Take a sharp knife from the cupboard. Stick your thumb out. Cut through the skin on your thumb.
Don’t cut your thumb off. But just enough to bleed. Or maybe instead of a knife use a needle. Puncture your skin. Same result. Penetrate through the epidermis and dermis, and see what comes next.
I’ll tell you what. Blood. Crimson red blood.
When you cut yourself, when you break through the external barrier of skin, you bleed.
When you look around at the people near you, what do you see? You probably see a variety of clothes. You see different colours, different hairstyles, facial expressions, different shapes and sizes.
We all have an external layer of skin. But the most abundant thing that’s really around you is blood. When you stand next to someone, your 5.5 litres of blood is inches away from that person’s 5.5 litres of blood.
Without your circulatory system, without your skin, without your biology, you’d both be giant puddles of blood.
And if you were standing there and the person next to you was lying in their 5.5 litres of blood you’d be shocked. They’d be dead, and you’d be suffering from a significant emotional trauma.
A frozen head of blood
That’s because humans associate blood with trauma. The only time we typically see blood is during a traumatic event. Aside from those horrible events, we never really see it.
But blood is essential to life. Circulation of blood is one of the most important biological functions within the body. The human lifeblood is, blood.
Yet how often do you really think about your blood? How often do you marvel at the biological magic of how it keeps you alive? When was the last time you got on your knees before bedtime, rested your elbows on the edge of the bed, clasped your hands together and said ‘thanks’ to blood?
My guess is never.
Blood and our circulatory system are perhaps the most underappreciated infrastructure in existence. But the import isn’t lost on some.
Marc Quinn is an artist. And he recently created a display for the National Gallery of Australia.
His display was a self-portrait. But not as you would expect.
Marc created a mould of his head. And then using his own blood, he created a cast of his head.
Of course blood is a liquid. So casting a mould of his head required a bit of thought.
To create the self-portrait Marc had to set up a sophisticated deep freeze of his blood, and keep it frozen.
That means his ‘blood cast head’ is connected to a complex freezer system that enables the blood to remain frozen. If you were to switch it off, or open the case holding the cast, it would simply turn into a pool of blood.
As Marc explains,
‘[It is] artwork on life support, its dependent on infrastructure and technology the same way which [people] are. We couldn’t make this film [about the artwork], I couldn’t have come to Australia without all these things we take for granted.’
Quinn’s inspiration is the fact that we take so much of our world for granted. Not just the biological world. But the incredible complexity of our physical world, too.
Think about the lifeblood of our connected world. The internet? No, surprisingly not. The internet is more like the circulatory system carrying bits and bytes around the world.
The lifeblood of our world is electricity. Without electricity the world becomes one great big puddle of nothing. It’s easily the most important utility the world has. No electricity equals no internet. It means no phones. It means no banking system. It means no cryptocurrencies. And soon enough it would also mean no cars.
We are dependent on electricity in the same way our bodies are dependent on blood. But again, it’s not something most people think about. We simply assume it will always be there. We take it for granted, but depend on it to survive.
What else do you take for granted in the world? What about cars, planes and trains. TVs, computers and smartphones. How about the variety of foods you can buy from the supermarket. Or what about the manufacturing processes that go into the clothes you wear.
Do you also think about how the money you earn is created? Where it comes from? Do you know that the zeroes in your online banking aren’t all actually backed by physical money?
Maybe you simply take the financial system for granted? Maybe everyone takes it for granted. After all, the lifeblood of global commerce is money. Without money there’s no global trade.
But taking something for granted doesn’t mean that you have to be dependent on it. Taking money for granted doesn’t mean you are dependent in the same way you are dependent on blood.
Crypto equals survival
In fact now you can be independent of money. And global commerce can operate without the lifeblood of money. It’s a world where digital currency, cryptocurrency, is accepted and used. While technically these may still carry the term money, they’re very different to the money of today.
They’re decentralised, distributed, and do all the things we want out money to do, which it currently can’t.
You can send crypto across borders instantly and with minimal cost. You can use it for payments and accept it as payment in real-time, instant transfer and settlement. You can invest with it, store it, and it won’t depreciate because of inflation. The central bank can’t manipulate it, and the government can’t outlaw it.
Most importantly you can tuck it away, keeping it out of the grubby hands of banks and intermediaries. You can be your own bank.
To many it all still looks like one big scam or Ponzi scheme. But they don’t understand how it’s the new lifeblood of the digital world.
Blood is to human survival as crypto is to digital survival. You already have one. Maybe it’s time to get the other.
Editor, Australian Small-Cap Investigator