CHENNAI : It is natural to have doubts on how to expand something which doesn’t have a physical form. Warhorse, a city-based startup, came up with an idea on how to make people open their minds to question life and society. The good news is, they have an answer now, philosophy.Though they knew that knowing the subject of philosophy is relevant to today’s society, they were sceptical about people’s interest in signing up for a random class. “A couple of months ago, we were teaching kids how to take debates and structure arguments.
That’s where we were fascinated by the subject,” says Bharath Balaji, one of the founding members of Warhorse and one of the master-minds behind Pop Philosophy.“But we wanted to make it fun and engaging. So we mixed it with famous characters and situations from pop culture and built a conversation or a discussion around it,” adds Sidhaanth KD, the other brain of Pop Philosophy.The concept took shape when the team found parallels between pop culture and philosophy. “Our research showed us that every movie we watch, every story we read and every play we enjoy has its own philosophy to tell and that is how we began,” says Sidhaanth.
So what is Pop Philosophy? It’s a workshop which happens every month at Backyard, Adyar. The workshop is a series of mutually exclusive episodes that tackles philosophy’s greatest problems through pop culture. In the workshop, the audience will either be asked to presume to be a famous character from a play, book or movie. You will have to decide on some of the difficult situations the character had taken, and will have to reason it.
“For example, in our last session, we took the movie The Dark Knight (2008). We made the audience become citizens of Gotham and asked them to choose when Joker gives a choice in the movie. Of course, they had to assume that they don’t know what’s going to happen next and then substantiate their choice with convincing explanation,” shares Bharath.
The main idea of the Pop Philosophy team is to make people understand one of Aristotle’s famous philosophy ‘Eudiamonia’, which is roughly translated as living a life worth living. “Philosophy is all about asking questions about your identity, your existance, values, knowledge and so on. What we are trying to do is to make people ask these questions through our discussions, help them reach a middle ground and help them live life better than yesterday,” adds Bharath.
The team is now experimenting on how to make the presentation more interesting by trying out characters from popular culture to take classes on various subjects. “Dumbledore from Harry Potter believed in Universalizability principle just like Velu Naicker from Nayagan — if their actions benefit a large number of people, then it is right. Batman is a deontologist since he plays by a rule book (never kills). So it is all in our culture,” explains Sidhaanth.They are preparing for their next episode titled ‘Nature of philosophy and theory of knowledge’. Meanwhile, they are also exploring the relation between Eastern and Western philosophies.
The next Pop Philosophy will be held in Backyard, Adyar on Dec 17. Registration at `500. For details, call: 8220369507