Jim Morrison Would Have Loved Bitcoin

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By Vlad Costea — External Contributor to Trezor Blog

Had Jim Morrison lived to see the state of today’s world, he would have definitely fallen down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. The Lizard King had both the ideological mindset and the enthusiasm to start using the money of free people, so Mr. Mojo wouldn’t be the only one rising during bull runs. The likes of William Shatner and Paul Tudor Jones wouldn’t feel so alone as “boomer” bitcoiners either.

As the son of a US Navy admiral who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Jim grew up despising authority. Instead of becoming an army man himself, Morrison spent his short adult life exploring freedom in all of its forms. In his poetry and interviews, one can easily identify his aspiration to attain freedom and define all of its dimensions. To him, freedom wasn’t just a momentary justification for his wild rockstar partying — instead, he defined it as a goal which results from an individual desire and is meant to scale to the entire society.

Having lived his prime in the 1960s, Jim Morrison enjoyed the hedonism of the countercultural movement and pushed the boundaries around him: he rebelled against his parents by seeking an artistic career, joined a rock band in spite of never taking any kind of musical education, sang “get much higher” on the Ed Sullivan Show even though he was instructed to not mention it, and went as far as (allegedly) exposing his genitals on stage during a 1969 concert in Florida.

Riding on the Storm

Yet there’s definitely more to Jim Morrison than his rebellious rockstar antics. Throughout his short adult life, he embraced every groundbreaking innovation and found creative ways to integrate it in his work: he paid close attention to new recording technologies, picking a studio with a state-of-the-art 8-track tape recorder at a time when even The Beatles were still using a 4-track, and even predicting the rise of home-produced electronic music. As a filmmaker, Morrison explored his creative freedom by using psychedelic imagery before the style received mainstream acceptance.

Given his enthusiasm for new technologies and his nearly-prophetic understanding of the future, it’s not hard to imagine a 76 year-old Jim Morrison walking around with a Trezor hardware wallet hanging from his tight leather pants.

So, what makes Jim Morrison the perfect bitcoiner? Let’s take a look at his lyrics and interviews and hopefully, by the end of our analysis, we’ll have a clearer idea of how soon the Lizard King would have gotten involved in the space. With Morrison’s rebellious nature, defiant attitude and philosophical approach to life, it seems obvious that he would be stacking sats long before 2020.

Lyrics fit for a Bitcoin Bard

1. The End

The Doors’ eponymous debut album featured a collection of love songs and quasi-philosophical reflections that, admittedly, don’t really involve freedom. But one notable exception comes in “The End”, when Jim croons:

“Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free, desperately in need of some stranger’s hand in a desperate land.”

This idea of a paradox of freedom, in which absolute autonomy alienates us from the people we need, sounds heartbreaking. Thankfully, Bitcoin fixes this through its permanently interconnected peer-to-peer nature — you’re never alone on the network, and participation involves synchronous communication with thousands of liberated strangers.

2. Unhappy Girl

The band’s sophomore LP “Strange Days” includes some of their most iconic tracks. But the underrated B-side, “Unhappy Girl” encourages listeners to reflect on the state of their freedom and break away from their prison cells. The imagery described precedes Neo’s red-pilling by 32 years:

“Tear your web away, saw through all your bars. Melt your cell today, you are caught in a prison of your own device.”

The person who wrote these lyrics would have definitely loved the idea of breaking away from the chains of central banking and a financial system that pulls everybody into debt. Jim Morrison certainly seemed “woke” enough to at least try Bitcoin.

3. Do It

Do It” is one of the most obscure and overlooked tracks from the 1969 album “The Soft Parade”. It begins with a shamanic incantation, starts oozing Morrison’s trademark eroticism during the bridge section, and during the repeated chorus we hear the message:

“Please listen to me children, you are the ones who will rule the world”

While the lyric is generic enough to imply virtually anything, it’s worth noting that Jim Morrison was a strong believer in the power of the next generation — gen X, of which Satoshi Nakamoto is most likely a member. If the mystical crooning poet believed that the world belongs to the next generation, he would have been open-minded enough to embrace all the technological changes that came in the following decades.

4. The Soft Parade

Speaking of “The Soft Parade” record, on the track bearing the same name, Morrison makes an interesting statement about hard work and money.

“All our lives we sweat and save, building for a shallow grave, must be something else we say, somehow to defend this place.”

In other words, the poet challenges the audience to find a more accountable financial system which eliminates the “shallowness” yet keeps the security of our current system.

It might have taken 40 more years, but Bitcoin did come around to propose a parallel economy which incentivizes good faith and honesty. Maybe Satoshi Nakamoto never listened to The Doors, but Jim Morrison definitely expressed an ideal of freedom that hung around for centuries , not materializing until Bitcoin came around.

What would Jim Morrison have to say about Bitcoin?

Jim Morrison left us with dozens of worthwhile and memorable quotes. Most were given during interviews, but his non-musical poetry reveals a cryptoanarchist lurking in his deepest psyche.

1. Freedom Exists

One great example is the poem “Freedom Exists”, in which Morrison describes the state of our society by contrasting freedom and prisons.

“Did you know that freedom exists in school books? Did you know madmen are running our prisons?”

The message of this inquiry is that education is power, and those who rule us are not necessarily the wisest or most mentally-sane. Wouldn’t such a radical thinker study a groundbreaking financial invention that threatens the economic and political status-quo?

Jim Morrison would no doubt have loved to discover Bitcoin and spend his time reading the “school books” — Bitcointalk and Twitter.

2. Standing For Our Freedom

Even during the rebellious 1960s when young people were experimenting with the boundaries of their individual and collective freedom, Jim Morrison was unhappy about everyone’s unwillingness to stand up for their rights. In his view, freedom was being taken for granted, or was regarded as the subject of empty words that were rarely followed by actions.

“How can I set free anyone who doesn’t have the guts to stand up alone and declare his own freedom? I think it’s a lie — people claim they want to be free — everybody insists that freedom is what they want the most, the most sacred and precious thing a man can possess. But that’s bullshit! People are terrified to be set free — they hold on to their chains. They fight anyone who tries to break those chains. It’s their security. How can they expect me or anyone else to set them free if they don’t really want to be free?”

Today, Jim Morrison would have most likely used the example of Bitcoin to demonstrate that people still choose security over freedom. Instead of joining the peaceful financial revolution, millions of people choose to hang onto their chains of fiat debt. This kind of social observation and accusation of complacently accepting the status quo definitely sounds like one that Morrison would have made. After all, this is the same guy who screamed “You’re all a bunch of slaves” at his audience and somehow received ovations.

3. Freedom Begins with Individuals

As an avid reader who developed an obsession for Nietzsche, Jim Morrison also spent a lot of time making social observations. In the context of the Cold War escalation and the events taking place in the USSR at the time, he understood that revolutions don’t come from above. No leader will step in and make the necessay changes, it’s all about the will of individuals.

This idea of changing the world by first improving yourself was expressed by Morrison in this quote, which also mentions the importance of authenticity:

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are…There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”

The Bitcoin network is as voluntary as can be and enables individuals to free themselves from the chains of their governments. So the “personal revolution” includes choosing to use a fair form of money. How else are we going to have the “large-scale revolution of hyperbitcoinization”, if not through the private initiatives of enthusiastic free thinkers?

4. Freedom Through Anarchy

This quote might be the most revealing of Jim Morrison’s supposed interest in Bitcoin. Since freedom is a central part of his philosophy, he declared himself a supporter of disorganized and spontaneous rebellious movements.

“I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos — especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom.”

If he liked the social movements of the 1960s, then Morrison would have certainly enjoyed protesting his government peacefully from the comfort of his own home by transacting bitcoins. Anarchy through cryptography is part of the cypherpunk ethos described by Tim May in “The Cyphernomicon”, in which privacy and freedom of speech are more important than compliance.

In its early days, the cypherpunk movement did seem to have no meaning. Their excessive concern with government regulation, Big Brother surveillance, and censorship of free speech appeared to be excessive and ideologically-driven at the time. Yet almost three decades later we have received Edward Snowden’s leaks, we have witnessed numerous instances of free speech being censored, and we came to realize that people concerned about data encryption are not paranoid.

If Jim Morrison was around to observe these events, he would have worked to raise awareness about the danger of internet surveillance. And, to help people free themselves from the panopticon of the cashless society, his recommendation would have definitely been Bitcoin.

If Jim Morrison was alive today, how would he store his bitcoins?

Given his record of distrusting authority and advocating for freedom, a hypothetical bitcoiner Jim Morrison would very likely treat his coins just like he treated his poetry books: he wouldn’t trust anyone to handle them; he’d mysteriously bring them up during recording sessions, maybe letting you catch a glimpse of his hardware wallet, but only ever revealing the parts that he wants to.

There are only two devices on the market today that could satisfy Jim Morrison’s demands for trustless security, and they’re called the Trezor One and the Trezor Model T. Anything that requires blind trust in designated authorities and experts is antithetical to the spirit of The Lizard King.

Jim Morrison Would Have Loved Bitcoin was originally published in Trezor Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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