NFTs as Spiritual Gateways
It’s no secret that most of us spend our lives glued to screens. We dance from platform to platform, with a sneaking suspicion that “social media” is making us feel more alone than ever. Somehow, anonymous platforms such as reddit or our favorite MMO allow us to express ourselves in a deeper way than we can when our names and faces are involved. Many of us identify more with our online avatars than with our own bodies.
If you spent an afternoon in Times Square asking the passersby what their definition of a “disconnected person” is, they’d probably describe someone who spends most of their time plopped on a chair in front of their computer. The irony of this description is clear to see: these screen-devotees are perhaps more interconnected than anyone! Still, it’s not uncommon for an internet junkie to frequent online mediums as a way to escape the sense of lack they feel as a bag of flesh and bones.
The common suggestion for screen-fiends to overcome this sense of lack is beyond a cliché at this point: go outside, get some sun, meet some people. There is some truth to these suggestions, but anyone who has ever been depressed knows how useless – or even harmful – these trite intimations can be. What if there was a way to harness the innate sense of connectivity that the online generations have, and address this epidemic of lack from within the digital realm? What if our love for memes could become a source of deep fulfillment?
No matter what your interests are, chances are there’s a slew of related memes out there. Memes are sources of instant gratification which take very little, if any, effort to consume. Usually, a good meme will cause you to exhale out of your nose in a kind of silent chuckle. You may share it with some friends, but you’ll soon forget about it and move on to the next one. Meme trends come and go like the seasons, and memes that are just a year old can be sources of nostalgia. They feel like inside jokes, even if millions of people are in on them.
If viewed under the conventional lens, memes are an absolute waste of time. They are pure entertainment; rarely do they linger in one’s attention for more than a few seconds. Yet they are addictive – many of us chase that silent chuckle throughout the day, idly scrolling until something good strikes us. If you were asked to describe your favorite meme, chances are you’d sound ridiculous. They cannot be summarized. You have to see them for yourself.
Memes require direct experience. You can tell me all about the plot to Moby Dick, but telling me about the top dank memes of 2020 would be a waste of time. The only way to share them with me is to show them to me. Explaining the inside jokes that go into a meme is also a waste of time – you either get it or you don’t. And if you don’t get it, no matter, just keep scrolling on to the next one.
A Deeper Chuckle
Can memes be used for more than just a fleeting sense of hilarity? The answer is yes. Memes can be used to teach meaningful lessons and provide us deeper insights into ourselves. For this to happen, however, we first need to start to value our memes. Think about it: you are unlikely to garner anything meaningful from a piece of scrap paper that you find on the street. This is equivalent to the memes your aunt shares on Facebook. They are junk memes, to be forgotten as soon as your eyes find another pixel to look at.
But what if the same content was hosted in a gorgeous leather-bound book? You would be much more likely to take your time with it, to let it sink in, to let any deeper meaning reveal itself to you. We’re not talking about printing out and binding your memes (although this can be beautiful) – what we’re interested in is digital sources of meaning and value. There is a way to give memes value, depth, and purpose, and that’s to immortalize them in the blockchain as NFTs.
When you have a valuable meme that is of limited circulation, you cherish it. You give it more than just a spare second. You contemplate it. You let its true nature reveal itself to you. Only then, can its deeper meaning arise. Maybe it’s the holy sage Pepe’s eyes that pierce into your heart, or maybe it’s the deadpan slap of wisdom represented in the meme text. When you realize the value of NFT memes, they will start to share their secrets with you. And this can change your life.
Beyond the Screen
Valuable memes are iconic. These icons represent some form of truth which resonates deep within us. When you have an icon that you love and that brings you joy, simply remembering that such an icon exists can be enough to lift your heart. For those of us that are skeptical of spiritual terminology, the unassuming nature of memes is a perfect way to access the inner world. This is because no one can tell you what a meme does or does not represent. It is all your own.
Ask a Pepe-meme lover what Pepe means to them, and you’ll get a wide range of answers. To some, Pepe represents uplifting humor, to others, cathartic despair. Some discover nothing short of liberation from the grace of this icon. That’s because whatever you put into your favorite meme, you will receive back. The reason for this is that ultimately, you are both the creator and the enjoyer of the meme. Your personality and Pepe’s image have arisen in the same space. Although the NFT will likely be around for much longer than your body, eventually the immutable blockchain will also be silenced and wash back into the Great Ocean from which it came.
Many intellectuals blame meme culture for the prevalence of misery and shortsightedness in today’s youth. They may beg meme lovers to trade their one-liners for hardbound books, but we all know that memes aren’t going anywhere. The truth is that we don’t need fewer memes, we just need better memes. Too many brilliant and wise memes have been lost to eternity because the infrastructure to preserve them wasn’t available. Now, NFT platforms can serve as museums to preserve these fine works of art.
On their own, memes have no power – it is up to us to choose whether to use them for joyful wisdom or for junk food. There is no need to abandon the casual memes we see every day, but we do need to cherish, invest in, and preserve the memes that speak to us deeply. The path forward is simple: find your true meme, offer yourself to it, and discover how joyful life can be when all the world’s a meme.