Philosopher Isaiah Berlin believed that writers and thinkers could be boiled down into two groups - foxes and hedgehogs. In this stratification, foxes know a little about many things, and hedgehogs know a lot about one thing.
At first blush, I regarded myself as a fox. Afterall, I am one of those cursed multi-passionate types that is “yes-anding” her way through life. I want to make art, write, blog, podcast, coach, make books, make movies, and the list goes on. In short, I want to make what I want, when I want, which requires knowing how to do lots of things at a surface level. I dabble in everything from weaving to setting up a website to learning how to make podcasts. The most horrible thing for me is to feel that I am forbidden from learning something new. I really don’t want to be boxed in. This may sound a bit like a symptom of my generation, but I also feel this very deeply in my psyche.
That said, when I took a Fox/Hedgehog quiz, (yes, there is one), I came out pretty heavily as a hedgehog. Overall, I’m a hedgehog in that I deeply believe that creativity is essential to humanity and something which we are all deserving of expressing. I’m a hedgehog in wanting to make everyone a creative productive person, but don’t believe there is just one way to do that. Furthermore, there is not even one way within a human to be a creative productive person.
So, it seems that I am both hedgehog and fox, and maybe all of us are a blend or bounce between the two. It definitely seems like Berlin is a hedgehog in his singular thinking about dividing everyone into one of two camps.
How about you? Are you guided by one central belief or do you see the relativity of everything? OR are you a mixture? Perhaps there needs to be a third animal added to this theory . . . a blend. . . a kangaroo, maybe?
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Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.