Hedgehog or the Fox – I am Happy to be the Hedgehog

A dear friend of mine commented that it was impressive that I found different ways to say the same thing in my blogs. She meant it as a compliment. It was a compliment that sort of made me self-conscious about all that I write about.

When I look back at my writing, I do realize that I start from different places, juggle disparate ideas but always end at one ‘all unifying’ theme – – the supremacy of the Lord, His Word and His Work. In fact, I think this started very early in my life. I clearly remember the comments of some of my friends during my college days, that I took everything and turned it into something about God. Later on, I came to know from some a friend that my  tying everything back to matters that have to do with God was pissing off some folks in our class. I toned  down my expositions, but now with the blogs I feel free.

As I thought about this further, I realized the reason why I always tied everything back to God is because I can’t help it. It is the one thing that makes me passionate. There was a time when I was sharing my thought about God in emails to people and one of my good friends suggested that I start a blog in stead of bothering people with emails. So I start blogging in addition to bothering people with emails about my thoughts on God.

On the other hand, this realization that all my posts almost have monolithic themes made me feel like I was dumb. There was a point at which I started wondering if I should rather just stop writing and do something more worth my while. That was when I came across a part of Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’. The ancient Greek Poet Archilocus said, “a fox knows many things, a hedgehog knows one big thing”. Thinkers have historically fallen under two categories – Universalists and the Paticularists. Universalists come from the Platonic school of thinking in which they are always trying to synthesis ideas to bring it up to one BIG universal idea. Paticularists follow the Aristotelian way of thinking in that they allow the paticulars to remain as they are, categorize them separately, instead of trying to find the Universal idea that ties them together.

Berlin goes on to say that by this classification, Shakespeare was a fox and Dostoevsky is a hedgehog. Shakespeare let things be as they are, was content explaining them as they are without any need to find a metaphysical unity. On the other hand Dostoevsky was always trying to point to something high up above, trying to say there was more to it than met the eye. Shakespeare’s work is like a masterful painting. Dostoevsky’s is like a towering peak that one had to climb to have the panoramic view of the world from this higher vantage point.

So this meant that I don’t have to be apologetic that almost all my posts have one central theme. Foxes have their place. Hedgehogs have theirs. If I am to be a Hedgehog, I’ll be happy to be the Hedgehog. I’ll continue writing about the central theme of supremacy of the Lord, His Word and His Work!

Author: Emmanuel R Paulpeter

I am a writer, spiritual director, life coach and a Church Planter who love all things pop culture, theology and spirituality.

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