Hedgehog’s Dilemma

Imagine a group of unprotected hedgehogs in the middle of a cold and snowy winter. First of all, yes, yes it does suck to be them: a keen observation, good sir. But second of all, and more pertinent to their dilemma, if they try to huddle together for warmth… well, they’re hedgehogs, so they shank each other. It’d be kinda like hugging a barbed-wire fence.

Or this guy.

Apparently, some psychologists have compared this anecdote to human relationships. And sadly, I’m not talking about some psych major who lives in his parents’ basement. It was actually Sigmund Freud who carried this idea from philosophy into psychology. Freud… as in, the Mack Daddy of psychology.

"Do I make you horny, baby, yeah, do I?"

The basic premise here is that, the closer two people get to each other in their relationship, the more pain they inflict on each other. In other words, just like the hedgehogs have to sacrifice comfort — that is, the comfort of not being mutilated by a multitude of needles — for warmth, humans have to sacrifice their psychological well-being for a relationship. Worth it?

The German philosopher who thought of the idea didn’t think so. Schopenhauer actually drew the conclusion that, if someone has enough “internal warmth,” they can become a total recluse and avoid all the discomfort that comes from social interaction! I believe the modern term would be “sociopath.” In any case, all I’ll say is… this was a man that must have had a massive right forearm.

And I'm not talking about tennis.

Anyway, this is a great excuse as to why you’re 37 and have never had a girlfriend. I’m sure everyone will believe you.

Or not.

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