A note on bear markets

I originally read this to the ShapeShift company in the depths of the 2018-2019 bear market, now seems like a good time to repost this for the DAO:

In low points of the crypto markets like these I am often driven to internally reflect on the concept of time. Time changes so many of our perceptions without us realizing it and for me various price points in the market have become time markers for me in how I think about periods of the past. A long form view of markets are a good representation of how drastically things can change over time, and gets me thinking more about what does this concept of time even mean and what type of affects does it have on us? I certainly do not have the time to delve deep into that subject today, nor do I plan to. Time is a broad concept with a lot of loose ends and tangents hanging off. It can be thought of and conjure up a seemingly limitless number of different things in relation: precious resource, human construct, physical dimension, metaphysics, life, death, perception, quantum mechanics, the “I” of identity, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything in it. All of these are webs of concepts that intersect with and require this oddity yet necessity for our experience of life: “time”. Suffice to say there are a lot of ways to think about time and our own perceptions of it are constantly in flux.

When I find myself in some sort of low point, in the crypto markets or in other facets of life, I like to remind myself of one of my favorite concepts and thought experiments. The thought that in an important sense it could be possible that time is not only linear as we often experience it but also circular. That it could perhaps repeat itself infinitely. My favorite elucidation of this concept is written by Nietzsche and goes like this:

"The greatest weight. – What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!” Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science)

Understanding time in this way, as just repeating back on itself infinitely, can seem paradoxical but holds vital importance in many other forms of thinking about the intersection of markets, meaning, and many things in between. Markets fall very well into this type of thinking, if they are anything they are cyclical, and any of us who have been in this industry for more than a few years has seen these crypto markets repeat these cycles multiple times over the last number of years. The highs of the market would be not be nearly as exciting, interesting, or invigorating without the low points, the valleys and the dips. I remember that as we dive into further lows of the market (though I am no seer and this is not investment advice), and sometime in the future when we re-experience new all time highs and the peak of a new market cycle, it will feel all the sweeter for having gone through this low point and helping built our and the industry’s way out to the next part of the cycle. I wouldn’t take that back for a market that just steadily went up or any other aspect of the market that colors and defines our perceptions, its beautiful in its own bloody way. Now is the time to harden ourselves and build during the lows, so that the highs will be that much better, fruitful, and worthwhile.