Contributions to the catalogue of intellectual animals

In the field of intellectual biology, two categories have become widely known due to philosopher Isaiah Berlin: the fox and the hedgehog. The former being the one who pursues “many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle”. Its spiky fellow, on the other way, “relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel — a single, universal, organizing principle […].” in the words of Mr. Berlin.

However, the intellectual fauna is by far much wider. Probably, in one of the missing works from the vulpic Aristotle or the hoggish Darwin, there must be a more comprehensive catalog of the intellectualis animalium. While mole intellectuals don’t dig these lost writings, let me propose some categories with a Bojack Horseman tone.


The Dog

Interested in absolutely everything that calls his attention. Gets excited — even tense, we could say — when the ones surrounding it are excited by some new topic and start to discuss, but gets lost when this collective thrill ends. Its disposition to engage in the most varied activities with all sorts of people is a manner to channel its dispersion, seen by many as versatility. It breaks the protocol in chat situations and pleases almost everyone with its affable and playful manners, but is sufficiently naive to be aware of the ones who dislike him.

The Cat

Possessive with its study themes, hedoesn’t like when people try to approach him. Tolerates, eventually, praising comments about what he does, but if the discussion becomes too vivid and the flattery starts to grow, he flees. Becomes scared with newcomers in his field of work and it takes a while before starting to rub on anyone who seems to be trustworthy. It’s quite hard to distinguish when his comments are aggressive and defensive or if they are just lovely jests that express a real interest in the interlocutor.

The Parrot

Has the quite obvious ability to repeat what the authorities surrounding it say — even if they are not around — , which grants it great admiration. It can’t, however, articulate these scattered sentences in a proper and conscient speech (or squawk). It is seen as an exotic and fun creature which might even know what it’s talking about. For the more versed ones in the field of intellectual biology, the interest in this type doesn’t last long though, as they know this species isn’t capable of anything but parroting.

Some specimens are fitter to large audiences and find a way of life inspired by those old men with barrel organs and a bird. It’s just lovely when they come out of their tiny cages to “peck” motivational messages.

The Tortoise

Never leaves home. Has a rhythm that is so particular it becomes eccentric. It is capable of spending its long life dedicated to a single theme and if presented to something new, it hides. Because of its calm lifestyle and habits, it’s regarded as vulnerable and incapable of leaving its comfort zone. Nevertheless, its density sets it one foot ahead of the hushed and hasty hare intellectual.

And beware! If teased, it bites.

The Kraken

A mythical creature, whose stories are remembered by the ol’ Seawolf intellectuals, who tell of its feats and power. Capable of inspiring fear and admiration, it is said this gargantuan and aggressive creature can even swallow the likewise threatening shark intellectuals. Inhabits the depths of the wisdom ocean and in its rare appearances, it’s rarely seen by common people.


Help me improve this English version. You can check the original in Portuguese here.