Review: Conversations at Coast x Secret Socrates- Schopenhauer’s Porcupines and Tom Ford



Conversations at Coast began again at the quaint Coast Cafe in the blistering Hauz Khas Village with a tie up with Secret Socrates,a philosophy club and a Secret Cinema offshoot based in Delhi hosted by Ogaan’s Aashti Bhartia and Secret Socrates’s Avantika Sujan. An interesting initiative around talks and discussions on the philosophy and appreciation of art and design, the first of the set was about the agonies and ecstasies of intimacy titled ‘Schopenhauer’s Porcupines and Tom Ford’ that shed light on the challenges of human intimacy, complex relationships and confrontation with familiarity.

The enigmatic Schopenhauer’s Porcupines, also known as the ‘hedgehog dilemma’, a notion concerning the challenges and interrogation of human intimacy described a situation in which a group of hedgehogs all aim to become close to each other to keep warm during cold weather, though still have sharp spines and must also prolong to linger distant. So, even thought they might intend to create reciprocity in relationships, their inherent characteristics decline the effort and despite goodwill, intimacy cannot sustain without shared harm leading to a fear of connection and a state of cynicism. Avantika who moderated the talk, discussed the concept further by analyzing the different aspects of intimacy and human condition and how introversion and isolation at times define interpersonal relationships and how the philosophy of intimacy conditions the idea of love and loss. Some fascinating clips were shared during the talk from fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut, ‘A Single Man’ that exemplifies the journey of love, loss and intimacy leading to compensating connection and how mind fixates around heart in desolation and seclusion.
The consuming talk ended with some interesting questions around philosophy, closeness, closure and clarity along with a restless demand of a follow-up. Looking forward to many more contemplating ones!