This post was originally featured on my newsletter: https://acceleration.party/newsletter/
Imagine that the Roman Empire did not fall but just became Software? If the hardware of the Empire has disappeared, its memic image has definitively survived. What if the choice of Christianism, by the very last Roman emperor Constantin, was a virus designed to upload the Empire into some sort of memetic entity?
All the events of this early XXI century hint at the decline of the US Western Empire : 9/11, the subprime crisis, the struggle of Globalism and finally Afghanistan withdrawal. The Empire has reached its maximum expansion, to use the George Bataille perspective.
The timing for Facebook Metaverse’s reveal was very specific: just one month ahead of the Afghanistan retreat. Like in 300 A.D. the hardware Empire cannot expand anymore. But what if it could create a simulation, a Metaverse where its expansion can run forever? A software world where clothing, housing and traveling are not anymore subject to the restrictions of the hardware.
But can this upload of a whole Empire work again? 1800 years ago, the maintenance of a religious Framework was an expensive task : money, people, infrastructures etc. You needed to be at least a local figure, if not a king, for booting and keeping this kind of network afloat. But after the fall of Monarchy and the acceleration of Capitalism, the dynamic has changed. Our early XXI century has seen the rise of gigantic Memetic powerhouses (like 4chan and 8chan) run by few militarized zoomers from their bedroom.
The point is, despite all efforts of the Empire to civilize the virtual world (why do you think there is so much noise about women in video games?), the transplant of the whole western Empire in the Metaverse is very likely to fail : The virtual world is not a nation, but an array of micro-communities acting like cancerous cells, even from the inner perspective of people running these networks.
But what if the plan was not about saving the gerontocratic Western Empire, but to perform the exact Coup de Poker run by the Romans 1800 years ago : giving up the private keys of the Empire to the cyber barbarians. The energy to keep the hardware part of the Empire afloat was not here anymore, but the Software part ensured its survival.
Think about all these actors, acting like barbaric entities : Trump, 4chan, Bitcoin. Crypto currencies were theorized in the mid-90s by NSA, the Anonymous are linked to the Darpa and Trump is carried by Peter Thiel, the man behind Pay-pal and Facebook and now web3 biggest evangelist. They are not just degenerescence symptoms of the Empire. They are the virtualized image of a new kind of US Deep State, ready to be dockerized and modded by any 14 years old.