Blockchain, NFT and Creation Myths

Yehuda Israely | January 2022

Myths of creation, whether early Mesopotamian or Amazonian, have many common themes. Following these myths, we can see the deep emotions and conflicts that human creations, discoveries and inventions evoke, both psychologically and culturally. These myths tell the story of the ambivalence humans always had about adopting new technology.

Human creations have been described in myths as theft from the Gods, whose benefits are claimed at the price of catastrophes. Prometheus who stole the fire from the gods was chained to a rock and had his liver perpetually eaten by an eagle. The half human jaguar-woman who gave the roasting fire to the human clans of the Amazon Forest was punished and slayed. Pythagoras, upon discovering the triangle named after him, appeases the gods with a sacrifice of one hundred oxen. Adam and Eve were banished and the people of the tower of Babylon were drowned in the flood because they dared to know or do what only the Gods were allowed. Most of these myths link between the sin against the Gods with a sin against culture, to express both how horrific the sin is. 

Creativity was not feared for nothing. Without the taming of fire we wouldn’t have pollution and nuclear threats, but we would also not have cooking, which enabled cognitive development that stemmed from better caloric availability. The ethics of human creation as a sin against the Gods prevail today with the fear of AI, genomics, and some of these fears are justified for anti-capitalist social reasons, ecology, and fear of Frankenstein and the Golem taking over. But not all of these fears are justified, even though they have been around since the discovery and invention of fire, writing, agriculture, and print, and lately the internet and blockchain technology.

We can call the opposers to human creation Gnostics, after the pre-Christian sect that believed that YAHWE is the demerges, the lower God of creation, the snake of the myth of the Garden of Eden who tempts humans with the creative power of sexuality and knowledge. His Gnostic name is Yaldabaoth, the demiurges who created this world as an act of defiance against his mother Sophia, the higher God, who resided in the harmonic Pleroma, the abode of the Gods.

We can agree with the Gnostics that creation is borne of lack, therefore it speaks disharmony, it puts a dent in the Pleroma, but the conclusion of the Gnostic was that all creation, including childbirth, is a sin. 

We identify with the creationists and not the Gnostics. To be Totemic means to accept our solidarity as non-Gods. The supreme God is only a mythical figure that stands for a non-lacking being that functions as a logical exception to the rule, while all of us are under the rule of being not complete. We have to be creative, adventurous, daring, and yet responsible for the outcome of our discoveries and creations.

Blockchain and NFT can be disastrous as well as steps for human growth. It’s up to us, it’s our responsibility to do good with it. And yet, to deal with Gnostics will probably be our share anyway, like writers of books who faced opposition hundreds of years ago.


Totem Game Development Network 2022