Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hedgehog's dilemma

Oh Arthur Schopenhauer, you are always such a laff-riot!

The completed version of JULIA & BUDDY includes this exchange:


Yes! Sometimes I get this sense of - I feel - eternity rushing through me!


Existential displacement is the price of being a philosopher. So too,
loneliness is the price of being a philosopher.


No, please. Don’t say that.


Let me tell you a little story. One cold winter’s day a group of porcupines huddled together for warmth. But they had prickly quills, as porcupines do, and the closer they huddled together, the more they pricked each other. So they move away from one another - but then they grew cold again. And so they came closer, but they pricked each other again. And so it went, back and forth. At last they decided to stay together, but keep a safe distance. That is human society. Only the man who has some heat within himself can remain outside, where he will not prick others and where he will not be pricked.

I took liberties with the original - or rather with an English translation of the original, which I guess you can argue was already taking some necessary liberties.

The original English translation is available on Youtube. The reader is a bit more subdued than I expect the actor doing these lines will be. The parable of the porcupines starts near the end at minute 10:04.

Wow, I've just discovered the life this analogy has gone onto lead, thanks to Freud - it's known as the Hedgehog's dilemma and has its own Wikipedia entry. How is it I've never heard of this before?