[0:00] And hi.

Introduction and Invitation for Questions

[0:01] Hi, hi. It's Steve M. Mullen, you from Freedomain. Had a little bit of time this Friday, the 9th of February, 2024.
And if you have questions, comments, issues, challenges, problems, I am happy to chat.
We're going to do a little bit of Bitcoin-y stuff today.
First up, we have Tim.

[0:20] My friend.

[0:21] I am all ears. What's on your mind? Good. Yeah.
Hey, so I've been kind of deep diving on Immanuel Kant lately, and I had some thoughts about him that I wanted to share and then get your feedback on, kind of bounce them off you, kind of see what you thought about him.

[0:44] Go for it.

[0:45] To kind of start off, I think it's important to kind of explain the personal nature of it.
So I wasn't really into philosophy until I discovered your show.
I was really into theology, and there's some overlap there.
There but um like you know philosophy is kind of different because um you're uh talking about stuff with a kind of more precise language i think and you know like for example i listened to a thing recently about how music can express a lot of philosophical principles uh like with harmony and dissonance are kind of similar to like arguments and contradictions and music kind of is able to kind of tell stories and kind of say things, even with just the melody.
I think theology can do something kind of similar where you can express a lot of theological, or I'm sorry, a lot of philosophical. Tim, are we going to talk Kant or music and theology? Focus, focus.

[1:56] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, okay, so I got into philosophy with your show.
And then so i've just been you know rotting your ways you know and then so you're an empiricist you're like i mean so there i think there's some uh there's like a range of what people mean by that um so when you say empiricist sometimes you need to like clarify and then so um and i know you've done shows with other people where you've kind of debated empiricism with people um and then then there's been some confusion about what you mean by that.
Like, for example, you had an empiricism debate and then the person you were. Sorry.

[2:40] It's your question. What do I mean by empiricism? Cause like I'm right here.

Clarification on Empiricism and Philosophy

[2:44] You don't need to quote me from other. I can just tell you very briefly what I mean by that.

[2:47] Uh, yeah.
Yeah, well, because some people say that empiricism is... No.

[2:54] No, no, hang on, hang on, no, some people, like, are you asking me what my argument for empiricism is?

[3:00] Yeah, well, I think I know what it is, but, like, so, yeah, actually, but, yeah, please, could you, could you... Yeah.

[3:12] So when I say that I'm an empiricist, what I mean by that is that philosophy is empirical.
Empiricism is not a school of philosophy. It is not a subsection or opinion or perspective like I like opera versus classical versus hard rock or something like that.

[3:33] Philosophy is empirical. And when I say I'm an empiricist and a philosopher, I'm saying that empiricism is the only basis for philosophy.
There is no other basis for philosophy, because philosophy is about stating that which is true.

[3:49] And not just that which is true subjectively, which is, you know, I could say I had a dream about Maria Carey last night, and there would be no way to prove that or not, but about that which is objectively true.
Now, objectively true means that it either is identifiable in the reality that we share, or it at least follows the principles of the reality that we share.

[4:15] So if I say somewhere in the universe there could be a silicon-based life form, well, that's theoretically possible, and it does follow the principles of the reality that we share. Yeah.
So philosophy is about saying things that are true and universal, which means that they have to either be identifiable within our shared reality, or it at least follows the principles derived from the properties of things in that shared reality.
I know this sounds a little abstract, but if you and I are trying to agree on what a tree is, we can both look at a tree and And say a tree has leaves and bark and rises and is alive, otherwise it's a dead tree, it's a plant, it has roots, you know, it requires sunlight and water.
So we can define what a tree is according to the shared reality, and we can verify it. We can verify it.
So a tree is immobile, or to put it another way, it moves very slowly and it does not have its own motive power.
So if we see a walking tree, we say that's not a tree, I guess that's an end from Lord of the Rings or something.

[5:21] So philosophy is about saying things that are true, which means that it has to identify things in the shared reality that we both live in, right?
If I have a dream about Maria Carey last night, that's not a shared reality we both live in.
That's just my own subjective experience, so that's not philosophical.
That's not about philosophy.
It doesn't mean it's unimportant. It could be about psychology or self-knowledge or whatever, but it's not about philosophy.
So, when I say philosophy is about saying things that are true and universal, then they have to be related to the shared reality that we both exist within.
Now, how do we know about the shared reality that we both exist within?
Well, we know that through the evidence of the senses.

[6:08] So the senses allow us to communicate and process what happens in shared reality.
And the reason I say shared reality is, you know, dreams have a kind of reality to them.
Daydreams, ambitions, feelings that aren't objective.
You know, I mean, like if I'm feeling whimsical, I don't know that that would show up in a brain scan. But that's a reality for me, and it's a real thing.
But our shared reality has to come through the senses.
So given this is sort of axiomatic, right?
Philosophy is about saying things that are true and universal.

[6:42] That which is true and universal must take

Reiteration of Empiricism as the Foundation of Philosophy

[6:46] place in our shared reality the only way we access our shared reality is through the empirical evidence of our senses therefore all philosophy must be empirical right i'll just run through that real quick again just because it's really kind of foundational so philosophy is about saying things that are true and universal, what is true and universal must take place in our shared reality the only way we can access as our shared reality is through the empirical evidence of our senses, and therefore all philosophy is based on empiricism.
So when I say I'm an empiricist, I'm saying that all philosophy is based on empiricism.
You can't be a philosopher if you're not an empiricist, if you're a subjectivist or a relativist or an anti-empiricist.
And I know this sounds kind of ridiculous in a way, because this would be to say that that those thinkers who say that there's a higher reality.

[7:40] Those thinkers who say there's a higher reality inaccessible to the senses are not talking about philosophy.
They're talking about revelation, mysticism, perhaps a kind of theology.
But the degree to which Plato talks about the realm of the forms is the degree to which — I will absolutely stand by this, though I know it sounds kind of crazy — the degree to which Plato talks about math and science and reality and so on is the degree to which he's a philosopher.
The degree to which he's talking about the higher realm of forms inaccessible to the senses, he's talking about mysticism. That's not philosophy.
That's not philosophy because it's not part of our shared reality that is processable by logic and evident to the senses. So that's why I say, when I say I'm an empiricist, I'm saying I am a philosopher.
It's not a school of philosophy, it is the basis and essence and purpose of philosophy to identify things that are true and universal within our shared reality.
So sorry, that's sort of my brief thing about it, if that helps. Yeah.

[8:44] So if I could ask a clarifying question, because I'm currently laser being focused on the relationship between empiricism and sense data.
And then so when you're doing the History of Philosophers series, I never really got how deep a connection there is between sense data and reason until your show on Locke.
Like that really just blew my mind um and but and then so that so then a little while later you did a show on fume and you were talking about how uh like i guess maybe they call it the causation problem where um like and if i maybe i'm stating it wrong but i'll i'll try to try to say it's my understanding is that the the thing that hume is pointing out is that causation is not something that we experience through the senses so um and i think so what he was kind of saying is that if it's not something that we experience through the senses then um it must not be a uh.

Hume's perspective on causation in video game analogy

[10:14] Like an empirically based belief like the the belief in causation isn't an empirical, um belief according to hume because he was right so sorry to interrupt so what hume is saying to some degree is that if you think about a video game you program things in a video game and that's your causation right so um i remember when is it half-life 2 came out you had the the hand that grabbed things and moved them around so what what is what is the cause of our ability to do that well it's the programmer who programmed that into the game system if he hadn't programmed that into the game system it wouldn't exist so there's a causation with regards to that so there's causation causation which is in nature and then there is causation as a concept in the mind, now i personally i mean obviously don't know hume hume's mind can't read his mind he wouldn't say there's no such thing as causation anywhere in the universe there's no such thing as course in effect anywhere in the universe so for instance if you meet a man who is uh 80 you know that he's He's eaten for the last 80 years.

[11:31] He may not have eaten in the last 80 minutes, but he's eaten for 80 years.
Because if he hadn't eaten, he would be dead.
You also know that he has consumed liquid for 80 years.
And so the causality, there's no way a man could be alive for 80 years if he didn't eat and drink, right? So there is causality.
The cause of him being alive to some degree is the eating and drinking.
And so we know cause and effect, and animals know cause and effect.
Because if a tiger is hungry, then the tiger will go and hunt.

[12:03] And then the tiger eats and is no longer hungry.
If the tiger is thirsty, it goes and drinks in a pond or whatever, licks rainwater off the leaves or whatever they do.
So there is causality. You couldn't have evolution, you couldn't have life without causality, right?
If there is a person alive, we know that he is born of woman, right?
Every person who's there has been inseminated by a male born of woman and has survived.

[12:38] And so there definitely is causality in nature.
Now, we take the causality in nature and we abstract that into causality that is conceptual.
And the conceptual causality doesn't exist in nature, but causality certainly does exist in nature.
I mean, if we see a river, we know that there's a water source, right?
That the cause of the river is the source of the water, plus usually a somewhat gentle incline that causes the water to flow.
So there is no such thing as a river without any source of water.
And so there is cause and effect.
If we look at a mountain, we know that there's been some geological pressure to push the Earth's crust up into a vertical slab.
So there's causality all over the place. The abstract conception of causality doesn't exist in nature, but there certainly is cause and effect in nature.

Causality in nature and abstract conception of causality

[13:40] Otherwise, there wouldn't be anything that could live, if that makes sense.

[13:45] Yeah, that does.
The point that I'm focusing on at the moment is that it seems to me that Kant's answer to Hume is that, the idea of causation is something that we're sort of pre-wired to, see, to experience things through. So like our brains...

[14:19] Well, hang on, sorry, but there's a difference between the experience of causation, and the concept of causation. Animals experience causation.
Right? So animals are hungry and they eat and then they stop eating, right?
So they I guess the leptin or whatever it is is released in their system that tells them they're hungry, drives them to eat food, and the cause is hunger, the effect is eating, and the result is satiation or satiety, right?
So, there is the experience of causation, which we all have.
Everything that's alive has some experience of causation.
So it's the difference it's it's the difference sorry it's the difference between if we look at evolution right so there is the fact of evolution and then there is the theory of evolution so there's a fact of evolution which even if you don't accept um darwinian evolution there certainly is evolution from animal husbandry like how did we get dogs to be different kinds of what we bred them for that and all that right so and and of course if you look at the original banana banana, it looks really nothing like the banana that we have in the world today.
So there is the fact of evolution.

[15:32] But then there is the theory of evolution. Now, the theory of evolution does not exist in the world, but it describes the processes that do exist in the world, and the processes that do exist in the world, which evolution describes, have a lot to do with cause and effect, right?
So if you are a giraffe and you develop a slightly longer neck, then you get more access to the leaves, and that's better, right?

[15:56] And if you are a whale and you develop bigger lungs and you lose your hind legs, so there's just a bunch of bones stuck in your hips, that's better for you.
So there's cause and effect, that which is fitter to reproduce or more likely to gain access to resources and or reproductive efficacy.
So there is what happens in the world, which is that there is evolution, but the theory of evolution does not exist in the world.
So I think that when Hume is saying that cause does not exist in the world, he's not saying that there's no such thing as cause and effect in the universe because there is he wouldn't be alive if the like he he's hungry he goes to eat he's thirsty he goes to drink he's tired he goes to rest if he hadn't done any of that cause and effect stuff he wouldn't be alive to read to write about it right so he accepts that there's cause and effect in an experiential sense but when he says concepts don't exist in the world he's right right the theory of evolution did not exist until it was invented, although the process of evolution has been occurring for a long time.
So that which is in the world versus that which is within the mind, if that makes sense.

[17:07] Yeah. So, similar to how there's a fact of evolution, I agree with that.
That seems like the Occam's razor, simplest answer to that problem.
Similar to how there's a fact of evolution and a theory of evolution, and the theory of evolution didn't occur until like a hundred years ago or something.
Um there's a fact of causation and then there's also a theory of causation right so you know even before um anybody was around or any biological life you know things were causing other things to happen um uh and then the sort of theory of of causation didn't begin to occur until there there were minds to sort of have that. Yeah.

[17:59] Nobody says that the solar system is without cause. The solar system is, I don't know, something like a bunch of matter starts colliding together, which then starts to attract more matter, and then there's this big plane of matter, and then a certain critical point exists with the nuclear process in the sun, and it starts to burn, and this maybe pushes away clumps of matter, which then form into planets.
Nobody says that there's no cause and effect in the creation of the solar system.

[18:31] Even though there was no life in the solar system and no minds.
And who knows? We might be the very first minds in the universe in terms of evolution.
We could have won the race.

The Possibility of Being the First Conceptual Creatures

[18:44] And so it might be that before us, there was no mind capable of processing concepts concepts in the universe.
So if we think of something like that, then if we just imagine that we're the first, it could be the case, unlikely, but it could be, then we are the first creatures to have concepts in the universe, which means before we were there, there certainly was cause and effect.
I mean, there was cause and effect. If there's no cause and effect, there can't be light, there can't be suns, there can't be planets, there can't be solar systems, there There has to be cause and effect, and cause and effect is understood by babies, right?
They drop their food, they realize they can't mentally will it to float back up to themselves, so they cry because they can't get a hold of it.
They understand that they can't manipulate things with, they can't manipulate physical objects with their minds, and so they cry because they can't get at their food, and so on.
Even though they want it, their wants don't translate into the movement of matter.
So, babies accept cause and effect, physicists accept cause and effect, and so there's cause and effect in the universe, for sure, but conceptualizing it is something that occurs within the mind, but does not exist objectively in the universe.

[20:05] Yeah, yeah, all action requires a belief in cause and effect, or else there'd be no reason for people to act, or any creature.

[20:15] Well, yeah, even this conversation, right? I mean, we both had to log into this platform, we both have to have microphones, we both have to have, like, we recognize that without a whole sequence of cause and effect, we can't even have the conversation.
And of course cause and effect occurs within every conversation because you organize your thoughts and words to convey your meaning hopefully as accurately as possible assuming you're not trying to baffle gab or gaslight someone but yeah so cause and effect is is baked into all human communication it's baked into all human life anybody who rejects cause and effect simply wouldn't be alive because cause and effect cause and effect is breathing like you'll live for about i don't know two minutes if you give up on cause and effect then you'll say well you know it's true that i i feel really oxygen starved and i really have the urge to take a breath but i don't believe in cause and effect so i guess i'll just die or maybe you'll go unconscious and then breathe automatically or something but, uh if you i don't know did something crazy like you taped a bag over your head because you don't believe in the cause and effect of breathing and living well you won't be around to debate for very long and you wouldn't be part of the philosophical journey of mankind i guess except as a negative example sorry go ahead.

Cause and Effect: Essential for Life and Communication

[21:25] Yeah um uh so uh sorry about that i'm at the playground um so yeah i think and also your brain like your brain especially wouldn't exist without the whole reason your brain exists at all is because it's trying to manage cause and effect right uh in in a decision sort Sorry.

[21:47] What do you mean by manage?

[21:55] The purpose of our brain is to alter trajectories of things.
Sorry, maybe that didn't make any sense. Sorry, my girls are chatting with me.

[22:11] Listen, it might be a good idea for you to focus on your parenting at the moment.
And we could talk about this another time because I sure would hate to hear a scream and a thud because that cause and effect would be pretty bad.
So maybe we could talk about this when you're not on the playground with your kids.

[22:26] Sorry, yeah. But maybe one last thing is, so I don't think Hume is debating, or worried about or concerned about whether or not causation exists like as a fact as part of, you know, just the world and that's how the world works.
The thing he's kind of pointing out is where did the belief come from, right?
And then so I think he's saying it doesn't come from sense data because sense data is not something that is capable of transmitting that idea.
So, yes.

[23:03] Sense data only transmits information, not conclusions. So go ahead. Sorry.

[23:09] Yeah, so we can see correlation through sense data, but we can't see causation.
So the belief in causation has to come from some other source than sense data, right?
Right. And then so he then so Kant's answer to that is that it's the belief in causation is something that we're sort of pre-wired to have before before.
Like so he calls it a priori. Like so it's it's prior to sense data.
So to me, it makes sense to say that causation is an a priori belief.
Leave and that's kind of well hang on hang on so so hang on yeah so i mean kant of course, wrote and thought what more than more than a century or so before the dissemination of the theory of evolution so when kant talks about us being pre-wired for things i assume he would be talking about that in a religious context but of course there's no such thing as pre-wired in the world of evolution.

Evolutionary Advantage of Accurate Belief in Cause and Effect

[24:25] Right, the evolutionary statement would go something like this.
An acceptance of causality, an acceptance of cause and effect, is an evolutionary advantage, and therefore those brains which accurately process cause and effect will do better.
So if a human being has the delusion that hunger is cured by exposure to sunlight, as I guess it would be for a plant, if a human being has the belief that human hunger is cured by exposure to sunlight, then that human being would not survive because there was an incorrect belief about cause and effect.
If a human being believed that the best way to make babies, really the only way to make babies, is to have sex with a warm watermelon, I mean, come on, we've all been there, right?
So if a human being believed that the only way to reproduce was to have sex with a warm watermelon.

The Importance of Cause and Effect in Human Existence

[25:24] Then people would have a very bizarre and unpleasant fruit salad, but they wouldn't have any babies.
And so that caused an effect of what is it that brings about human beings, What is it that causes human beings to be born?
That cause and effect would be incorrect, objectively incorrect.
And so what Kant would call hardwired, an evolutionary biologist or anybody with a sort of reasonable layman's understanding of evolution would say that an accurate processing of cause and effect is required for survival.
And the better you are at processing cause and effect, the better your chance of survival.
And so it's not that we're hardwired. He would have to say that because he didn't have access to the theory of evolution.
But we would say that there is objective cause and effect out there.
And what is evolution other than an adaptation to the objective facts of the universe, right?
So there is objective cause and effect out there. Human hunger is not cured by sunlight. You can't have a baby by having sex with a warm watermelon.

[26:31] So these are facts of the universe, and so we are evolutionarily selected to accurately deal with the objective cause and effect in the universe.
Of course, agriculture is prime to this, right?
Which is to say that if I spend all of this crazy amount of energy clearing this land, and if you've ever had to clear your way through the bush, which I've had to do both in Africa and in northern Ontario and Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Canada, of course, if you've ever had to clear your way through the bush, you know just what an insane thing to do is.
If you've ever had to dig a well, which I've had to do as well, or if you've ever had to clear a tree and the tree roots, which I've not had to do, fortunately, but it's insane what you have to do to take a forest and turn it into agricultural land.
And, of course, I assume you want to do this with forests because forests grow where the sunlight is the best and the access to water is the best and the soil is the best.
So to clear a forest is a monster if you've ever had to carve a path through the wilderness. Like, it's crazy, right?

[27:38] So agriculture is saying that it's worth expending a bazillion calories clearing this land because then I can plant.
And if I plant and I keep the birds and the vermin and the pests away, and I keep it watered and so on, then I get a huge amount of calories in a predictable fashion.
So agriculture is about cause and effect, and agricultural societies, which generally displaced over time hunter-gatherer societies, is because it's a very accurate and more conceptual processing of cause and effect, agriculture. culture.
And it ends up being more accurate in creating predictable calories than sometimes hunting and gathering.

[28:28] Particularly, of course, hunter-gatherers are okay to some degree because they can just follow the herds.
But if there's a pestilence among the herd, if there is a sudden change in temperature, because we go through this little, like the medieval warm period, the little ice age just over the last thousand years, there's been wild vacillations in temperature, which farmers can do a little bit more with because they can have winter crops like turnips and so on than hunter-gatherers can if the herd dies off or is driven beyond their reach or for some reason.
So in terms of cause and effect, those who accurately process cause and effect do better.
And this can be, because I know he's off doing his parenting and all of that, so I'll just do a little riff on this and then I'm happy to take another question or criticism or whatever, right?

[29:15] But I don't know if you've gone through this.
I still go through this, and it's disappointing to me that I still go through this, but it is just sort of a fact of my life.

[29:28] Stefan, just so you know, I'm here. I just put myself on mute so you don't hear cars drive by.

[29:35] Yeah, no, go play with your kids, man. We'll talk about this another time.
You're at a playground? Go have fun.
They would rather be with you than have you with me. So I would say go do that, and we'll talk about this another time. I'm just going to end up with something here and then take another question.
But yeah, I really appreciate the call-in. I love epistemology in particular as a favor. So thanks, man. Go have fun.

The Surprising Effectiveness of Propaganda

[29:56] So I'm continually shocked by the effectiveness of propaganda.

[30:01] I shouldn't be, but I am, because it's just such a different mindset from mine.
So those who plan a whole bunch of propaganda and execute a whole bunch of propaganda, I guess obviously and I have no excuse for this I've seen propaganda be very effective I know all about the Milgram experiments and and the Stanford prison experiments although those are a little dicey but I know all about this yet I am still quite surprised at the effectiveness of propaganda now what that means is that I have an evolutionary disadvantage in my processing of cause and effect fact because i'm rational and and skeptical and critical and obviously have studied and learned a lot over the course of my life as a artist as a business owner as a intellectual as uh doing this show and interviewing all these people reading all these books i've learned quite a bit over the years, and so i'm really surprised at the effectiveness of propaganda how many people just swallow these these giant fishhooks whole if you put even a scrap of cheese on them and so the people who plan and execute propaganda campaigns are more accurate in their assessment of reality than i am which is why they do it and why i continue like an idiot honestly like an idiot uh to to be.

[31:21] Surprised at how well propaganda works on people like because for me you know if i hear if i hear or somebody in authority say something, my default position is, that's not true, right?
I mean, this is the old, it's George Carlin principle, like whatever the government says, you know, he doesn't believe.
So, but it's anybody in academia, in authority, the moment they say something, I'm very skeptical.
I don't believe it by default.
I believe things in the free market more. I believe things when people have personal skin in the game, but I don't believe power structures at all.
Like, I mean, I assume that it's almost a diametrical opposite of the truth is where you want to go when you...

[32:04] And that's my default position, and it has been for really as long as I can remember.
And yet, of course, there are literally billions in the majority of the population if the government or some figure in authority or some guy in a white coat says, this is true.
Everyone's like, yep, uncritically, and not just uncritically, but self-righteously and pompously and aggressively and in a hostile manner towards anyone who has questions. that it's not just that propaganda works, it's that people love it.

[32:36] And it works really because they love it. They love the self-righteousness of feeling like they're doing their good deeds trademark and other people are selfish skeptics and anti this, that, the other trademark.
You know, they love propaganda. They love the self-righteousness.

[32:51] And so the people who design, plan, and execute on propaganda propaganda have a better sense of the truth and of reality than i do certainly in this particular area because i'm still always a little bit like how could people believe any of this nonsense like how is it possible for people to believe any of this nonsense but not only do they believe it they love swallowing it it gives them high they're they're addicted to falsehoods i mean i'm kind of addicted to truth sometimes at my own expense, but people are absolutely addicted to falsehood, again, at their own expense.

Understanding propaganda and its impact on human nature

[33:30] So yeah, the people who plan and execute on propaganda have a far better understanding of cause and effect and human nature in many ways, certainly in this realm, than I do, and that is why they do well, and I am not of that level of prominence or effect.
So that's sort of an example, of course, and the fact that I'm not processing well.
And there's others, of course, as well as that, but that's a fairly important one.
All right, if you have any other comments or questions, I am eager to hear.
You just need to raise your hand because, you know, I haven't done the Livestream Telegram stuff for a while.
This is not any criticism of you guys. Happy to have you here.
But in general, the reason I stopped doing it was people didn't have much to say, which is fine.
I mean, obviously, don't feel compelled to speak if you don't have much to say.

[34:23] But it does mean that it's tougher to do a live stream, which, again, it's not your job to make my job easier.
But if these live streams are going on, if you have questions or comments, I'm certainly happy to hear.
If you are a subscriber, and you can subscribe here on the Locals.
So you can subscribe here on the Telegram. You can also subscribe on Locals at You can subscribe.

[34:51] At slash donate, you can subscribe at slash freedomain.
And for those of you who are subscribers, I just released a fairly ferocious hour-long chapter on the Peaceful Parenting book.
We're now up to part 17 of the Peaceful Parenting book, and you get that right away when you sign up for a subscription.
So I hope that you will check that out. it's uh uh you know i he immodestly says hey i think it's some of my best work and certainly is is my most important work so let me give you a second here i have a bunch of stuff to talk about with regards to bitcoin as you may or may not have noticed it's doing a wee bit of a a wee bit of a pop at the moment in fact more than a wee bit of a pop actually a giant a giant pop um when did i the last check it so it's yeah it's i mean canadian dollars uh in one day it's gone up 3100 per bitcoin and that is really quite something it's currently hovering a little bit below 64 000 which is uh really quite something uh just uh was it five days ago It was at $57,000.
Now it's close to $64,000. So that's $7,000 up in a week.
So that is obviously good. That is obviously good.

[36:15] And if I was still in politics, of course, if I was still in politics, I did watch the interview with Vladimir Putin last night.
And if I was still in politics, I could do an hour or two on that because that was quite interesting.
And of course, if you look back on my videos from way back in the day, I did all the videos about Ukraine back in 2014 and so on.
It was really, really good stuff.
So you can go back, of course,
You can do a search for that kind of stuff and see what it is that I was talking about with all the stuff that Putin is talking about now that I was talking about 10 years ago.
But, you know, politics is a wee smidge in the old rear view. You can, of course, also.

[36:57] You can type in the text, and I can do that as well. All right.

The God of Atheists - A Comedy Book

[37:01] Somebody writes, just finished your book, The God of Atheists.
The God of Atheists. Very good book. We'll need to go through it as the audiobook soon.
Thank you. I appreciate that. I love that book. I absolutely love that book.
It's one of the books I had the most fun writing because it really is a comedy.
A bit of a black comedy, of course, but a very good comedy. All right, so let me just check in here with y'all.
I don't think anybody's got anything yet. I don't think anybody has any hands raised unless there's something way down.
All right, so I will do a wee smidge on what might be going on with regards, to the itty-bitty-ditty coins.
And let me just go here. Yes, okay, so thanks to James for putting this stuff together.
And let's see.

[37:53] Oh, that's parenting practices seem to have little, no effect on children's personalities.
Whoops. It's a little further up in my saved. This is stuff to get to.
A little bit further up in my saved files.
So what on earth might be going on with Bitcoin at the moment?
This is from Crypto News.
And this is from yesterday at 5.28 p.m.
Bitcoin has surged over 4% the past 24 hours, edging closer to the 45,000 threshold for the first time since mid-January.
At the time of reporting, Bitcoin was trading at approximately 44.8, marking a 4.6% increase within the day and a notable 6.3% surge over the past week.
That, of course, has gone much further up or even further up from then.

[38:35] Data from CryptoQuant, oh sorry, while the influx of funds into new spot Bitcoin ETFs has captured considerable attention, according to CryptoQuant data, it's the selling activity by miners that has been restraining Bitcoin prices in recent times.
Right, so as you know, the miners solve cryptographic equations and the miners process Bitcoin transactions and they are rewarded with Satoshis or Bitcoins.
And what are we now two months three months away from the halving or where the the value of what is received by the miners goes down by by 50 and listen if you know more about this industry the industry technicals than i do please feel free to correct me either by voice or text i'm happy of course to to get things more accurately so if the miners who are getting their shaving off satoshis from processing transactions and they are getting bitcoins from solving these equations equations, if the miners are selling rather than holding on, then that's going to depress the price, right?
And that means that either they have cash flow issues because of recent expansion or electricity costs or energy costs are up or they need to sell.

[39:48] But people look at the miners, I think as a whole, they look at the miners and they say, well, if the miners are selling, the miners are more deeply embedded and have more skin in the game than most people in the industry.
So if the miners are selling, then maybe they know something that I don't know.
I mean, it's not quite the equivalent, but in the business world, if the CEO of a major corporation is selling off his shares, then either he has a cash flow issue himself, or there are people who would get quite alarmed by that and say, They were Y as the head of XYZ Corporation selling.
So the Bitcoin miners are the closest to the metal, as we used to say, with regards to machine code, right?
They are the closest, in a sense, and have the highest stakes.
Because most people, if you're a buy and holder, right, what does it cost you to hold Bitcoin? Well, nothing.
I mean, fundamentally nothing, right? It costs you nothing to hold Bitcoin.
It's not like it's subject to the same kind of inflationary pressures.
It's not like if you have a financial advisor that's taken a couple of hundred basis points off, sorry, a couple of percent off your investments every year, so it costs you nothing to hold Bitcoin.

[41:07] But miners have a continual expense. Obviously, the hardware, the electricity, the business, the taxes, and payroll, and all that kind of stuff, right? And in business, of course, cash flow is king.
You have to be able to pay your bills, even though your income can be uncertain, can be feast or famine in the business world sometimes.
So it's feast or famine with your income, but your bills are like a metronome.
You get two weeks payroll, every month you've got your rent, you've got your internet, you've got your electricity, your taxes, and so on.

Miners Selling: Anticipating Higher Price or Covering Costs?

[41:36] So if the miners are selling, then either they're selling because they're anticipating the price to go higher, because they're selling in order to invest in more infrastructure to produce more Bitcoins for themselves.
So they're either selling because they're anticipating the price going higher, or they're selling because they can't cover their costs and they need to sell in order to do something.
Thing now whether the miners have been expanding or not i don't know i don't know if that information is publicly available i don't know if they're just i mean i assume that they would be expanding.

[42:11] Quietly right because if if i was in the mining bitcoin mining business i would not want to broadcast that i was expanding uh i would i would want people to think that i'm selling my bitcoin, because i'm anticipating the price going down right so i wouldn't i would keep my my, you know, this is evil Machiavellian business stuff, right?
But I would, and it's nothing, you know, you're not forced to tell anyone these things. It's not contractually obligated. So I would keep this under wraps, right?
So if I was in the Bitcoin mining business, I would give the impression that I was selling Bitcoin because I was anticipating the price going down.

[42:49] Because they are the weather vane by which a lot of people guide their Bitcoin choices, I guess.
So i would give the impression that i was selling because the price was going to go down and i wanted to get in before the price went down and but but meanwhile i would be taking the profits from selling and i would be expanding my mining operations.

Miners' Strategy: Depress Price before Buying

[43:12] Because, of course, if people know I'm expanding my mining operations, then they won't sell because they'll anticipate the price going up.
So, you know, whenever you want to buy something in the future, you want to depress the price.
I mean, obviously, honorably, legally, whatever it is, right?
But if you want to buy something in the future, you want to depress the price as much as possible before you buy it.
And for the miners, if they're expanding, they wouldn't want to give that impression.
Again, I'm not talking about any particular miners.
This may not even be accurate. I'm just telling you the way that I would approach it in the way that I think would make some kind of economic sense.
So if the miners believe that the price is going to go up, then they would sell.
And then people would take that selling as a mark that the price is going down.
And they would also sell, depressing the price.
And then when the miners want to buy, the price would be lower.
And they would then obviously make the difference between those two things.
All right. Data from CryptQuant reveals that minor reserves, representing the amount of Bitcoin held in minor treasuries, have experienced net outflows since the debut of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds in mid-January.
These reserves have now plummeted to the lowest level since June 2021.
Miners have notably scaled back their daily sales of Bitcoin, reducing them from over 800 Bitcoins in late 2023 to below 300 Bitcoins in early 2024. 2024.

[44:35] This strategic shift suggests a change in miners' approach to their holdings with major publicly traded Bitcoin mining firms in the U.S. reporting an increase in their Bitcoin reserves despite a dip in profitability.
Okay, so some of them are selling, some of them are holding on.
It sounds like more of them are holding on.
Despite facing a decline in profitability, the steepest in over a year, miners have opted to hold on to their assets rather than sell them.
Data from CryptQuant indicates that miners have been significantly underpaid in 2024, yet selling pressure remains subdued.
So that's interesting. So then why, if they say here.

Bitcoin prices restrained by selling activity

[45:11] It's a selling activity that has been restraining Bitcoin prices in recent times.
So if they're holding on to their Bitcoin, I'm not sure why that would keep Bitcoin's price low.
Now, restraining Bitcoin prices, does that mean constraining them in one way or the other or keeping them low? Well, let's sort of find out.

[45:28] The Bitcoin network has also experienced a downturn in transactions, dropping from a daily all-time high of $731,000 in late December 2023 to a three-month low of $278,000.
This decline is attributed to reduced activity in inscriptions and BRC20 token transactions, particularly those using taproot addresses, which have seen a 76% decrease.
Bitcoin transaction fees plummeted by 90% from mid-December to early February.
CryptQuant stated, and I quote, Minor selling pressure has remained low so far in 2024, even after minor profitability decreased by the largest amount in at least a year.
Miners have been mostly extremely underpaid so far in 2024. So miner selling pressure has remained low.
So that means that the miners are holding on. Right, so that contradicts what I was saying earlier, which is obviously fine, sort of as we dig through this.
Maybe they'll be support, maybe they won't.
All right, Bitcoin price surges amidst growing interest from whales and speculation on Federal Reserve's monetary policy.
Further supporting Bitcoin's upward trajectory is the increasing interest from large-scale investors, or whales, who are actively accumulating Bitcoin.
Insights from the on-chain analytics platform look on chain reveal substantial movements such as withdrawals totaling 2741 bitcoins valued at approximately 118 million, from binance just before the price search all right.

[46:51] The search in bitcoins so the whales are a lot of the whales are holding on a whale is what a thousand a bitcoin or more right so a lot of the whales are holding on the search in bitcoins price price comes on the heels of reports suggesting that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to lower interest rates in March, aligning with market expectations.
Comments from Boston Fed President Susan Collins indicating potential rate cuts, quote, later this year, echo sentiments expressed by Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mestre.
The prospect of future rate cuts appears to have injected volatility into the cryptocurrency space, fueling investors' appetite for risk.
All right. The heightened selling activity coincides with the upcoming Bitcoin halving scheduled for April, a quadrennial event that halves the rewards for miners for securing the Bitcoin blockchain.

[47:38] Yeah, halving is expected to significantly impact miners' profitability, potentially driving smaller, less efficient operations out of business, or compelling them to merge with larger companies to survive.
So I'd like to know if the larger companies are also holding on to their Bitcoin, the larger mining companies.
If the smaller mining companies are selling their Bitcoin, it's because they're anticipating reduced profitability ahead and need to shore up their cash reserves, I would assume.
If the larger mining operations are holding on to their bitcoin that's because they're expecting to weather the storm right as you know the if there's a quote recession based upon the bitcoin halving it's the marginal producers that get shaken out in a recession the people who were just kind of barely holding on so maybe maybe what i was saying earlier applies to larger miners and not to the smaller miners maybe it's the smaller miners that have been selling because they need cash to survive the halving right so it's possible right i will say that hassan shitu you have not answered much, you have let's go to and see what the story is with their explanation, because 2024 has gotten off to a rocky start despite the approval of several long-awaited exchange traded funds that were supposed to bolster the institutional legitimacy things Things are looking up, it's coming back up over.
Okay, so what's causing the surge?

[48:58] Analysts tell Decrypt that a number of factors, including hoarding by whales, are leading the asset to edge higher. Well, it's more than edged higher now, of course.
Bitcoin took a somewhat surprising hit following the approval of 10 Bitcoin ETFs in January.
After briefly touching $49,000, the asset nosedives after one of the funds, Grayscale, started shifting large amounts of its crypto to Coinbase.
This was because prior to Grayscale's Bitcoin ETF fund ETF conversion, it operated like a closed-end fund and investors had to hold their shares for at least six months before cashing out.
When it became an ETF in January, lots of investors were keen to redeem their shares and cash out. Interesting. Okay.
Graysdale, as a result, sold huge amounts of Bitcoin leading to a price decrease.
At one point, it was trading below $39,000.
But that sell-off looks to be over and Bitcoin is on the up again, in part to big holders snapping up the asset.

Downturns and the Different Reasons for Selling Crypto

[49:50] So, of course, if you're a whale, I would imagine that you have the financial liquidity, to survive downturns right so downturns only affect those who have to sell i mean have to sell, whatever i mean have to sell for practical reasons like you know if people have to pay a tax bill and the only asset that they have to liquidate is say bitcoin then they have to sell their bitcoin to pay their tax bill right so this is that's involuntary but that means you don't have the the cash reserves to cover your expenses, like whatever your expenses are, right?
You don't have the cash reserves, therefore you have to sell your crypto.
So there are those people who sell because they don't have enough money to cover their expenses, right?
And it's usually not people who have unexpected bills.
It's usually people who, because unexpected bills, unless some reassessment, some tax reassessment, unexpected bills, like your car needs a repair or something, tend to be somewhat small.
There could be medical issues, of course, depending on on people's level of insurance. But there are people who have to sell.

[50:56] Because they can't cover their expenses for whatever reason.
And then there are people who feel compelled to sell because they're panicking, right?
Because they have in their head that their life savings could go to zero, right?
The Bitcoin is going to go to zero or it's going to go down 75%, you know. And of course, you know, it has gone through some pretty wild fluctuations in the past, but mildly.
So there are people who have to sell because they've got to cover their costs.
Like if you've got to make your mortgage, then you have to sell your Bitcoins.
You can't live on the blockchain.
And then there are people who i mean that obviously the term is paper hands it's a bit bit of a rude and rather contemptuous term but there are people who sell because they panic, and they don't have to sell but they they see the downside and the anxiety of watching the price go down is tough right it's tough i mean my i don't give investment advice as you know.

[51:56] But my particular approach is a lot of it has to do with mindset in in my view again this is just my own personal thing this is not any kind of advice to anyone about anything but i'll just tell you so in terms of canadian if bitcoin has been at 55 a thousand dollars when i went to bed, then when i wake up in the morning and i don't check the price of bitcoin every day but if i do do check the price of Bitcoin in the morning.
If it was at $55,000 the night before, then I say to myself, it's probably at 53.
Now, if it's at 54, that's good. Oh, good. It did go down to 53.
If it's at 53, I feel accurate. If it's at 52, I feel $1,000 down, which again is pretty abstract if you're not selling, right?
Whereas if you say, if the price has been going up and it went from from 53 to 55 over the course of the day and then you go to bed and you wake up.

[52:56] And you think oh it's got to be at least 57 and then you hit your refresh and it's 54 you feel oh it's down right but it's only down relative to your estimate you have to really manage your estimate so i literally i'm like oh i bet you it's down oh good it's still the same price right If you think it's supposed to be $57 and it's still $55, you feel like it's not up too.
You feel almost like your mindset gives you the sense that you're down $2,000 a Bitcoin or something like that.

[53:28] Whereas if you assume it's down and it hasn't gone down or it hasn't gone down by as much as you think it has, that's good.
So for me, I wake up, I'm like, oh, I bet you it's down. Oh, good. It's not down that much.
Now, if it's gone up, great, right? And then what happens as well is that people say, well, it went from 57 to 60 yesterday.
I bet you it's gone to 63 today.

[53:53] But then when they open up their browser, you hit your refresh, and it's still at 60, you're like, oh, that's so suddenly it being up three grand is a bad thing because it isn't up another three grand.
So a lot of it has to do with just your mindset.
Whereas for me, if I see it go from 57 to 60, I'm going to assume the next day, it's probably down to 58, probably back down to 58.
Now, if it stayed at 60, that's great. That's good. Whereas if you think it's 63 and it's at 60, you feel that's a bad thing.
If I think it's 58, but it's actually 60, that's a good thing.
So be careful what your estimates are, because your estimates will a lot of times drive panic.
And panic is usually not the best way to make investment decisions.
Again, just sort of my particular opinion.
So big holders are snapping up the asset.
So the big holders, if you're a whale, and a whale is a thousand bitcoins or more, and in general, people who haven't sold, at least in that account, for quite some time.
So that means that you have enough money to live on, right? Now, if you have enough money to live on, then you don't have to sell to cover your costs, and therefore your selling decisions are based purely on, your buying and selling decisions are not based on necessity.

[55:03] So you want to observe people, I think, you want to observe people who have the least variability in their decision-making.
So if there's some guy who has to sell Bitcoin because he's got to pay his mortgage, then his sale of Bitcoin is not related to...

The Future of Bitcoin and Covering Expenses

[55:25] The future of Bitcoin, it's related to his current bills, right?
So you wouldn't want to read too much into some guy selling Satoshis to cover his mortgage.
You wouldn't want to read some analysis about the future of Bitcoin out of that because he's selling the Satoshis to cover his mortgage.
So it's not an evaluation of the Bitcoin market space that he's got to pay his bills.
You also don't want to get your market read from people who are emotional and subject to to greed buying, panic selling, like the people who are really emotional.
So what's the one thing that's, well, the two things that are kind of true about the whales, right? Number one, they have a lot of Bitcoin.
And number two, they've held onto it for a long time.
Now, they've held onto it for a long time means that they're not panic buyers or sellers, right?
They're not greed buyers, or they may be greed buyers, but they're not panic sellers because they held onto it when Bitcoin went down by half or like at one point didn't go like 70 to 80% down, and they still hold on.

[56:23] So they're not panic sellers. So they have enough money somewhere to cover their expenses because they're not selling Bitcoin to cover their expenses.
We know that because they've held onto it for a long time.
And they're also not emotional sellers.
And when I say emotional sellers, that's not a criticism or anything.
It's just a fact of life, right?
And sometimes emotional sellers are right. Some people who panic and sell are totally right.
So this is not any kind of criticism or anything like that.
It's just sort of a fact of life. So when you look at the whales, you're looking at people who don't have to sell to cover their expenses, so it's pure Bitcoin money.

Miners and whales as indicators of the bitcoin marketplace

[57:02] Evaluation from that standpoint because they don't have to sell to cover the expenses and also they don't panic sell because they haven't sold in forever and ever amen right so they are the purest indicators of the bitcoin marketplace one of them is the miners the other is the whales which is why a lot of people go back and forth between the miners and the whales so the big holders is napping up the assets crypto quants head of research julio moreno julio moreno said that And I quote, prices found a bottom as sell pressure was exhausted, but one short-term holder, unrealized profit margins became zero, but that more whales were buying Bitcoin this year.
He added that their total holdings are now at their highest since November 22 at 3.9 million Bitcoins.
But this isn't the only factor. Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlund told Decrypt there's currently plenty of appetite for tech, and that is leading investors to eye up both companies on the Nasdaq, Nasdaq and crypto.
While the head of research at Coinshares, James Butterfield, added that there's a possibility there's also ETF issuers buying more Bitcoin.

[58:04] Bitcoin ETFs have been a roaring success since their launch in January.
The investment vehicles which track the market, the price of cryptocurrency, have experienced large inflows, with current Bloomberg data showing that for nine days straight, cash has entered the funds.

[58:17] And of course, if you remember, back in January, I said it's going to take a while for the people who sell boomers to a large degree, or those with a lot of investment funds tend to be boomers.
It's going to take a while for the people who sell to boomers to educate themselves and to educate the boomers on what crypto is.
And in particular, because they might be reversing some of the comments that they've made before, they need to find a good story. So they need to have a lot of internal training.
They need to go out, convince the boomers, get the paperwork. It's just, it doesn't, you know, in the crypto world, world everyone's so used to we'll just go buy it and it's like but that's not how it works in the finance world i mean i worked at a stock trading company in an investment company for a while it was actually my first professional gig now i was a programmer but i learned a lot about the business because i had to learn about the business in order to write effective code somebody says what do i care what bitcoin does tomorrow i'll look at it again in a decade yeah i think that's i think think that's fine i you know i it's always interesting to me when people put these kinds of comments in i never quite know what to make of it i never know are you saying that that's a good strategy or are you saying that's your particular preference.

Concerns about long-term investment strategy

[59:36] I'll look at it again in a decade? I don't think that's wise at all. Are you crazy?
You can't just not follow an investment or holdings or assets for a decade. I mean, that's crazy.
In my opinion, I just don't even know what to say about that.
That just seems completely bizarre.
And also, James, if there are any more, any updates, some of these ones for last night, and if there are any more updates, if you could let me know.
No, but yeah, it does sound like the whales are looking at the halvening.
Oh, look at that. As we're talking, it popped over.
It's $64,000 Canadian, so it looks like it's still on the up and up.
But yeah, we'll see. We'll see. I mean, I think the halvening plus the ETFs and the fact that the whales, who are the purist, the whales and the miners are the purist, in my view, the purist indicators of people's belief. Like, there's no future Bitcoin.
There's only people's belief in the future of Bitcoin. coin.
Now, the other thing that I would say as well is that the Fed is not raising the interest rates, right?
The Fed is not raising the interest rates.
Now, this is a little sort of Austrian economics 101, so I'm sorry if you've heard this stuff before.
But of course, one of the reasons that you would raise interest rates is to encourage saving.

[1:00:58] And the problem, of course, with raising interest rates is that it will increase the amount that you're paying on debt right so why would the u.s government i mean we can say the federal reserve but it's basically the u.s government why would the u.s government not want to raise interest rates because they have no plan to pay off the debt and of course they have no plan plan to pay off the debt i mean I mean, for all the people who are conservatives, and I get their perspective, but Donald Trump was a drunken sailor on a John Belushi-style spending cocaine binge.
I mean, the man spent, like, insane amounts of money.
And, of course, I was criticizing him for this back when I was in politics, but there's no plan to pay off the debt.

[1:01:52] I mean, there's literally zero plan to pay off the debt. There's zero political will to pay off the debt.
And of course, any politician who came up with any kind of plan to pay off the debt would be jeered, shouted, and chased out of any political space.
I mean, this is back to my documentary on California when I got up in front of the LA City Council and kind of demanded to know what was their plan to pay for all of the things they were promising the population, given their deficit.
Were they planning on cutting anything, or was there any talk of any plan?
And, you know, of course, I was not particularly welcome in the discussion, as you can imagine, right?

[1:02:30] So, I think another reason is that they say, well, okay, there's no wiggle room.
To have any any talk i mean of course even to slow down the rate of increase of spending is it seems to be impossible i think the spending is just oh we're in very late stage treasury pillaging right very late stage treasury pillaging there's no restraint i think and so what people are saying is that okay well if there's no restraint in debt accumulation then bitcoin i would assume i mean since bitcoin is really the ultimate hedge against inflation in many ways case.
So if the Fed's not raising the rates, it means that they have no plan even to restrain spending.
And so that's going to make Bitcoin all the more valuable relative to U.S. dollars, right?

[1:03:20] Maybe not relative to goods and services in the long run.
But, you know, again, the old question is how much has the value of Bitcoin gone up versus how much has the value of the U.S. dollar gone down?
These are all interesting questions that future economists will probably tie their their hair in knots to try and resolve, but it certainly is not inconsiderable in my humble opinion.
So yeah, so I think that's very interesting. I don't have any predictions as to price.
Obviously, I don't have any predictions as to price other than I think in general, in general, my personal opinion, none of this is financial advice.
Don't buy or sell anything based upon what a guy with a history degree is telling you.
But my personal belief is that it it will continue to increase in value.
And again, whether that's relative to, yeah, like gold, does gold increase in value relative to goods? No, no.
I mean, for almost all of human history, a good steak dinner was the price of an ounce of silver.
And over most of human history, a good suit was an ounce of gold.
And that sort of just remains...

[1:04:19] So I do think that the price of Bitcoin is going to increase relative to the U.S. dollar, which may be another way of just saying that the U.S.
Dollar is going to lose value relative to Bitcoin.
At some point, at some point, things are going to be measured in Bitcoin to things rather than Bitcoin to dollars, and that would probably be more inaccurate.
When it's going to happen, how it's going to happen, who knows, right? I mean, this is all macroeconomic stuff, which doesn't take into account the vagaries of of individual perspectives and opinions, and it also doesn't take into account the vagaries of political decisions.
So, all right, those are my comments and thoughts about what's going on today.
If you have any other questions or comments, I'm certainly happy to hear your thoughts.
If there's anything you want to correct me on, I'm obviously happy to hear any of that, and otherwise we can close down for the day.

[1:05:11] All righty-righty. Well, thanks, everyone. What a great pleasure to be able to drop by and have these chats.
I've worked a little bit hard over the last couple of days to make sure that I have a rig that I can just fire up and do.
It's now a dedicated computer just for these kinds of live streams so that I never have to worry about settings and testings and this, that, and the other.
Because before, you know, oh, something had changed. Some setting had been updated.
Some volume had been changed. Some other audio thing had been inputted.
And I had to do a whole bunch of testing. Now I've just got a little dedicated machine here just for these kinds of live streams, keep it hived off from everything else. So that's going to be good.
I think I can drop by and do these things more often. And I certainly do appreciate you guys dropping by. slash donate to help out the show. I would massively appreciate that. slash donate to help out the show.
And I hope that you will drop by the community at
It is a great, great place to be. and I thank you guys so much for dropping by today.
Have yourselves a super duper delightful afternoon and I'll see you tonight, seven o'clock for Friday Night Live. Bye.

Blog Categories

May 2024

Recent Comments

    Join Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Community

    Become a part of the movement. Get exclusive content. Interact with Stefan Molyneux.
    Become A Member
    Already have an account? Log in
    Let me view this content first