Brownstone » Articles for Haley Kynefin

Haley Kynefin

Haley Kynefin is a writer and independent social theorist with a background in behavioral psychology. She left academia to pursue her own path integrating the analytical, the artistic and the realm of myth. Her work explores the history and sociocultural dynamics of power.

welcome to the dying earth

Welcome to the Dying Earth 


There are always forces in this world that pull us down into the muck and mire. In our day-to-day pursuit of happiness, desire, entertainment, and survival, it is easy to forget what we have the potential to become. It is easy to get lost in technicalities, in ego trips and in reactionary indignation. If we are the victims of atrocities, it is all the easier to seek our justice in retaliation, viciousness, and brutal revenge. But in a world where everybody sees themselves as the primary and true victim, where does that ultimately leave us?

A Myth-Making Toolkit from the Volcano’s Shadow


Collective consciousness, especially when it spans multiple centuries, carries immense power; but many of us have lost our communal ties and our sense of history. We may have forgotten who our ancestors were and where they came from; we may know little about what they ate, what they believed in, and the rituals they practiced. 

theory of evil

A Unifying Theory of Evil


Many of us can recognize the results of evil intuitively: evil causes vast human suffering; revokes our sense of human dignity; creates an ugly, dystopian, or disharmonic world; destroys beauty and poetry; perpetuates fear, anger, distress and terror; causes torture and bloodshed. Nevertheless, there are always some people who seem to remain ignorant of its presence — or, incredibly, see specific visceral atrocities as justified and even good. 

covidian archetype vs hero

Covidianism Inverts the Heroic Archetype 


The myth of the hero does not teach us to eradicate life’s pains and risks in pursuit of only comfort and safety. That is the doctrine of the animal. Rather, the myth of the hero shows us that it is necessary to embrace suffering and risk in order to experience life’s miracle; and that, for such a transcendent reward — for such excellence — that is a price worth paying. 

death in a nutshell

The Boy Who Trapped Death in a Nut


Life is a messy, risky, and at times lethal adventure, and while it’s perfectly acceptable and in fact compassionate to try to lower this risk to some extent, a complete elimination of all risk would create a dull, lifeless world devoid of conviviality and meaning. The people of Jack’s town are willing to accept some level of pain, sadness and suffering in order to reap the concomitant rewards that come with living life to the fullest.

The Selfish Collective


A truly prosocial approach would not shut out all other goals and insist on one way forward. It would take into account the different priorities and viewpoints of various factions or individuals, approach them with respect, and ask how to best facilitate some sort of harmony among their needs. Instead of prescribing behavior onto others it would advocate for dialogue and open debate, and it would celebrate differences of opinion. 

The Left/Right Divide is Obsolete


This is an existential, mythic moment, during which we have to decide: what forces are we going to allow to shape our identities? Our social infrastructure? Our cultural landscapes? Do we even want them to be changed? If so, in what ways?

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