Wednesday, February 01, 2006

In Praise of the Hedgehog

After reading my first Hedgehog post, Tobie accused me of being to hard on hedgehogs. She wrote:

While I'm pretty sure that I myself am a fox, I think that hedgehogs have a few more good points than you seem to think. I feel like most of the idealists of the world are the hedgehogs type- those who feel as if the world ought to conform to certain ideals (like equality, for example) and do their best to make that a reality. Idealism, especially forceful idealism, is a frightening and powerful force, but don't you think that idealists have contributed to the world in addition to damaging it?

It is the idealist hedgehog that makes progress possible. In the grand scheme of things, foxes are sceptics, naysayers, reactors and not initiators. It is the ability of the idealist to captivate us, to motivate us to do things though they seem impossible, even if it ultimately results in failure - this is our most human trait.

This ties back to the idea of my previous post. It seems like what would be ideal is a cross-breed combination fox and hedgehog, a foxhog that has the best qualities of both extremes. The coexistence of two dualistic aspects of life, or actually more of a give and take, a push and pull (hint - read up on your Hegel for the next post to see where this is headed). The bond between belief and unbelief, or maybe even Good and Evil.


Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

I think most people ARE somewhere in the middle... And I think, we also need polars, because the truth comes out through this tension between the hedgehogs and the foxes, in the argument.

February 01, 2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Actually, I don't know what you mean by "somewhere in the middle". I interpret it to mean someone who alternates between the two extremes.

Like Kipling said:

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too

February 01, 2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

No, no, what I mean is someone who is a little of both, and is able to to find a middle path between the two extremes of hopeless idealism and being a retrograde.

February 01, 2006 9:57 PM  

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