The philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously outlines a distinction between two types of thinkers: individuals who know many different things, chase after many different interests and tasks (whom he characterizes as “foxes”); and individuals who know and pursue essentially one big thing (whom he calls “hedgehogs”).
Many people erroneously believe that interdisciplinary studies majors are hopelessly fox-like, too spread out, bereft of a unified vision. But having many different interests, being “spread out,” is just one aspect of a true interdisciplinarian. We do value the cunning, curiosity, and energy of the fox, but we also are at great pains to connect everything to an overarching idea. In this regard we are distinctively like the hedgehog. Especially with respect to the Christian brand of our interdisciplinarity at NGU, we wish to see how all things connect back to God, who is sovereign and all-knowing.
We therefore take a decidedly holistic approach to Gospel truth, i.e., that the euangelion speaks to all aspects of life and culture. It’s up to us to make all the connections entailed by this amazing fact; hence we need integrators, people who are trained to see and capitalize upon the connecting threads. So, yes, we look at ourselves as sort of “hyper-pioneer” types—restless, expansive, original—but we are ever-cognizant of our need for a center, a place of rest (even intellectually speaking), and we locate that place of rest in the heart-home we have with Jesus, who never changes as far as His truth, justice, and love are concerned. Oh, and by the way, recent and diverse studies show that interdisciplinary studies majors--whether foxes, hedgehogs, or perhaps “hedgefoxes”--are better prepared for today’s global culture!