For What It’s Worth, What if Nothing Had Worth?

There it was, Ash Wednesday and I got a heavenly email: Jesus was following me.

What a nice way to end the day – an email from the friendly no-reply postmaster account at Twitter telling me that my latest disciple is no other than Jesus H. Christ himself. Strange how there is more than one Jesus on Twitter. But I have no doubt that the one following me is the REAL one. (On a side note, Satan is not yet following me. Satan, if you’re out there, I’m calling you out. Consider this a #shoutout. I need balance in my life!)

It is obviously no coincidence that soon after this I had one of the best ideas of my life. Since I’m a selfless, compassionate individual that’s out for the big picture, I will share this idea with my faithful readers, be they followers of the blue mist or not:

I was wondering what would be the next paradigm shift. Cavemen discovered fire and changed the way humans lived. Galileo discovered heliocentrism and changed the way science and physics was understood. The industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century changed the way manufacturing and the economy worked. The invention of computers and advanced networking has changed the way socialization and economics works. What would be next and in what form would it come? I could go into the coming Singularity and what people like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil are saying, but that’s a whole nother post (yes, that’s how we talk in Jersey where “nother” is a word). I could spend a whole day on this website.

My idea, when it happens, may very well be part of the Singularity or the event that kicks it off, I don’t know. But my thoughts – thanks to my aforementioned deus ex machina – are that the next major shift will be in the realm of global socio-economics (again). I predict that within 10 years, all things in the world will instantly lose their worth due to a new quantum-atomic existential technology. No, really…

To understand this, you have to realize what gives things “worth”. It is scarcity. The more scarce a resource or commodity, the more it is worth – the more people will give up their own personal possessions of worth to acquire it. If something is infinitely available, its relative worth drops to 0. What if all things suddenly became infinitely available?

Scanning tunneling microscope image showing the individual atoms making up gold

You might wonder what could cause that? Well, we know all things (ignoring Superstring or M-theory, of course) are made of matter and all matter as we know it is made of 114 different types of atoms composed of a nucleus and electrons spinning around them in various numbers shared in various ways by other nuclei. As humans master our knowledge of things smaller and smaller, why is it a stretch to believe that we won’t some day be able to construct atoms, molecules and therefore matter from the bottom up?

Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before any substance can be mass produced at will, at any quantity with the highest quality. Our only limitation will be the quarks, gluons and other quantum particles making up the nuclei and electrons themselves. And who knows – maybe that won’t be a limitation. Perhaps we will some day harvest extraterrestrial matter from planets, comets or even stars to escape this limitation.

Did I just take this too far? Maybe. But consider the ramifications if everything instantly lost its value: the obvious (jewelry, coins, money), the necessities (food, vehicles, clothes). The only things retaining value would be the human mind…and the machine/technique that allows this technology.

Oh, and the patent that describes it…



About Yorick von Fortinbras

YvF is a writer, musician that stays sane by being creative while navigating the demands of life, looking for those holes where a spark can get through.
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4 Responses to For What It’s Worth, What if Nothing Had Worth?

  1. Really interesting blog today. Gave me a lot to think about!

  2. Pingback: Selena Gomez, Narcissism and the Cache of Life Stories | The Functional Lunatic

  3. meximo70 says:

    that hit my brain so hard my nose is bleeding…has been for 2 days now. i do like your idea of scarcity. I think it may be on a resources level, like water, fossil fuels, food.
    I watched a documentary once that said that China’s economy is doing so well, that incomes over there have boosted in par with the western world. Like the western world, they are begining to eat like westerners. Their diets are consisting of more meats. At the rate their consumption is climbing, we do not have the landmass to produce enough crops to feed this meat source, leave alone our own consumption. It takes 60 acres of corn to produce enough ethonol to power one vehicle for one year.
    All of this uses: fuel, water, land, and “food”. scary thoughts.

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