This started as a reply on reddit:
Every post is about Gnosis - what is it? ELI5 please
Here’s a bedtime story. It’s intended to be read to children, until they can’t take it anymore and go to sleep.
Knowing for sure, knowing what will happen, and knowing how many people agree with you
A lot of people agree that getting a way to know things for sure, or at least to know who’s with you on this one, who agrees with you, is a nice thing indeed. And it’s a very nice thing to know for sure about the future. Getting a glimpse into one of the futures - can you imagine?..
Some people disagree with that and say that knowing is overrated (don’t bother about this word, I’ll explain later, or wiki-wiki). But those that do agree, call it Knowing in general, with a big one up front; or, for one special way of knowing - Gnosis.
Some folk (let’s call them the Gnosis team) came up with this very new special way of knowing, knowing what will happen in the future even. But it only works if anyone can use it, if only they wish to. I mean, if they agree that it’s a nice thing, then they can use it. If they don’t agree, their opinion doesn’t matter to those who do - that’s what “agree” means.
Confused yet? No?.. Well, here comes the good part. :)
The Gnosis team needed some stuff so they could “make” their Gnosis - to know for sure that they could know for sure in the future. (Yes, fractals, exactly!) Like food, beds, fast internet, same things you do. But they needed to know that they’d have this stuff for a long time, like a couple years, maybe more, and they weren’t a small team.
So, they came up with a fair way to get this stuff right now, from people who think they agree right now, or maybe would agree in the future. They called this new way of getting stuff an Icy-O, and they worked very hard for a long time to make sure, to prove it was fair. They wanted to know for sure that it was fair.
Almost everyone agreed that if it was fair, it could be very nice. But not the other way around: if it was nice, that wouldn’t always mean that it was fair - it could be either.
Medals for everybody
When they heard of this new Icy-O, a lot of people here said that it wasn’t really fair, because it’s not fair to everyone (and you can only be fair when you’re fair to everyone - that’s what fair means). In fact, many said that it wasn’t fair to most, so it wasn’t fair at all. There was even some shouting.
See, many people didn’t care about Gnosis, or its Icy-O, until not that long ago. Maybe before then, the whole thing didn’t seem that important yet, or maybe because they were very busy doing other things.
But the Gnosis team knew for sure by now their Icy-O was fair, or at least they thought so. See, they weren’t using Gnosis for their Icy-O to begin with, since they didn’t have it yet, since they needed the stuff…
(No, the chicken and egg are the same thing.)
… Anyway, the Gnosis team said:
“Here’s the thing we’re going to give to everyone who wants it, and agrees with us that it’s a nice thing. We’ll have it ready in a few years. Here’s how much stuff we’ll need first. It’s not much, and anyone who wants to give some can give as much as they’d like.”
“For all the stuff you give us, we’ll give you a prize, a medal. At the end, we’ll count who gave how much, and the more you gave, the bigger your medal will be. But the earlier you gave, the smaller your medal will be. So, if you gave a little at the beginning, or a lot at the end, your medal would be the same size! We’re happy with you both, and we think this is fair.”
“Oh, and as soon as we get as much stuff as we want, we won’t be taking any more. We’re not greedy.”
“That’s our Icy-O.”
When the time came, the Gnosis team got as much as they wanted in ten minutes, from just a few people who didn’t care about medals in the first place.
Some people just don’t like missing out
If you were talking on the phone, or sleeping, or riding a bicycle from work, you could have missed it. In fact, that’s what happened to most people, one way or another. Luckily, those people didn’t know that they were missing out, so they didn’t really miss out at all.
There were some people, though, that did want to give some stuff in the Icy-O, and did want a medal. (Don’t judge.)
Some of them just wanted a little medal of their own, because they like medals.
Some wanted a big medal for being a hero and barely saving the day.
And some wanted there to be an awful lot of medals, so that a lot of people could say they “did their part, gave some stuff”, and show a medal that said they weren’t greedy.