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Passions in Poetry

Foxes and Hedgehogs

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Brad
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0 posted 05-05-2003 03:33 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/people/home/idris/Essays/Hedge_n_Fox.htm

quote:
There is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing'. Scholars have differed about the correct interpretation of these dark words, which may mean no more than that the fox, for all his cunning, is defeated by the hedgehog's one defense. But, taken figuratively, the words can be made to yield a sense in which they mark one of the deepest differences which divide writers and thinkers, and, it may be, human beings in general. For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel-a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance-and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related by no moral or aesthetic principle; these last lead lives, perform acts, and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal, their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision. The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes; and without insisting on a rigid classification, we may, without too much fear of contradiction, say that, in this sense, Dante belongs to the first category, Shakespeare to the second; Plato, Lucretius, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Proust are, in varying degrees, hedgehogs; Herodotus, Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Moli?e, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzak, Joyce are foxes.


So which one are you?


[This message has been edited by Brad (05-05-2003 03:36 AM).]

passing shadows
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1 posted 05-05-2003 05:11 AM       View Profile for passing shadows   Email passing shadows   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for passing shadows

whew Brad, I'll be back later for this one...too much information to process right now...good night
morefiah
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2 posted 05-05-2003 10:50 AM       View Profile for morefiah   Email morefiah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for morefiah

Brad how could you? When you post stuff like this, you only painfully remind me of the material that I have not yet read. I agree that this takes some thinking.
Ringo
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3 posted 05-05-2003 06:01 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

I would have to agree with morefiah... topics such as this remind me how inadequate my own education is, and how long I have allowed it to be so.
To answer which I am... I would have to say that I am a Bassett Hound... not fast enough to run after the fox, and not brave enough to chase the hedgehog.

When the morning cries and you don't know why...

Local Rebel
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4 posted 05-05-2003 11:26 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Better yet Brad..... perhaps you should tell us who we are.... eh?  It's obvious to us but another perspective is infinitely more interesting.

BTW -- I think it's more application specific than to assign a blanket definition... does that make me a fox?
Local Parasite
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5 posted 05-05-2003 11:42 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

goldfish
Ron
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6 posted 05-06-2003 12:16 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

http://www.hws.edu/admissions/adm_needtoknow/foxquiz.asp

Brad
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7 posted 05-06-2003 12:32 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Took the test, told me what I already know, I'm a fox. On the other hand, and one of the problems with that test and this distinction is the tendency to value one designation over the other.

Neither is necessarily better than the other. You need both. Foxes need hedgehogs because, as a professor pointed out to me once, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

Temptress
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8 posted 05-06-2003 12:40 AM       View Profile for Temptress   Email Temptress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Temptress

Apologies for intruding on this thread. It looked interesting.



I admit, I took the quiz Ron provided.

It told me I was MORE of a hedgehog. So, I'm assuming it meant I'm a hedgehog with the potential to be a fox.

I'm still not sure I completely understand what being a hedgehog means.

Could someone give me some more information?

Thanks for humoring me for a bit.


You could hurt me with your bare hands. You could hurt me using the sharp edge of what you say. JEWEL

[This message has been edited by Temptress (05-06-2003 12:41 AM).]

Local Rebel
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9 posted 05-06-2003 12:54 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Spoken as only a fox could brad...

Sudhir Iyer
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10 posted 05-06-2003 03:45 AM       View Profile for Sudhir Iyer   Email Sudhir Iyer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sudhir Iyer

foxes and hedgehogs

hedgehogs and foxes

foxhogs and hedges

hedgefox and hogses

fox-e-sand h-edge-hogs
-------------------

DUH and DNA

-------------------
and all those wonderful beings in between

Poet deVine
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11 posted 05-06-2003 04:36 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

more hedgehog than fox

...

So? That and a dollar will get me a cup of coffee. Sigh. Another useless bit of information stuck in the folds of my brain.

**

Thought I'd be testy since this is the Alley and we're supposed to be that way in here!
Brad
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12 posted 05-06-2003 06:17 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It's not useless. It's often a source of potential conflict.

Balladeer
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13 posted 05-06-2003 07:26 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I'm a hedgehog and Brad needs me.....life is good


Temptress, you'll always be a fox to me
Phaedrus
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14 posted 05-06-2003 08:00 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Temptress,

What does being a hedgehog mean?

It depends on who you ask.

Some would say itís that people can be split into two types, foxes who have multiple ideas and views for different situations and hedgehogs who have one all encompassing ideal that fits every situation.

My own view is that this system is inherently flawed, that everyone is both a hedgehog and a fox. I believe that the illusion of a propensity towards one or the other is only evident when viewed in a narrow frame of reference or highlighted by a concentration on specifics.

We are all in essence Foxy Hedgehogs.  

[This message has been edited by Phaedrus (05-06-2003 08:00 PM).]

Temptress
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15 posted 05-06-2003 08:26 PM       View Profile for Temptress   Email Temptress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Temptress

Balladeer,
Thanks..lol..I think.

Phaedrus,
Thanks for the clarification, and I agree with you until someone else changes my mind. lol

You could hurt me with your bare hands. You could hurt me using the sharp edge of what you say. JEWEL

morefiah
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16 posted 05-07-2003 09:40 AM       View Profile for morefiah   Email morefiah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for morefiah

Took the test and it says I am more Fox. Hmmm, always thought of my self as a cool cat... aren't foxes supposed to be canine? Dont tell me I have been a dog all my life!!

I agree with Phaedrus... (makes sense after you've deciphered it)
Ron
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17 posted 05-07-2003 10:54 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Berlin's original intent for the Hedgehog/Fox division was as a tool for literary criticism, and even he admitted it was of limited value. Does an author's body of work revolve around a central theme, as with Dante, or around many different and seemingly unrelated themes, as with Shakespeare? Frankly, I find the contrivance at best useless and at worst insulting. Since a body of work typically spans decades, Hedgehogs have very little room for personal growth before they become foxes. Or do we assume they got their overriding theme exactly right at the beginning of their writing career? Who, among us, thinks today as we did a year ago?

What this world really needs are a few more Owls, men like da Vinci and Newton, who knew one big thing about a great many different things. The Renaissance Man should not perish in an age of specialization.
Brad
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18 posted 05-07-2003 11:32 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

But doesn't it help understand why Michael and Denise simply don't get my continued, from their point of view, nitpicking?

To me, it makes perfect sense. To constrict it to literary criticism is simply to not read the quote I gave.

Local Rebel
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19 posted 05-07-2003 02:28 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Actually Brad -- I've always used this model of personality style that graphs assertiveness as a function of responsiveness and vice-versa http://www.projectmanagement.com/article/1,2462,72964,00.html

This isn't the best discussion of the concept but the quickest/best web page I could find.

You're an anylitical communicative style -- Micheal and Denise are probably expressives or perhaps drivers.

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (05-08-2003 12:22 AM).]

Sunshine
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20 posted 05-07-2003 03:23 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
With a score of 9, you are more fox than hedgehog.

Be a fox.


Kit, we got a foxy smilie anywhere?

Denise
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21 posted 05-07-2003 10:17 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Here is another chart that I found about the different communicative personality styles.
http://www.drbackman.com/communication_styles.htm

I am more a hedgehog than a fox, more an expressive than a driver, and more of a relater than anything else.

Brad, I can see how the different styles could lead to conflict due to not understanding the differences. I also think that differing world views plays as much a part in potential conflict and misunderstanding as personality styles, maybe even more.

I don't think that you nitpick, Brad, and my 'tedious' comment was not directed at you personally, but was rather a result of my frustration at feeling inundated by 'anti' rhetoric, and finally realizing that there is nothing that I can say or do to change anybody's way of thinking (and vice-versa) because the underlying ideologies are worlds apart, so why keep at something that is so futile?

None of us can predict the future or see into the hearts of men. The best that any of us can do is offer our own opinions based on our own ideologies and biases (which can, of course be fun and sometimes enlightening, but rarely, I think, leads to a real change in the way each side basically sees the issues). History can't even have the final decisive word because history is subject to personal and/or national bias.  Only God can really know, and I can be content knowing that.
Balladeer
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22 posted 05-07-2003 10:32 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, Brad, I cannot speak for Denise, but i can for myself. The point I was making in the WMD thread was your nitpicking did not have an honest base but rather your bias taking another avenue.

without consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision.

That is the fox definition but, as far as your feelings of Bush are concerned, you DO try to fit all facts into one unchanging, all-embracing unitary inner vision which is your dislike and distrust for Bush. When asking where the WMDs were, you were not asking to seek knowledge or look for an answer. It was simply another way to say "I don't like and don't trust George Bush" which made it a rather sham entry. Had you said, "I don't trust him and I don't think WMDs were his reason for the invasion....if you do, where are they?", it would have been much nore honest. Your question came across more like a wife saying "What is that lipstick on your collar" or "why are you coming home so late?" or "why are you looking so tired lately?", etc instead of just saying "Are you having an affair?" I would say, as far as your thoughts of Bush are concerned you are 100% hedgehog based on your feelings for him and the various yet constant finger-pointing to whatever subjects are available to justify your opinion. I am certainly not denying your right to feel that way nor do I criticize your bias. We all have biased feelings. I only questioned the, may I say, "nitpicking" way you chose to display it by pretending you were asking a valid question without prejudice.

   I can symphathize with people who think along those lines. They feel strongly that Bush lied to them about the reasons for invading Iraq? Are they right? I honestly don't know. Yes, I believe there are WMDs in Iraq and I believe that Bush believed that also. I cannot honestly say, though, that they may have been his one driving reason for initiating the action....especially not with the history of his father and Hussein. But what has happened? After the liberation of the people, the stories of all the tortures and murders, the uncoverings of so many mass graves, the torture chambers, the general acceptance of the world that it was a good thing that the Iraqi people had been liberated from such a monstrous regime, the reasoning for going there has been pushed on the back burner a little, almost like an "end justifies the means" statement. I think this infuriates the Bush dislikers a bit and their recourse is to claim loudly "Bush lied to us about the reason for going there!" It comes across as a defensive pout almost.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Hopefully I've not said anything in an offensive manner because that is not my intention. Yes, I do "get" your unending nitpicking.....it's because you have one solo purpose in mind...that makes you a HEDGEHOG!!
Brad
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23 posted 05-08-2003 10:40 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Denise,

Good points, more later.

Michael,

Wrong again. You're confusing what I write with what you read, or even what you think, that I write (You're very good at that.)

You simply ignore the other things that interest me. That's not a big deal (I have no interest in golf for example), but don't pretend that I am obsessive about Bush. Don't forget, I don't live there.

Honestly, I just don't think you care about my other interests.

But do you really want to read my problems with Descartes and Locke?

Well maybe if you need a kind of sleeping pill.



As usual, no offense taken.
Balladeer
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24 posted 05-08-2003 10:47 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Brad, I guess there is a difference between what you write and what I read but I don't know how to correct that, unless perhaps eith you can make it clearer to this simple mind or else i can improve my interpretive abilities. I'll try harder at that....

As far as your other interests are concerned, I don't recall seeing them anywhere..maybe they just got by me. I'll pay more attention in the future..

Sandra Locke is in trouble???
 
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