Stephen David Mauldin
6 min readNov 11, 2020


“Zero Money”: First Principles Thinking About Monetary Value

Change the Money, Change the World (6)

Introduction (2) Subjective/Objective Recursion

“… Schopenhauer’s metaphysics isn’t a form of dual-aspect theory, but idealist through and through: it entails both subjective idealism- the physical world of objects in spacetime existing only as images in an individual subject’s consciousness- and objective idealism- the world-in-itself being constituted by volitional experiential states.” — Bernardo Kastrup

Decoding Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics — The key to understanding how it solves the hard problem of consciousness and the paradoxes of quantum mechanics by Bernardo Kastrup

Recursion at registers of subjectivity


Using some structures of set-theory in mathematics to illustrate recursion, I can describe the subjective objective idealistic ontology asserted in this essay. In the beginning was the absolute subjectivity of nature, Consciousness. It was nothing, no thing, not a known thing in objective reality, zero. Zero, in all sets describing registers and recursion, is a placeholder for Consciousness which is consciousness-in-itself as well as Consciousness reflected in individuals experiencing the multiplicity of empirical reality. We can visualize it like this: [0].

We are embarking on a rather complex trip to the topic of monetary value, but it is necessary discussion for establishing how our governance as individuals can debase the monetary medium through devaluation. Individuality is at the register of objectivity, while also being a recursion of the absolute subjectivity of nature. Our own objectivity is meta-cognitive as distinct from perceptual cognition through sense perceptions of objective reality. Indeed, perceptions may be “objective reality”. According to quantum mechanics, there is no other “reality” without our observation. The world we know, and the individuality we know, are both in the field of thought, in the field of objectivity. All thought is known by nature, thought is in absolute Consciousness. It is not that Consciousness contained in thought. That which experiences is not an object of our individual knowledge. This is also an answer to, or actually a contradiction of, “the hard problem of consciousness”. It is meaningless that the “hard problem” is lamented as our having no way to know what it is like to be anyone else. We are all manifested beings in the operation of absolute Consciousness. We can represent Consciousness as an empty set, from our perspective in objectivity, with Consciousness represented with zero as a placeholder of the objectively unknowable: [0].

[[0]] and […,[0]],[0]]

As a first principle, an empty set is to contain elements, so there is at least one element included if there is to be a set. The prime set constituting a recursion is the empty set with another empty set as an element. It looks like this: [[0]]. It is a feature of the prime set of recursion that it allows for addition of new elements that are sub-registers to the register of the prime recursive empty set. Consistently a new element will be a sub-set also including an empty set for further recursion at additional sub-registers. The set theoretical model for discussion of anything (“anything” designated as “…”) is: […,[0]],[0]]. The infinite recursion of zero is the absolute subjectivity of nature, unitary Consciousness.


The absolute subjectivity of nature is that which experiences anything as consciousness-in-itself. This is why I capitalize it “Consciousness”. Consciousness is what experiences: metaphorically, as the ultimate first principle, it is the mother of first principles. The first baby of this mother is the first principle of the potential for absolute subjectivity, Consciousness, knowing multiplicity in Consciousness. For now, we can designate this multiplicity as “M”: [[M,[0]],[0]]. This is a recursive model of Consciousness. You can see in the symbolism that the higher register contains all lower registers — the absolute subjectivity is infinite Consciousness containing a multiplicity of elements, not outside that Consciousness, that are objective elements. Let me clarify this model further by going into this subjective-objective relationship.

Recursion at registers of objectivity


First principles thinking is an inquiry for determining what is irreducibly true by nature. Such reasoning to discover what may be true implies all prior knowledge is considered potentially unfinished. One, if not the primary purpose of such thinking is to discover what novel empirical evidence can be added to a paradigm. The discovery of a new element for the set in consequence means initiation of a new paradigm. For this reason every set contains the empty set to, as it were, receive that novel evidence. The new evidence is added as an additional element in the new paradigm, which continues to feature an empty set. The symbolic structure of the empty set containing as an element another empty set is [[0]]. So as we saw, in the previous section about recursion in subjectivity, the potential of absolute subjectivity of nature to manifest multiplicity into a new set also containing an empty set is [[M,[0]],[0]]. This formulation I use as the illustration for the metaphor of “Zero Money”. To complete the illustration of sound and unsound money, of the potential for positive and negative outcomes in the use of money, I proposed the set of integers. Within the sets of integers, the sets of positive and negative integers, each contains the empty set to encompass the infinite possibilities of outcomes. The set of positive integers in this case of set theory designate degrees of soundness of the medium of money. The set of negative integers designate degrees of unsound money. Remember that evaluation itself is predicated on the first principle of scarcity as a natural phenomenon at the absolute subjective register. Scarcity manifests the value of a money medium at the objective register as being to some magnitude positively or negatively approaching zero. I hope now the set model of “Zero Money” makes sense as we replace the placeholder “M” with a set with subsets: M=[{+1,…[0]},{-1,…[0]}].


Let’s not forget M is the register of objective reality that exists in the register of Consciousness, the absolute subjectivity of nature. So we need to substitute M in the set of Consciousness. Substituting the placeholder set M=[[M,[0]],[0]] in the recursive set of Consciousness C=[…,[0]],[0]] we get the complex but clear logical reasoning: C=[[{+1,…[0]},{-1,…[0]}],[0]],[0]].

That model of Consciousness can be used for analysis of any dualism. It applies to subjective/objective ontology at the highest register and recursively in the case of monetary scarcity/value.

The sovereignty of Consciousness in governance of the value of money

The sovereignty of Consciousness in governance for the true value of money is evidenced by that value being a true epiphenomenon of the phenomenon of scarcity. In the preamble I established I would support a first principles relationship of “Zero Money” to outcomes in objective reality that manifested truth instead of degraded outcomes, to some extent false, in utilizing unsound money rather than sound money. The quality of truth is a natural principle founded on the sovereignty of absolute subjectivity maintained in the operation of Consciousness in objective reality. When this ontological structure is applied as a medium of money is substantiated in the world, it involves absolute subjectivity operating in subsets of registers in objective reality:

Initially, as individuals adopt a medium of money, it is optimally sound money only if it reflects its full natural value from the phenomenon of scarcity. This qualification is a requirement for a money medium adopted at the register of money operating as a unit of account. Then, keeping that sound money at the register of a store of value will optimal for positive outcomes. The medium will generate as positive outcome as possible, no matter what events are underway at the register of money employed as the medium of exchange. Significantly, this theoretical situation is one wherein the absolute sovereignty manifested at the register of objective individual sovereignty is maintaining congruent alignment between subjective and objective value. In that case, regarding the medium of exchange, the marketplace, evaluation of productivity is based on comparison to a stable value for the unit of account. This is the assessment of outcomes: positive or negative outcomes are determined by whether the behavior of individuals has sustained or to some degree degraded the value of the medium. I will clarify this in the next part of my introduction, which describes the process of degradation.

Change the Money (1) Preamble — Monetary value true by nature

Change the Money (5) Introduction (1) — Zero Money & First Principles

Change the Money (7) Introduction (3) Governance and Trustlessness



Stephen David Mauldin

DOB 1946 Retired Counseling Psychology M.S. Consciousness Studies — Interests: Citizen Diplomacy, Digital Currency