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Journal Thrive

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?’

“Four.”

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

“Four.”

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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Journal Thrive

Why My Heel Turn is Inevitable

At some point there’s going to be a heel turn. There are so many things, and so many people, that I’m fed up with. I’ve been pushed to the very edge of civility, by uncivil people who somehow are allowed to get away with being rude, crude, and willfully ignorant. At some point I’m going to cut loose, and it’s not going to be pretty, and I’m going to end up as the villain of the story.

Some of this springs from a personal theory I call the Transitive Property of Asshole. In pointing out to someone that they are being an asshole, you somehow become the asshole. Understandably, people don’t like being held accountable and lash out. Pointing out that people are being rude is, somehow, even more rude. Whataboutism comes into play at this point, where your own shortcomings and past failures are brought up as if that somehow makes the other person’s action acceptable. Punching a Nazi is treated is if it’s more offensive than being an actual Nazi. I’m pretty sure that, by definition, having issues with people who are against fascism puts you squarely on the side of the fascists.

I just can’t with people any more.

Since tribalism is now firmly established in the United States, I have to be the villain to someone. The whole “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality is so juvenile. If you’re not clearly us, you must be them, and there is no subtlety or nuance, no shades of gray. Anyone not a brand-name Conservative is a Communist. If you’re not a leftist, which include a lot of Democrats in spite of what Republicans think, then you’re a fascist. Those who aren’t Evangelical Christians are Satanists, mic drop, time to hook up with the pool boy. 

So if these are the rules, and I’m going to be a villain to someone no matter what I do, I might as well lean into it.

Of course I’m joking.

At least, that’s my intention. The other day I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to catch a fly. It would not leave me alone, and it was annoying the hell out of me. Rather than swat him, smash him, kill him, I tried to guide him to the nearest open window to guide him out. Why kill him? He’s bring a fly. That’s what he does. I finally managed to trap him under a plastic container lid, took him out onto the patio, and released him.

I said I was going to turn heel. I didn’t say I’d be particularly good at it.

Why My Heel Turn is Inevitable

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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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Journal Thrive

Why I’m Hooked on Korean Street Food YouTube

Currently I’m hooked on Korean street food channels on YouTube. There are tons of them for some reason. Here’s one that’s just 22 minutes of a woman quietly making chive pancakes:

I think this is relaxing. You might think it’s boring. Either way, it’s not self-congratulatory fascists telling lies, people gunning each other down in the street, or self-congratulatory fascists lying about people gunning each other down on the street.

Currently I am still sick. Last night was the third night in a row that I did not sleep well, but at least I’ve stopped throwing up. It’s all stress. My greatest fear is being sent back to the United States, where it’s apparently okay now for militias to act as death squads and gun down people opposed to the current regime.

And there’s the answer to the question…

Why I’m Hooked on Korean Street Food YouTube

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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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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Journal

What Explainer Pages Would You Like to See?

In an attempt to expand the usefulness of the website, I’m planning to add a few “explainer” pages. These will be listed on the menu underneath the “My Story” page, which is also getting an overhaul. Right now I’m planning to have a page each for writer, minimalist, and spoonie that cover what those terms mean to me, how they impact my life, and hopefully links to some essential posts and other online resources.

This is really an attempt to turn things that are subtle and nuanced into easily-digestible labels. Search engines and algorithms want things streamlined and consistent. People want information in soundbites and bullet points. To do some of the things I want to do with this site going forward, I need to do some restructuring and rebranding.

Are there additional pages that you’d like to see? Do I use terms or jargon that you feel could use a reference page? Have I talked about other things that you think should be expanded upon with some sort of anchor page?

What “Explainer” Pages Would You Like to See?

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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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Journal

A Song for Joe: Celebrating the life of Joe Strummer

A Song for Joe: Celebrating the life of Joe Strummer is a fundraiser for independent music venues that are being decimated by COVID-19. It took place yesterday, on what would have been Joe’s 68th birthday. Part of me can’t believe that he’s been going for 18 years already. At the time, news of his death hit me as hard as Bowie’s passing did in 2016. This show was a great way to honor his legacy and lasting impact.

Last night I watched the live stream. Then I immediately watched the playback again from the beginning. As I’m writing this, it’s streaming in the background. If you have no idea who Joe Strummer is, or why he continues to be important, you need to take a couple of hours. Listen to some great music by amazing artists and learn.

“This is not a time to be dismayed, this is punk rock time. This is what Joe Strummer trained you for.”

– Henry Rollins, Joe Rogan Experience, 11 February 2019

This was a message that I needed to hear this week. It resonates along with the Søren Kierkegaard quote currently making the rounds, “Faith sees best in the dark”. When there seems to be no reason for hope, we somehow find a way to carry on. The worse a situation gets, the more clear our necessary course of action becomes. We need to fight, however we can, with whatever means we can, on whatever level we can.

I don’t know if A Song For Joe is only going to be up for a limited time, or if they’ll keep it on YouTube forever. Check it out as soon as possible. Keep fighting the fight, and help keep independent music alove.