I’ve been watching Seinfeld reruns on Netflix. The Master Of Your Domain episode is regularly on the must-watch lists. It’s pretty funny. The Seinfeld ‘Master of Your Domain’ theme is a degree or two different from self-sovereignty’s ‘Master of your Domain’. The former is being in control of your self-pleasuring desires and the latter is being in control of your total being. Being master of your domain sounds pretty good in the context of being in complete control of your self. But it also sounds pretty scary. You are in control of you. You make the decisions that affect your life. It is high risk/high reward. There is no one to fall back on in case of failure (unless you build those fall-backs). You aren’t giving that power to someone else that you trust is going to treat you as you expect/want/need… Or lose that trust with that third party and lock you out of your checking account based on your beliefs and habits, or judge you on how you spend your time and money. It happens everyday to regular people. And our human history has conditioned us to put our faith in 3rd parties even if they fail us. It’s a hard habit to break. But break we must to become self-sovereign.
What is Self-Sovereignty and why should you care? Sadly, the dictionaries out there in the world do not define self-sovereignty very well. You are left to piece together what you can. Merriem-Webster says sovereignty is 1) unlimited power over a country, 2) a country’s independent authority and the right to govern itself. In another section of its definitions, it does state ‘one that is sovereign’. Nothing stands out for what I am looking for until I see the synonyms of autonomy, freedom, independence, liberty, self-determination, and self-governance. Those are very good words.
Dictionary.com provides us with the state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority. But then it flows back towards sovereign state, political unit or royalty. I find that definition to be shortsighted and lacking.
Wikipedia (while speaking of sovereign states) does speak of sovereignty assigned to the person or body.
Self-Sovereignty is the concept that you as an individual are the supreme authority of your self. No one else. You choose how your life is run. You choose how you spend your money. You control where your money is kept. You control your speech. You control your social media. You control your document and picture storage. You control your instant messaging. You control your password protection. Self-Sovereignty does not mean anarchy. It does not mean lawlessness. It takes mankind back to a time when they were beholden to themselves to accomplish their goals. And not to be constantly surveiled by the government where elitists decide how the people will be governed and taxed.
Why does this matter? Because there are overwhelming numbers of governments, NGO’s, private entities, corporations, and people who want to control you and your behavior for their benefit – not yours. All of these entities may (or may not) believe they are acting in your best interest. But you have given your control over to a 3rd party. A 3rd party that has its own goals, drives, assets, interests, affiliations that may not align with yours. And if those divergent paths cross, their control over you will be known immediately as they attempt to shut down your own goals, drives, assets, interests and affiliations through whatever means of control they have over you.
But this won’t happen to me… is similar to the I have nothing to hide argument. It happens. It happens more than you know or realize. Americans may think this more than others based on its relatively stable history compared to a lot of the rest of the world but it happens in the U.S. too. Take a look at some example industries and government policies…
- Banks will arbitrarily stop you from accessing your money or sending it to someone else. There are a myriad of stories of long-wait times (days and weeks) to transfer funds; or outright declining to cash a high-dollar check; or even to heavily scrutinize a completely valid deposit. Or how about the banks re-organizing transactions from high to low to maximize overdraft fees. Even the banking industry knows that people hate banks.
- Devaluation of currencies due to inflation or actual lowering valuations by fiat (law) have occurred all over the world. In post war Germany in the 1920’s, they were saddled with hyper inflation of the Weimar currency being printed at 800 billion notes PER DAY inflating prices to 40 times what they were before the war. More recently. Venezuela is experiencing hyperinflation to the tune of 80,000% and printed 1,000,000 bolivar notes worth $0.53US in March 2021. There are so many of these Bolivar notes, that a group at the BitConf 2021 in Miami, was throwing bundles of these bills in the trash. The U.S. has devalued its currency numerous times through manipulation of the price of gold (ie- in 1933/4, the U.S. set gold to $35/oz devaluing the currency by 70%); to printing billions of dollars to buy its own treasury notes (this is called QE) and prop up the economy. Turkey is dealing with it right now (December 2021).
- Twitter is constantly blocking people of various backgrounds arbitrarily. Facebook does the same. Just because you haven’t been blocked doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. People change roles and rules change with them. New management means new rules. You might not be on the “right” side when it happens. This is why free speech rights are so important to everyone. You may not agree with what some group says, but they also can’t block you from stating your own beliefs.
- The major corporations that hold your data use your data to make money. They scan your data looking for data points to sell to marketers for targeted ad placement. It’s your data, keep it private. Not only do they scan it to make money but they will also scan it in the guise of keeping us safe.
- Centralized 3rd party password managers get hacked. The data is then placed out there in the internet and sold to the highest bidder. This is a break in the trust that you have given a 3rd party to protect you.
How do we fix this situation we are in and become self-sovereign?
Start by cherishing and building on your privacy and freedom. This means break away from the 20th century fiat thinking and embrace the digital age of the 21st century. Then opt out of the fiat $ system as much as possible.
**I get asked what fiat is regularly – it is by decree – it means that government legitimizes money by legalizing it (by stating by legal fiat that their money is legal-tender), so my use of fiat means the currency in use world-wide right now (the US dollar, the Euro, the Pound, etc…). **
Get educated – read, read, read. For learning about money, start with Layered Money by Nik Bhatia; follow that up with The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous. Opt out of the fiat banking system as much as possible and buy bitcoin. Use the bitcoin over time to borrow against for major buys instead of loans from a traditional bank. Take personal responsibility in maintaining your passwords, your money, your digital life; use tools that promote self-sovereignty such as the personal server, the Start9 Embassy. A personal server is a computer that dedicates itself to serving data to you (your passwords, your files, your money, your social network communications, etc…). Transition off the data aggregator platforms of Google (Gmail), FaceBook, and others and use self-hosted or open-source software.
Getting a start9 Embassy is probably the leading thing you can do to get off a lot of centralized platforms. It hosts Bitcoin Core and Lightning Network for financial management, Matrix Synapse instant messaging (one of my favorite tools), VaultWarden (previously BitWarden RS) password management, Photo View (organize and share photos), File Browser (cloud data storage), Mastodon social network server, among others… More tools are being introduced by a dedicated group of employees and volunteer contributors regularly. Going deeper down the rabbit hole entails getting a mobile phone with a privacy enabled operating system, getting off that Windows based PC for an open-source Linux system, yikes – so much we can do that I’ll explore.
Self-sovereignty covers almost every aspect of your life. You just have to reach out and grab it and implement it.
Here’s to your self-sovereignty adventure!
If you have any feedback or would have an idea for me to explore and write about – please reach out. I’ll flesh out a few of the topics I list above on how to break away from the current fiat system and use good, stable alternatives
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