Welcome to Herrleklären, a Zaunreiter's unfinished notes on everything. For there is always more to know.
Ivan Illich, with whom I feel a profound sense of intellectual and spiritual kinship, once described himself thus:
I am a hedge-straddler, in German a Zaunreiter, which is also an old word for witch. With one foot, I stand on familiar ground. There, ancestral generations have prayerfully cultivated a garden into whose trees they carefully grafted pagan Greek sprouts. The other foot, dangling on the outside, is weighted down with foreign mud and reeks of odd scents.
I spent most of the first part of my life in a version of that cultivated garden, the groves of the academe to be exact. But now I find myself utterly engrossed by the inscrutable mud and the secrets buried therein.
A former professional knower, then. I turned unprofessional when I realized there are as many ways to know as there are knowledge, and many of those look like weeds to those who remain inside the cultivated garden.
In Herrleklären I seek to collect and share some of what I've gleaned from my explorations, in a shaggy grabbag of reflection, expostulation, quotation, analysis.
What's with the name? Well, it seemed just a bit too much of a coincidence that the German term for “mansplain” is “Herrklären,” a poetic mashup of Herr (Mr.) and erklären (to explain).
If you know me, you know that this Herrle just can’t stop herself from klären-ing just about everything she learns as she learns it. And if you don't know me, I introduce myself and my occasional collaborators here.
Here I entrust to you, dear reader, my notes on my experiences and learnings. But also my notes digesting the insights and experiences of others. And occasionally, notes composed by other minds entirely. For as Walter Shandy discovered in compiling his Tristopedia, no single person can stay on top of such a task.