Circus of dreams

Philosophy Club hosts a night of discussion and jollity

Photos courtesy of Mrs. Crane

Story by Phoebe Neff, staff writer

Adorned in black and white, ringleader and Philosophy Club sponsor Michelle Crane addresses the feasting audience. She introduces the Illusionist, a table for discussions about the unknown and lifting the veil. Next, the Lion Tamer, a place for the ethics of animals, behavior and society. Finally, the crowd’s attention was drawn to the Clowns, where the philosophy of humor and politics were discussed. 

The library was overcome with folly and philosophical ideas as the Lost Philosophers of Texas High held the second annual Night of Ideas on Feb. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event featured discussion, live music, and a feast to entertain the evening. This year’s theme was Le Cirque des Rêves, or “The Circus of Dreams.”

“Last year, [the club was] looking for something to do outside of school, something beyond our afterschool thing,” Philosophy Club sponsor Michelle Crane said. “ We wanted something kind of casual, something kind of free, and so I found ‘Night of Ideas’ online. I was like, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ and so basically, we just come together and [the members] select [their] topics.”

Essentially, Night of Ideas is what the philosophers in the club make of it. The concept itself has a deep history across the ocean, and the club honored the tradition while making it their own.

“Night of Ideas actually comes out of France. It’s something that a lot of the libraries do there, and it became popular along the east coast [of America]. So they will actually go and spend all night in the library,” Crane said. “They’ll have presentations, they’ll have music. They’ll have Socratic circles like discussions, and the whole idea is that you spend the whole night there because that gives you big time to really dwell and talk about big ideas.”

Through the night, discussion was split into three different tables. As mentioned earlier, there was “The Illusionist” table, “The Lion Tamer” table, and “The Clowns” table. These tables each held unique topics that club members hosted discussions at. Usually, all discussions start the same way in the philosophy club.

“The idea is to have kind of an introductory question that gives everyone a sense of what the bigger discussion is going to be about. Everyone answers the first question, so that kind of breaks some of that stage fright of talking in front of a group. Then, [the discussion leader] will propose the larger question,” Crane said.

Despite the diversity of topics and vastly different discussions, the goal of Philosophy Club’s circles are always the same: to reach understanding between the participants and open up the minds of those involved.

“The idea is to kind of break down the question, break down people’s assumptions that guide how they would [usually] answer that question so that you can utilize the knowledge of the group to come up with a better understanding of how to answer that question,” Crane said.

While pursuing the goal of breaking down one’s thought processes, multiple attendees left with having discovered more views and opinions on deep topics than what they went in with.

“[Night of Ideas] opened my eyes, I guess, to different ideas and opinions that other people have. So, I was open to more things,” sophomore Joshua Jeffreys said. “All people have a philosophy. They might not know it, but they do.”

By the end of the night, Philosophy Club established their views on the importance of philosophy as well as events such as Night of Ideas within our society and community.

“I think philosophy is very important,” Jeffreys said. “It’s just a time to get to know people and a time to discuss your own opinion against other people’s. You’re able to learn new things, things you might never have known before.”