A child in Singapore with a neighbor who is cultivating a Japanese garden is a rarity, although I was too.
In Singapore, a small island nation, land is scarce and more than 80 percent of the population lives in simple high-rises without balconies, let alone gardens. So from the outset, the value of scarcity has been ingrained in Singaporeans and probably a major reason Bitcoin adoption is high and the regulations there non-restrictive. Growing up and learning about Japanese gardens, I got an extra appreciation for Bitcoin.
At the heart of the Japanese garden is the principle of reflection on nature. The garden is not made to look pretty, but rather is intended to blend in with the environment and be soothing and even soothing to the visitor – just as nature does not overwhelm but rather pleases. For my neighbor, taking care of his garden was a labor of love – never ending, never complete – that kept him busy mentally and physically. Even when persuaded to sell his house and garden for high Singapore prices, he wouldn’t let go. His small Japanese garden in a bustling metropolis was part of something bigger, worth taking care of into old age and not money.
This feeling of being part of something bigger is something that I, and probably many reading this, experienced while involved with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the future of money and money is elementary in our world. Money is human by nature, it connects us and allows us to trade and work together – it allows us to grow. As with a Japanese garden, the work on Bitcoin never ends. Being bogged down in the intricacies of everyday work and life, it’s easy to lose sight of this grand vision of new money, but it’s important to remember from time to time. Like a garden embedded in its environment, Bitcoin is embedded in the world as part of something bigger.
But this isn’t the only parallel between Bitcoin and the art of Japanese gardening.
When caring for a Japanese garden, the process and tools are essential as they enable the gardener to realize their vision and execute their efforts as carefully as possible. A gardener would very consciously decide what changes to make to his garden and what tools to use to further improve it, without negatively affecting the existing scenes. The small river bed may need to be cleaned, the sand forked, and stones placed to complement a new river bend. Improving the landscape without destroying existing structures, planting trees to provide shade within a few years is part of the art of gardening, allowing the current version to be enjoyable while working on an even better future version.
The similarities with the development of Bitcoin are clear. In order for Bitcoin to allow users to preserve their wealth, it is imperative that developers use the right tools to further develop the protocol and painstakingly decide, as a community, on meaningful features to implement. A thoughtful, continuous approach to careful leaning towards the code base is needed, rather than the short-sighted, “quick-and-break things” approach that is common in Silicon Valley and other cryptocurrency projects.
Reviewing changes becomes more important than developing new features, ensuring backward compatibility is essential for the ecosystem to thrive. Building tools for developers to work more efficiently and design better user experiences becomes just as important as direct protocol development, all with the common goal of a better monetary future.
And then there is the discovery function. Small Japanese gardens like my neighbor’s are viewed from a particular vantage point, a veranda or patch of grass, from which the whole garden is contemplated as a zen-like experience. There are larger gardens to discover, such as the official Japanese garden in Singapore. It is large in size and needs to be walked, ideally slowly, to notice all the details as the garden wraps before your very eyes so you can enjoy the tranquility all around you.
Bitcoin is clearly a garden of discovery, not to be caught at a glance. Anyone who has fallen down the rabbit hole will remember the moments of excitement, or even relief, when a new piece of the puzzle fell into place. For me it was the difficulty adjustment, for others it might have been the hard cap or running your first full node.
Whatever it is, I offer you to open your perspective and see Bitcoin from a different perspective when things might seem off track – take a step back and think of a Japanese garden. Bitcoin must be observed and cared for in order to achieve its purpose. There is a lot of work to be done and many setbacks to overcome. But in a world that has seemingly gone crazy, Bitcoin can be a place of peace and hope, a hermit of the world that allows us to build something better. Bitcoin can be a Japanese garden – for me it is too.
This is a guest post from Polylunar. The views expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.