Hedgehogs Unite! is
an amalgamation of my thoughts as they pertain to anime an anime blog/aniblog. It’s my first experience with blogging, so I don’t expect it to be very good right now, but as the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, my mission is to publish daily content that people enjoy reading.
Why “Hedgehogs Unite!”?
My favorite anime, and the one that showed me there was more to this medium than otaku wish-fulfillment moecrap, is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Eva appealed to me because the director, Hideki Anno, deliberately integrated psychoanalytic and philosophical concepts into standard mecha fare and in the process created a brilliant piece of meta-commentary on the entire anime industry. Eva also introduced me to the concept of the “Hedgehog’s Dilemma”:
“In Parerga und Paralipomena, published in 1851, Arthur Schopenhauer created a parable about the dilemma faced by porcupines in cold weather. He described a “company of porcupines” who “crowded themselves very close together one cold winter’s day so as to profit by one another’s warmth and so save themselves from being frozen to death. But soon they felt one another’s quills, which induced them to separate again.” And so on. The porcupines were “driven backwards and forwards from one trouble to the other,” until they found “a mean distance at which they could most tolerably exist.”
Schopenhauer’s tale was later quoted by Freud in a footnote to his 1921 essay Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, where it was invoked to illustrate what Freud called the “sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility” adhering to any long-lasting human relationship. Freud’s entire corpus is haunted by questions of intimacy: How much is too much? What degree of intimacy is necessary for our survival? How can we simultaneously crave and repel intimacy—especially from those with whom we find ourselves in some kind of intermittently repulsive, inconceivably intimate embrace to begin with? One could say that the dilemma of the porcupine, as rendered by Schopenhauer, is the Freudian relationship problematic as such. ”-The Porcupine Illusion, by George Prochnik
In Evangelion, the story is told to the protagonist, Shinji Ikari, as he struggles to form meaningful relationships with his colleagues. In starting this blog, I made a conscious decision to shoulder on some of the pain–with every post there is always some element of fear: of rejection, of being irrelevant, of simply being wrong–so that, by sharing a part of me with the world, others can find that warmth in knowing that someone out there feels the same way they do, or thinks about the same things they do. To solve the dilemma, we hedgehogs must unite. The bristling of human souls certainly hurts, but the warmth that comes from human empathy and connection is well worth the pain.