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A Beacon Amidst The Dark

Only a fool would carry a lantern into the dark forest.

4 min read

A fool—or a wizard.

Or hey, maybe both. In any event; this post heralds the beginnings of a new and no doubt foolish journey for this wizard.

This new website and domain wouldn’t have been possible without the coding savvy of sage artist Kev McGillivray (who patiently taught me the fundamentals of coding last year) and the nous of Ahmad Ajmi (who crafted the foundations of this theme).

A Beacon Amidst The Dark
Artwork by Ozzz

The image you see here is the work of the artist and wizard Ozzz, who has captured my likeness in pixel form with numinous alacrity. I met Ozzz through my adventures with the Forgotten Runes Wizard Cult—a decentralised emergent loreweaving collective orbiting an exquisite on-chain NFT collection created by Elf and Dotta. This piece is inspired by (and built upon) the philosopher wizards crafted by Elf. I am quite enamoured by this project, and shall be writing much more about the Forgotten Runes Wizard Cult more in the coming weeks and months. The community is a warm haven of wholesome creativity and kinship in the world of web3.

I’ve come to appreciate just how special such groups are, for much of web3 is yet still a dark forest. You really must tread carefully; the predators in this realm feed upon naïveté. Which, I guess, is no different to most realms.

And even when you do find yourself a haven, you must keep your wits about you, for too many groups are afflicted with maximalism. Such groups have an ardent fervour for their chosen token, and can be very welcoming to newcomers. But then they can easily become cult-like in a not-Forgotten-Runes-Wizard-Cult-cool kinda way. Instead, they act like ideological echo-chambers and intellectual cul-de-sacs.

Navigating the world via a pseudonymous identity (or, in the case of foxwizard, a pseudo-pseudonymous identity) allows for a certain, uh, mercurial fluidity. One can easily eschew that which our real-world personas might otherwise feel socially obliged to maintain. In this way, we get to follow our whims like an antifragile flâneur or flaneuss.

And yet still; it’s dangerous to go alone. And even as we might ‘socially distance’ our physical selves in the plague-ridden realms of corporeal life, we needs must still find ways to connect in the metaverse. ‘Find the others’, as those of us in the post-civ meta-tribe might say. Or even, ‘find the other others’. Kinship is vital.

Hence, I hope to be a beacon for such. And so, foolishly (perhaps), I shall shine a light on the path so that others might find their way—for I have so much I want to share with you; so many weird and wonderful new ways of coordinating and working together are happening—right now—in the uncharted shifting dark and gnarly forest of web3.

I read somewhere—an article by Sarah Perry on ribbonfarm, I think?—that the best time to write about something is when you are learning. Once you have ‘mastered’ something—or once you become too familiar with a subject—you start taking the first principles for granted. They seem altogether too obvious and thus tedious to write about.

Verily; as an academic and rogue scholar I have earned myself the curse of knowledge (at least for that which lies within my core domains). This warm arrogance has translated to an increasingly esoteric intellectual palette that has rendered me ever-more obscure to the wider world. Yet this arrogance is dwarfed by an increasingly acute sense of epistemological humility. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know (and the more you question that which you do). The alchemy of these conflicting dispositions (naïveté and knowingness) is part of the heart of the metamodern stance, but for much of 2020 it had rendered me inept. I simply couldn’t write without overthinking myself into a spiral.

But all of 2021 has seen me questing, full time, in web3. Blockchain, cryptomancy, daos, nfts, magical internet money, decentralised-everything (and more). The affinities this world has with the sensibilities of complexity science is quite profound. And I feel that my naive-knowingness has become once again be a generative force. We’ll see.

In any event, much of my work has been about the orientation towards relevance realisation (akin to Professor John Vervaeke’s Awakening from the Meaning Crisis). We quest because the default ways of doing things don’t work for us. If our defaults are the options we choose automatically in the absence of viable alternatives, a quest is the search for viable alternative options.

I’ll be blunt: the way we work isn’t working. And we are at the very real risk of civilisational collapse.

Rising to meet the complexity of our times is asymptotic in nature—we’ll never quite reach there. But, right now, we are falling devastatingly short of where we could be. Moloch is chortling, whilst a relative eutopia awaits (just out of sight).

Capitalism will continue with its grand pantomime, and enterprise egregores will continue to feed upon a steady stream of soul sacrifice.

But all the while, a new way is emerging in the dark forest of web3. Wizards, rogues, artists and builders are exploring, experimenting and finding new ways. Decentralised leadership is emerging—slowly, but surely. It’s messy, immature—and sometimes outright dank and nasty af. But there’s ~something happening here. Something important. Something compelling enough for me to effectively turn my cloak upon Enterprise Land (and much of the work I have done there), so as to pursue it.

I want to bring likeminded questers into the dark forest, so that together we might help co-create a world more curious and kind.

For much of my life ‘hope’ has been a foolish illusion conjured to grant myself amusement as I otherwise toil amidst the pallor of a dying world. And yet now a much more wholesome simulacrum has appeared. Is it a will o’ the wisp, come to lead me to my doom? Or is it a beacon worth following? Let’s find out.



A rogue philosopher.