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WHY A NAKED HEDGEHOG IS SO IMPORTANT TO EDUCATION

I n 1851 a German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, formulated the ‘Porcupine Problem’ (also known as the ‘Hedgehog’s Dilemma’) - a parable to describe the intricacy of human relationships and intimacy. According to his parable, a number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold night in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse.  Alone, and without the warmth of each other’s company, the porcupines began to freeze, and so, they huddled and dispersed, advanced and retreated, repeating the behaviour over and over, until they discovered that they were safer keeping a short distance away from each other.  Though the porcupines all shared a desire to enjoy the benefits of a close reciprocal relationship to combat the cold, it was not possible, for reasons they could not avoid.   To overcome the dilemma, the porcupines had to find a healthy balance – one which avoided the dangers of extreme closeness and/or distan

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