Facets of a Diamond - Blog

“Perhaps We All Die as Hedgehogs”


Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.


It is said that when drowning your whole life flashes before your eyes. If so, then at that very instant we suddenly Know why we have lived.

Isaiah Berlin,[1] elaborating on Archilochus, the ancient Greek poet, states that foxes who “know many things” are scattered in their thoughts, their motives, their actions. Whereas hedgehogs “know one big thing,” they “relate everything to a single central vision … a single, universal, organizing principle.”

We may have lived our whole lives as foxes, but even so, perhaps at the moment of dying, there comes an illuminating clarity: we have all always been hedgehogs but never knew it.

Perhaps we all die as hedgehogs.


[1] Russian Thinkers (London: Penguin, 1994), p. 22.


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