May the Fourth be With You

Odin's newsletter, "The Halvorson Times," is back on its weekly schedule! I chat about joy and shared communities of geekdom, but also delve into the heavy subjects of our time.

May the Fourth be With You
"May The 4th Be With You" by JD Hancock is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Odin's newsletter is back on its weekly schedule!

Today marks one of my favorite holidays, as a celebration of shared geekdom around the world. Star Wars is one of our most powerful cultural myths, a shared identity for millions of people, many of whom come from vastly different backgrounds. It's a time to be silly, to have fun, and to remember the reasons why we're alive: to share joy.

Thoughts from the week

The world can seem pretty bleak sometimes, what with all the terrible things happening. But, as I write this, I'm listening to a program in the library reading room where a circus company throws a little performance for kids: the sound of cheering, of laughter, these are the sounds of the humanity I want to be a part of.

We need to learn how to structure our lives around what is good, what sparks joy (for ourselves and for others). Sometimes, it's hard to know how to feel happiness for ourselves. In those moments, we can almost always work to bring happiness into someone else's life. Imagine a world where everyone actively considers the happiness of those around them and works to create joy?

There are many jobs in the world today that don't do this. Many, many jobs exist that create pain, foster nothing but harm. Jobs that should be about community, safety, and care (like the police) are so often perverted and weaponized against the communities they purport to serve. The same for military forces. People acting in defense against aggression are one thing: people taking joy in death, joy in the dehumanization of the "enemy"... well, that's another.

I'll reiterate something I say a lot: if your job includes harming children, you're on the wrong side of history. It doesn't matter what your grievances are. What generational trauma you've yet to unpack. If you hurt kids, you're part of the dark side. The second you argue otherwise, you may as well be Sith.

I think stories like Star Wars are potent learning tools. Conflict breeds conflict, hate breeds hate, violence breeds violence. Until we can start to recognize these truths, we're going to find ourselves caught within cyclical patterns of recursive pain.

The good news: you have the capacity to change that cycle. Freedom of action, or "free will" is pretty complex, but its actual function is through micro-changes over time. The more of us who make micro-changes, the more concentrated the impact of the change on our society.

Studies have shown that teachers improve primarily through reflection. The ability to view oneself, witness their own actions, is one of the most powerful actors of change and self-betterment. This reflection can happen in any number of forms, from talking with others who you share a strong connection with - really digging into the harder questions of life - to reading books and writing notes. The key is to enter life with a careful eye of curiosity and questioning.

Why do you believe the things you do? Why do you feel strongly about this or that? Are those feelings justified and based on evidence? Are your reactions to those feelings appropriate? Why?

Question everything: every assumption, every truth, every fact and feeling. Build yourself a hall of mirrors and meditate within it on the daily for the express purpose of breaking through the reflections that you might be unconscious of within your life and society. This practice will improve your personal life, and it will make you a potent actor for change in the world.

New articles!

I've got two new articles for you this week.

I love being able to get my content out to you so much faster, and I hope I can keep turning out new articles weekly.

Other updates

I have a new paid subscriber to my newsletter at the patron level of $10/month! That means so much to me because it literally more than covers my hosting costs for both this website and my account.

I want to stress that your support goes directly into helping me create new work in the world, forge new connections, and continue developing a community of real change. I appreciate every cent that you provide. You can always join at my lowest tier of $2.50/month and be sure that your support matters to me immensely.

I continue my job search diligently. I'm hoping very much for a job someplace non-hierarchical, someplace that creates public good. Failing that, I'll take a government or non-profit job that either allows me to gain experience within our bureaucracy, or else concentrates on a really healthy work culture.

The major limiting factor is that I'd really prefer this to be a remote position, so I can spend more time with my people, write more, and manage life with more ease. It's a stiff and deeply dehumanizing process to job hunt, as I'm sure many of you are aware, but I'm trying to hold faith that I will be in the right place at the right time.

And that's all I have for this week's newsletter! Now that I have my new site set up, I hope to be back to my regular Sunday update. I also hope for these updates to be generally on the shorter side, as I'll be attempting to funnel more of my content directly into articles on specific subjects.

Please leave a comment if you have ideas for things you'd like me to cover in these weekly updates! I could include a tip of the week section, for instance. I'd love to have this newsletter and site grow with community contributions of all kinds, so please voice your thoughts!

Until next week, then, friends... go easy! And, if you can't go easy, go as easy as you can.


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