Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution

Its been while since I've read such an influential book so I wanted to share it here:

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution
written by Pieter Hintjens, a campaigner, writer, and programmer (creator of ØMQ)

A book about the digital revolution and the battle between our new communities and the old power and old money. Full with gems like how to build a community, why Germany went crazy in 1939, what are good property systems, the societal cost of patents and many more.

Start reading now on a single pagepdf or epub or buy it on Amazon (affiliate link).

Here is a quote from the beginning of Chapter 4:
Once upon a time, there was a great Empire that ruled the known world. It owned all the lands, the wealth beneath, and the wealth above. The Empire was run by an old, faceless soci- ety of criminals. It ran on cheap oil and cheap blood. It smashed its opponents in the name of Peace. It burned their lands in the name of Reconstruction. It enslaved them in the name of Freedom. It built massive castles of edict and punish- ment to govern its populations, and it fed them a river of pap to keep them docile. It was powerful, invincible, and paranoid.

Far away, in a different place, a civilization called Culture had taken seed and was growing. It owned little except a magic spell called Knowledge. The Culture ran on light, and built little bubbles of fire and hope. It seduced its critics by giving them what they wanted, no matter how unusual. And as it pulled in more people, it grew and built more of its bubbles.

When the Empire first encountered the Culture, it was puzzled. There were no armies to crush, no statesmen to cor- rupt and recruit, no castles to loot and burn. So it ignored the Culture and its pretty bubbles, hoping it would go away.

The Culture grew, and grew faster than you could follow. In less than a generation, it had started to build cities, impossibly beautiful spheres of fire and hope, massive, and yet gentler than the breeze. More people quietly left the castles to move to the cities of the Culture, where they too learned to build their own bubbles of flames and joy.

The Culture seemed harmless. However, the Empire depended on its vassal masses. If the masses left to go to the Culture’s cit - ies, the Empire would starve and die. Total War was inevitable. Both the Empire and the Culture knew it, and prepared for it in very different ways.

The Empire attacked. It tore down the cities closest to it and told the Culture, stop building or we will come back. And for each city it burnt, a hundred others sprang up. Culture shrugged and said, “We enjoy building new cities.” So the Em- pire sent its infiltrators and spies into the cities to try to cor- rupt them. And the Culture laughed, clapped its hands, and exclaimed, “We do much worse to ourselves every day. Look, we enjoy this game!” And it opened its hands. And there lay some of the Empire’s darkest and deepest secrets, for all to see.

So the Empire, the cold finger of fear touching its heart, smiled its most sincere smile and welcomed the Culture into its lands. And then it began to erect a far wall so wide and so high that it could cover all the cities of the Culture in darkness. If the Cul- ture ran on light, thought the Empire, then it would destroy light.
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