Editor’s note: At the beginning of this year, GME retail accounts were short of Wall Street, and the zoo frenzy triggered by Musk in the cryptocurrency market in March is incomprehensible for rational value investors. After witnessing all this, the author made a more in-depth analysis of the Meme that caused these phenomena. This article mainly introduces the origin of Meme, and draws the conclusion that “who has the greatest influence has the truth”, which has been verified many times in the current cryptocurrency market, and brings us “everything is Meme” perspective.
“What is truth?”
For many people, the ideal truth is absolute: for example, the earth revolves around the sun, and gravity pulls the object toward the center of the earth. There is an absolute yardstick to measure what is true and what is not true, which will make our behavior have a clear cornerstone. Truth is what economists call an “empirical statement”: a statement that can be proved to be true or untrue through experience.
Of course, at the “individual” level, everyone has the right to make some arguments that can neither be proven nor refuted, that is, this argument is “normative” and its validity cannot be fully tested.
Editor’s note: Empirical Statement: Statement of the objective state of reality, focusing on describing “what”; Normative statement: Statement of the state of things should be, including subjective value judgments, focusing on describing “how”.
Historically, opinions still belong to a large extent in the category of individuals. For everything else, the definition of truth is completely controlled by authority: the government, mainstream media, and other organizations that are affiliated or controlled by the state. All the information about objective events that people need to know comes from these classic sources of truth.
Then, Meme appeared: these concise, witty pieces of information, people can easily understand. Memes come in different forms: we know that they are mainly pictures that can be generated in a few minutes on imgflip.com, but they can be anything, from short mantras (such as “drain the swamp!” or “fully autonomous driving”) To longer statements (such as “Only when the tide goes down, you will find who is swimming naked”) to a variety of ideologies, some of which can be quite unpleasant.
Editor’s note: meme (/miːm/) Chinese pronunciation fan, the more recognized Chinese translation is “Meme”, which was first proposed by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene” ; “Drain the swamp” is a phrase commonly used by European and American politicians; “fully autonomous driving” is Tesla’s main narrative; “only when the tide…swimming naked” is a famous saying by Warren Buffett.
In a way, Meme is rough and simple-for example, the image of a cute smiling dog, the dirty swamp that needs to be cleaned up, or the ugly sight of naked swimmers are what makes the message so easy to understand. They may be oversimplified, but the information they convey is definitely much more effective than 60 pages of academic publications and another 12 pages of references and peer reviews, and they are viral.
However, Meme is powerful: widely distributed personal communication devices allow “personal subjective” opinions to become mainstream. Many things that were originally in the realm of “truth” (testable and verifiable) will now be more and more expressed as “opinions.”
By observing Ben Hunt’s use of Epsilon’s theory to analyze news work, we can see how topics like “Yeah, capitalism!” or “Yeah, value!” shape our perception of reality. Yes, even at the highest levels of government and enterprises, Meme is used a lot-intentionally or unintentionally.
Editor’s note: The core point of Epsilon’s theory is that the key to market games is narrative and the power to create public statements of common sense. Interested readers can go to https://www.epsilontheory.com/epsilon-theory-manifesto/ to learn more
The result: With an audience, Meme masters can define a kind of truth and reality for their followers. Everyone now has their own truth.
This is where things get tricky.
The first Meme master
As of the time of writing, Elon Musk has 55.4 million Twitter followers, and he is arguably the top Meme master today. At the level of creating faith for his followers, Musk is also unparalleled. But contrary to public opinion, Meme is not a “modern” phenomenon, they are very old.
In order to quickly understand the power of Meme, we need to go back to the 15th century and look at the owner of the first Meme-a man named Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Few people have heard of him. His close friend Martin Luther would be a more familiar name.
The printing press was just invented in the 15th century. Before that, all texts—including religious, political, or other—have to be copied by hand by those (a few) who can write, and stored as precious works of art. In the libraries of monasteries and palaces, only the nobles can obtain knowledge and information. For ordinary people, life is almost static, and truth is what the ruler or the church tells you. So although it seems weird today, becoming a pastor was one of the best ways to improve your social status at the time: not only could you receive education, but because the Roman Catholic Church was the highest political authority in Europe, pastors might also get bigger Power and influence.
Martin Luther is a German theology professor and pastor. He wrote a thesis against the church’s practice of selling full indulgences in exchange for cash, challenging the theological basis of this practice. He sent this essay to his archbishop in 1517, which later became known as the “Nine-Five Theses.” According to legend, ninety-five theses were nailed to the door of the Church of All Saints in Wittenberg. Of course, whether this statement is true or a beautification of history, we don’t know.
What we know is that because Johannes Gutenberg (Johannes Gutenberg) invented the printing press in the early 14th century, it was regarded as heresy by the Vatican, the highest authority at the time, and the printed matter quickly spread throughout Europe. Spread from the mainland, the German copy translated from Latin into spoken language spread throughout Germany in early 1518, and reached France, England, and Italy in 1519.
According to medieval standards, this is the best manifestation of virality. However, it is not the words that make these information and ideas viral—it is the images produced by it. Just like now, a complex idea is encapsulated in a Meme, simplifying the process of being understood and consumed.
It is these Memes that carry the effectiveness of information transmission and challenge what was established as universal truth at the time: the inerrancy of the Holy See, and the absolute monopoly of truth by the nobility and the church.
Here, we met perhaps the first Meme master in the world.
The most famous picture is this, now called “The Pope’s Beauty”, is a woodcut (used for large-scale Printing), showing farmers farting on the Pope and showing them their “beautiful beauty”.
This text is roughly translated as follows:
“The Pope: Our verdict is worthy of awe, even if it may be unfair.
(Farmer’s) Response: Be cursed! Angry race, look at my ass! ”
Although they may be rough, images etched on wood like this allow them to be copied and printed on printing presses across the continent and spread with the greatest viral effect. The rest, as people say, is history: the printing press created communication, Meme created understanding, and only a message that resonates with the masses can trigger one of the largest political and social revolutions in history.
(Update on May 21, 2021: This also shows that the most effective counterattack against a Meme is another Meme)
In this case, Meme art can be said to have existed for centuries, and it has been continuously developing in different stages of technological development-especially the technology of information distribution and dissemination.
The difference is that this time, Meme is not only ubiquitous, but they have also entered certain parts of society, sometimes without even realizing that they are using Meme. Some memes are joking, but the deepest are those that don’t even look like Meme: from provocative propaganda to belief systems and stereotypes.
In the past, the ability to control narrative (and most Memes) was limited to mainstream media, so the media was called the “fourth level” (after the traditional three levels of clergy, nobility, and bourgeoisie), but now almost any Everyone can have a chance to gain an audience. Thanks to the Internet, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and even 4chan, and the Meme skills at their fingertips, influential people can easily shape public opinion around almost any topic.
In the beginning it was just clicking the bait material, now it has the ability to reshape the truth. From the echo chamber of political views to investment philosophy, the proliferation of Meme is creating a world with multiple versions of truth-so many that there is not even a clear definition of what is “truth”.
For example, is Bitcoin a “dirty currency”? This is not the case, but when “Bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than many countries in the world” is repeated enough times in the media (especially in the Financial Times), Bitcoin becomes “dirty” “It’s. The facts are secondary. From “draining the swamp” to “making mankind a space civilization” (while spending Dogecoin on Mars?), it has become increasingly obvious that whoever controls the most audience defines the most truth–even a statement Obviously falsifiable. And because their voice is greater than the voice of the “other party” who can respond, they can always win arguments.
Editor’s note: “Making mankind into aerospace civilization” is the main narrative of SpaceX, another Musk company
In the field of financial markets, Meme has also rewritten the rules.
A long time ago, the truth (of the capital market) was looking for value: when we understand the intrinsic value of a company’s equity or debt, we can determine the value of the company, and thus can judge whether the company is overvalued or undervalued. Techniques and methods for calculating value came into being, and college courses and textbooks were written for students seeking to learn these techniques.
The important thing is that everyone in the past agreed with the same standard of truth, that is, “fundamental value.” Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. And for anyone who believes that value is still the truth (or that it should be), things can become disappointing.
We have already written about how the market structure gives life to the market (https://threebody.capital/blog/2020/11/13/self-driving-markets): hedged by traders, passive liquidity and the difference between the two All influence. Flow is the result, and behind these flows, the “value” Meme is being replaced by other Meme: saving the world, moving to Mars, climate change, even just a cute dog, and these memes are peddled by anyone: from Meme master , To scammers and their followers, even the government, regulators and established order.
Everyone is playing Meme games now. Maybe value will return (“Yes, value!”), maybe not, maybe only temporarily. No matter what it is, “value” is only part of the Meme game, not the game itself.
This is our new reality. In order to thrive, we also need to play Meme games.
Because if we sit on Meme and start without seeing it, then we are Meme.
Everything is just a Meme.
But few people understand.
Editor’s note: This article has repeatedly seen the author’s self-deprecating as a value investor and his mockery of Musk. The author of this article seems to believe that in the current market environment, the importance of value investing is waning. But we believe that from the point of view of value investing, the madness of the short-term market will not affect the long-term value of stocks or cryptocurrencies. Value investing is based on human rationality. And we believe that the current cryptocurrency market may still be in the era before Benjamin Graham published the book “Securities Analysis”: many individual investors and even some institutional investors still don’t know how to evaluate cryptocurrencies. Value. As the cryptocurrency market gradually matures, the concept of value investment may become more popular.
Original title: “Everything is a meme”
Author: Threebody Capital
Translator & Editor’s Note: Mint Ventures Li Yuxuan
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/understand-the-behind-the-meme-frenzy-influence-is-the-truth/
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