I See Four Lights

Today’s post is not a rerun, or an update of an older post. It’s an interlude, so I can explain why I’m taking a more time away from the internet at the moment. I see four lights.

Deadlines, respiratory infection, fascism, ecological disaster, pandemic, sure. All of that. More disturbing to me, though, is the gaslighting, the elevation of conspiracy theories over facts, and the fall of humanity into madness. The things that I have been reading about from trusted, credible sources, some of which never make the mainstream for more than a moment, as disturbing. I see four lights.

This isn’t Orwellian, even allowing for variable definitions of the term. There is no simple juxtaposition claiming one this is in fact it’s opposite; “war is peace”, “freedom is slavery”, and so on. If you want to paint with a broad brush and say that it’s a situation that poses and immediate threat to a free society, sure. I see four lights.

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

“How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’


“And if the Party says that it is not four but five – then how many?”


The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston’s body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O’Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever.

It’s not even Kafkaesque. People think of The Metamorphosis, or horror stemming from a lack of control over surreal and absurd situations. My mind leaps toward The Trial, where the situation seems fabricated specifically to create chaos and confusion. It certainly applies to a certain amount of dehumanization, and a lack of civil rights. Even so, it seems like an organized effort more akin to Orwell’s 1984; there is, somewhere, a point to this abuse. I see four lights.

“They’re talking about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding, anyway. It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”

What I see is downright Lovecraftian. While not on a cosmic scale, it juxtaposes what I know to be true against an unfathomable ignorance. An ignorance that insists that the world operates in a way that goes against all science and reason. That there are people in power to enforce this perspective, and declare that these demonstrably false things are reality, is even more maddening. It makes me question my place in such a world, where I cannot fit in because it does not conform to objective reality. I see four lights.

What this does is create a perpetual state of the unknown. It becomes harder to find factual truth among the propeganda, conspiracy theories, and mass hysteria. Speaking the truth seems to draw the zombie down upon you, like inquisitors falling upon a heretic. You know that this is not how the world works. Yet you are expected to go along with this insanity. I see four lights.

Slowly but inexorably crawling upon my consciousness and rising above every other impression, came a dizzying fear of the unknown; a fear all the greater because I could not analyse it, and seeming to concern a stealthily approaching menace; not death, but some nameless, unheard-of thing inexpressibly more ghastly and abhorrent.

I See Four Lights

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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