Welcome to Trail of the Qilin. The Qilin is the mythical Chinese unicorn which appears in three of the pictures in my banner. Its name is pronounced chi-lin. In Chinese legend, it sometimes appears at the birth or death of great sages and rulers. Trail of the Qilin is a project to explore topics in world history from an inspirational and personal perspective. Here you can find essays and short articles about unusual and interesting people, places, and events but especially about historical issues as they apply to our own lives and societies.
It’s often through our contact with the past that we develop a sense of continuity, connection and direction. History forms our identities, our values and our plans for the future, and we express them by making more history. The past is full of fun and exciting areas, but also many challenging ones. It can be a tool for personal and social transformation, for better, and unfortunately, also for worse. To get the best out of it, we need to use it consciously. The essays on Trail of the Qilin are an exploration in doing so.
Starting in April 2011, I am traveling round the world with my family, and the essays here roughly follow the course of our journey. The meaning of freedom: four voices is the first of these, investigating the concept of freedom from a Transatlantic perspective. Oral testimony and the Tunguska Event was written much earlier, in a more traditionally academic style, and will probably get reworked eventually. Eventually, all of the essays will be accessible from the sidebar, under the heading Explorations. The Curiosities are the more blog-like section of the site. They are short articles about anything particularly striking that I come across, or sometimes about things I made.
For anyone who would like to know more about me or my other activities, I will include a link from this page soon.