Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

About Mark

Editor’s Note (Jan 1, 2017): This about page is quite out of date. For a more recent story on my life and place see: Living in Qingchengshan. For now I’ll leave this about page since it offers a nice archeological point in a past life. Enjoy.

Welcome to my “webbed” space.

I’ve been writing this blog in some form or other since 2007. On multiple occasions, I have sought to try to establish a “theme” for my blog with little success. Philosophy, sociology, web design, cross-cultural experience and understanding, religion and atheism, storytelling, language study, travels and life abroad  (specifically in France and China) and doing tech business in China have all been part of my ever-evolving trains of thought and regularly appear in my writings. I’ve recently taken a stronger bent towards business-related writings as well as self-development and self-tracking.

I am a lay philosopher and indoctrinated foreigner. I stake no claim to authority nor truth. I am human and search for answers humanly in the Nietzschean genealogical tradition of the “art of mistrust” and Husserl’s phenomenological approach. In the spirit of the Islamic Mystic Ibn ul’Arabi’s words, “Deliver us, oh Allah, from the sea of names,” I avoid name dropping and referencing. Saying “according to So-and-So” or “he said that” does not improve human thinking, it is only a technique to makes you seem more informed. I am open to mistakes and thoroughly enjoy criticism and intellectual challenges I am neither guard but simply a guardian of critical thinking

I grew up in the United States and I have lived abroad in France, China and a few other countries since 2005. Apart for readings across multiple disciplines, I have multiple degrees in philosophy and social sciences. I am profient in multiple coding languages and fluent in English, French, Chinese, and Spanish with a blathering of other tongues.

My primary targets of thought are situated in “in-between” places where the certitude of our normalized ways of thinking and our everyday assumptions cease to provide the answer. It’s easy to talk about our homelands when we are at home but once we’ve been abroad, à l’étranger, guowai (国外) or outside of your country you begin to feel all homecomings as fragile. The fragility of our homes and these awkward feelings of our own alienation (as a person and as societies) speak a truth that I hope to call more attention to.

There is no god guarding the light, only us homely humans minding the borderlands.

Mark Koester

Currently somewhere in Asia

PS – If you enjoyed something you read, I’d love to hear from you or read something you’ve written. Please send me your comments and questions to markwkoester at gmail.com.

Previous Blogs / Iterations:

MysticAtheist: Understanding what it means to be “the still point of the turning world”

Reflected Places: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” - Edith Wharton