, into a decentralized protocol based on BlueSky or something similar.
The talk of expanding the light of consciousness is … well, does anyone find that weird? On a literal level, it means spreading human consciousness out to the galaxy, with knowledge communicated over BlueSky or twitter or X or whatever they call it then.
But it plays into a broader set of ideas about the expansion and transformation of consciousness. Scifi geeks will know about this from 2001, which painted an inspirational vision of unprecedented human possibility. But now these ideas have curdled into a toxic soup of neofascist ideology called longtermism. If you want to learn about longtermism, the so-called “noosphere”, Russian cosmism, and related matters, check out David Troy.
This is a reference to “longtermism,” the heavily marketed philosophy being promoted by Musk and his friend William MacAskill that asserts the only thing that matters is humanity’s future in space, and that the only goal of the living is to maximize the number of future humans alive, as well as the number of artificial intelligence instances that could possibly exist in the future. This mandate is most often used to brush aside calls for improving conditions and alleviating suffering among the living here on Earth now. Because, the theory goes, giving a poor person a blanket isn’t likely to be as useful for the future of humanity as building a rocket to Mars. Longtermism is heavily influenced by “Russian Cosmism” and is also directly adjacent to “Effective Altruism.” Musk’s stated mission, which he intends to fulfill in his lifetime, is to “make humanity a multiplanetary species.” The anti-democratic urge in longtermism is rooted in the belief that “mob rule” will lead to nuclear annihilation; we should, Musk thinks, be guided by “wiser” minds — like his and Putin’s apparently.
These ideas are aggressively pushed in spiritual-adjacent circles. You will encounter them, and it is really helpful to familiarize yourself. Apart from anything else, they are core philosophies for Putin and his circle. When you hear people talking about “consciousness”, pay attention to what they actually mean. It’s a long way from the Suttas!
Ngl, when I was a kid, if I thought about the future, I really did not have an unholy concoction of new age twaddle, perverse utilitarianism, and fascist demagoguery in mind. Yet here we are.
So whither flies the free bird? Into the blue sky. Or as Jack said, “into the stars”.
In space, we will communicate over Musk’s internet, using Musk’s protocols, flying in Musk’s spaceships, landing in Musk’s spaceports, being paid in Musk’s crypto, while he giggles and posts dumb memes.
Just in case you were wondering where all this is headed.