The Epictetus Club: Part Two

In our second excerpt from The Epictetus Club, newly arrived prison counsellor Jeff Traylor now finds himself the advisor to ‘The Epictetus Club’ a group of inmates which meets every week to discuss the teachings of Epictetus. This excerpt describes the first meeting he attended, and the story of how one of the inmates (nicknamed Zeno) first came across Epictetus’ Encheiridion (Handbook)

I arrived for the meeting promptly at 7:00 PM and began by introducing myself to the dozen men who had gathered for the Epictetus Club meeting. As I did so, Zeno and I exchanged quick glances, asking nonverbally if the other knew where the chair and photos had gone, but neither of us had a clue. The walls were blank except for the outlines where the picture frames had hung just hours ago, and the platform that held the electric chair was also empty. The answers would have to wait, though, since it was time to get started.

I was one of three new faces at the meeting. The prison grapevine is faster than fiberoptic cable, so everyone already knew that I was the new club advisor – and also the new furlough counselor. Each man seemed acutely aware that my job was to screen suitable candidates for early release on furlough and forward their names to the parole board for final determination. Naturally, everyone was very polite and courteous.

After all the men introduced themselves to me and handed me their passes, I turned the meeting over to Zeno and sat down outside of the circle. Zeno began by thanking me for offering to be the advisor, and suggesting to the men that they not use the meeting as an excuse to lobby for furlough. “Send a kite to Mr. Traylor if you want to discuss furlough, and he’ll take care of it during regular business hours. None of us are here for that on Friday nights.” That was the last mention of furlough at any of the club meetings.

Zeno went on to describe the group rules, which were few and simple: respect your fellow group members by paying attention when they speak, only one person speaks at a time, and what is said in the meeting stays in the meeting. He then gave some background on the Epictetus Club for the benefit of the new members and myself.

The Club had been meeting for about five years, and had been started by Zeno and another inmate named Doc. Doc was not actually a doctor, but had been a medic in the army before coming to the penitentiary on a second- degree murder conviction. Doc had served ten years at the Walls and had been transferred to the medium security Marion Correctional Institution a little over two years ago, leaving Zeno to organize and lead the groups himself. It was actually Zeno who had first discovered the teachings of Epictetus and tried them out.

Continue reading “The Epictetus Club: Part Two”

The Epictetus Club: Part One

This is part one of our two-week series from The Epictetus Club, an account of how prison inmates used the philosophy of Epictetus to help turn their lives around.

In this excerpt, Jeff Traylor, a newly arrived prison counsellor, reflects on his meeting with an inmate, nicknamed Zeno…

Epictetus Club: Extract One

I had been thinking about what Zeno said at our last meeting – that people were not upset by things themselves, but by what they told themselves about those things. At first I had my doubts. But I was also open to considering it, so I decided to pay attention to my thoughts the next time I was worried, upset or angry. It didn’t take long to find my first opportunity. Driving home that evening after work, someone cut me off on the freeway, and then had the nerve to give me the “we’re number one” sign. My instant reaction was to think, “Who the hell does he think he is? I’m going to pull up beside him and tell him a thing or two.” Then I thought of what Zeno had said, and tried something new. I told myself, “That guy is obviously having a bad day, and I don’t need to make him a part of my day. I’ll just take a deep breath and go on listening to the radio.” To my amazement, and just as Zeno predicted, my feeling about the situation changed from anger to minor annoyance and then to complete indifference about the other guy. I felt more in control of my feelings and actions than I ever had! I couldn’t wait to talk with Zeno again.

When Friday rolled around, I stopped by Zeno’s House (I preferred thinking about it that way) for our chat and found him reading a little book with the strange title Enchiridion. He promptly laid it down on his stand, and it was then that I noticed a snapshot in a matchstick frame sitting on the stand. In the photo one could see Zeno smiling broadly, surrounded by boxing promoter Don King, former heavyweight champion Joe Louis and someone I didn’t recognize. Zeno explained that the photo had been taken about a year earlier when Don King brought ABC Wide World of Sports to the prison to televise some professional bouts on national TV. King’s entourage included Joe Louis, one of America’s greatest heroes, and an unknown young boxer named Larry Holmes. “Don told me to be sure to get Larry in the picture. I didn’t know who he was, but Don said that he would one day be the heavyweight champion of the world, so Larry was kind enough to get into the photo with me. We’ll see if Don was right or just blowing smoke from one of his big cigars!”

Zeno paused to look at the photo, and then said that he used to do some professional boxing in Akron. “At the time I didn’t know how important that would be to helping me survive in the pen, but it has literally saved my life.”

“How many fights have you been in with other inmates?” I asked.

“At first, a lot, but none for the past ten years.” he said with a wry smile. “My boxing skills now help me avoid that kind of trouble.”

He went on to ask if I remembered what he had said about the importance of our thoughts, and I described to him my incident of road rage on the freeway and how I had calmed myself down just by changing what I was telling myself.

“You’d probably be a good boxer,” he said. “Thinking skills and boxing skills are very similar. Think of yourself as in a boxing ring with an opponent, but your opponent is not another person – your opponent is your own thinking. There are some thoughts that can take you out for the count, like your thought of ‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ I see it all the time in here. Of course, the thought that has knocked out nearly everyone here is ‘I won’t get caught.’”

He laughed, and went on. “A good boxer is able to recognize and anticipate what his opponent is going to do, is able to recognize the punch that is coming, block it, then throw a counterpunch. In our thinking, if we can recognize self-defeating thoughts as they come up, block them, and then respond with a productive counterpunch, we can avoid trouble and live a good life. If we can’t do that, we will have a life of pain and turmoil. But just like in boxing, it takes practice, practice, practice. Good thinking is not a haphazard enterprise, or something that some are born with and some are not.”

“Are you saying that thinking well is not a question of intelligence, but a matter of skill?” I asked.

“Exactly. And it is also a question of bravery.” “Bravery?”
“Yes, bravery. The ancient Greeks said that learning

to think well is a moral virtue they called courage, because it takes commitment and effort. They also said that those who do not take pains to learn to think clearly are committing the moral vice of cowardice. Just as someone on a battlefield who runs away out of fear of getting hurt is a coward, so are people who refuse to take the necessary pains to change their lives also cowards. Those who do take the pains and effort are demonstrating courage, just as much as the person on the battlefield who overcomes fear of injury and fights for a good cause.”

“How does one develop these skills?”

“The way we do it in here is to get together at the Epictetus Club.”

“The Epictetus Club? What’s that?”

“It’s a group of inmates who meet once a week. We are open to everybody who would like to come, regardless of age, race, religion, or criminal offense – or even whether you are an inmate or staff member. The prison chaplain is our staff advisor, but he mostly just provides the space for us to meet on Friday nights. I like to think of it as Friday Night at the Fights – but our fights are with our own thoughts and attitudes. Remember, thinking is like boxing – identify the thought, block it, and counterpunch. Speaking of the Epictetus Club, I better start getting ready for the meeting. Have a good weekend and I’ll see you Monday at the gate.”

The next extract will be posted on Wednesday. 

About the book:

The Epictetus Club: Lessons from the Walls is both an inspiring story and a unique thinking skills teaching tool written by Jeff Traylor, a former prison counselor and award-winning program developer. Set in the Ohio Penitentiary, the book follows a group of inmates who meet weekly to study the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus, a former slave and prisoner who used adversity to become wiser and more compassionate. The group is led by an unforgettable lifer named Zeno, a former professional boxer who points out that our greatest opponent is our own thinking. Zeno compares thinking skills to boxing skills, and teaches the men the ABC’s of Inner Boxing and the Ten Rounds to Self-Mastery. The reader sits in on life-changing group sessions where the men discuss finding a sense of purpose, “knocking out” excuses, turning adversity to benefit, converting entitlement to gratitude, identifying consequences of actions and how others are affected, handling provocation, dealing with stress, and many other key life lessons. The Epictetus Club is an easily read 155-page paperback book divided into short chapters that encourage reading and discussion. Popular in prisons and universities around the country, the book is great for self-study or in a discussion group (discussion guide available). A 270-page, 16-session cognitive skills course manual called The Epictetus Self-Mastery Program is also available.

N.B. If you would like to have a free PDF copy of The Epictetus Club in full, please email the author (epictetusclub @ aol . com – minus the spaces!). He will be happy to send you a copy. You can also buy a physical copy of the book here.

About the Author: 

Jeff Traylor has a wealth of corrections experience, ranging from implementing the furlough program at the maximum security Ohio Penitentiary to serving as the cognitive skills instructor at a community based correctional facility. His experience also includes substance abuse counseling and program development, and he has worked in the psychological and social services departments in Ohio prisons. He is the creator of the Shoplifting Diversion Program that earned a national award from the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers and was adopted in more than 30 U.S. cities. He has served on the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute and has trained hundreds of professionals ranging from parole officers to social workers. He earned his graduate degree from The Ohio State University and is the author of a series of Ohio travel books called Life in the Slow Lane. See his website here

With thanks to Jeff for allowing excerpts from his work to be published here.

New Series Tomorrow: Epictetus in Prison

From tomorrow, we will be running a two week series of excerpts every few days, from prison counsellor Jeff Traylor’s Epictetus Club. The work is a powerful and inspirational example of how Epictetus’ philosophy has been used to help prisoners turn their lives around. Jeff wrote the book from his experiences of teaching Epictetus’ philosophy in prisons, and did so primarily to provide a recap of Epictetus’ philosophy to those who took the course, and to provide a book that could be of use in other prisons around the US.

Jeff writes: “This novel is inspired by real events and real people. It is set in the old Ohio Penitentiary, and the descriptions of the institution are factual. Some events described as having taken place at the Ohio Penitentiary actually took place at Marion Correctional Institution. The inmate characters are fictional composites, and the names of staff have been changed. Epictetus (Epic-TEE-tus) was a real person.

My primary purpose when I began this book was to provide a refresher for the men who have completed a course in cognitive skills that I teach in a community-based correctional facility. By the time the men finish the course, they have studied many of these ideas, and this book is a practical and informative way for them to review the lessons as they prepare to return to society.

As the writing progressed, a second use for the book evolved – to provide these concepts and ideas to probationers or inmates at other correctional facilities who do not have access to these kinds of groups.”

The book starts with the Epictetus Rap: 

The Epictetus Rap

My name is Epictetus, here’s what I’m puttin’ down,
If you ain’t got your cog skills, you’re nothin’ but a clown. You know I was a prisoner, you know I was a slave,
It took all of my mind to control how I behave.
But I used my brain to live, I used my brain to get through, I let go of entitlement, thinking I was due
Whatever I wanted, whatever anyone had,
I learned to focus elsewhere, then I didn’t feel so bad.
I took my better feelings and opened up my mind,
I saw I used closed thinking, I saw that I was blind
To all my choices, all my options, all my possibility
And I made a vow right then that I knew I could be free
In my mind and in my heart
And in my thoughts is where to start.

So let me tell you what to do if you truly want to live
A life you can be proud of, a life where you can give Instead of taking all the time, doing booze and drugs and crime.
Clear your head, clear your conscience,
Clear your record, clear your mind,
Ain’t no satisfaction in immediate grati-faction.

Now I know you think your circumstance Is the reason for your victimstance,
But you know it ain’t like that
You can survive like a cat.

Turn it on its ear, turn it upside down,
Instead of being crushed, ask how you can turn it ’round. Don’t just do the time, don’t be a stupid fool,
This here is a place where if you play it cool,
You’ll be stronger in your thinking, stronger in your heart,

When you come up out of here, you’ll now know where to start
To live a life of purpose, to live the life you need,
To let go of your past, your demands and your greed.

Instead of robbin’ in the hood, but sayin’ you are good, Get yourself on home, forget that Robin Hood syndrome. Don’t be makin’ no excuses, don’t be blamin’ no one else, Take responsibility and be Master of Yourself.

© 2002 by Maximum511

Look out for more from the Epictetus Club on the blog over the next two weeks.

About the Author: 

Jeff Traylor has a wealth of corrections experience, ranging from implementing the furlough program at the maximum security Ohio Penitentiary to serving as the cognitive skills instructor at a community based correctional facility. His experience also includes substance abuse counseling and program development, and he has worked in the psychological and social services departments in Ohio prisons. He is the creator of the Shoplifting Diversion Program that earned a national award from the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers and was adopted in more than 30 U.S. cities. He has served on the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute and has trained hundreds of professionals ranging from parole officers to social workers. He earned his graduate degree from The Ohio State University and is the author of a series of Ohio travel books called Life in the Slow Lane

With thanks to Jeff for allowing excerpts from his work to be published here.

Repost: The Stoics on the Community of Humankind by Patrick Ussher

This the last of our posts this weekend revisiting some earlier posts on the blog which its new readers (after Stoic Week 2013) might have missed. In this post, Patrick Ussher explores the Stoic ‘community of humankind ideal’…

Perspectives: The Stoics on the Community of Humankind

Much of Stoic philosophy stemmed from the simple observation that each of us is a part of the human race.  From this accurate, so often considered naïve, fact, they argued that each of us had a role to play in contributing to the common good of our own species. For nature wants all things to continue, and each species is to work together to that end.

Now whilst, the Stoics observed, ants or bees naturally work together, the human being, whose mind is subject to all kinds of prejudiced conditioning from his or her own individual society, has to use his reason to pierce through that conditioning in order to understand the way things are, i.e. the aforementioned fact that each of us is a part of a species whose wellbeing we value, and to base his or her action on this fact. For that reason, they developed the metaphor of the human race as a ‘body’. Thus, as all the limbs contribute to the health of our body, so too does each human, like a limb, contribute to the body of humanity. The fact that this was setting the bar high was never to be taken as a deterrent, and especially so if you really did want to follow nature’s way. And as you too are a part of nature, a Stoic would say, why wouldn’t you want to do this?

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Repost: The Philosophical Methods of CBT by Tim LeBon

This weekend, we are revisiting three of the posts on this blog over the last 18 months, which new readers to the blog (after Stoic Week 2013) might have missed. In this post, Tim LeBon looks at the philosophical side of CBT…. 

This week, Tim LeBon, philosophical counsellor and one of the Stoicism Today team, maps  seven typical errors of thinking, as recognised within CBT, with possible philosophical remedies for each error. The following piece is extracted from Tim’s book, Wise Therapy (2001), and is reproduced with kind permission of the author. The extract is prefaced by a short introduction, written by Tim for this blog, about the overall aims of the book.

Tim Le Bon, Psychotherapist, Philosophical Counsellor and Author of ‘Wise Therapy’
Introduction

In Wise Therapy (Sage,  2001) I aimed to examine some of the main practical topics in philosophy and explore their implications for psychotherapy and counselling.  The philosophy of well-being, right and wrong,  reason and the emotions and the meaning of life are all surveyed, what I hope to be acceptable conclusions reached, and then, in the final chapter, a counsellor’s philosophical toolbox is created.  Alongside a focus on philosophy,  I also examine the existing philosophically-inspired techniques from a variety of approaches, including logotherapy,  philosophical counselling, existential-phenomenological counselling, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT and REBT often quote the Stoic Epictetus’s dictum that “Men are disturbed not by things, but the views which they take of them” (Epictetus, Enchiridion, 5). They have taken this idea and turned it into a technique, variously called thought records, mood logs or cognitive restructuring. The idea is that you notice when you are feeling upset (sad, angry, anxious etc) and try to determine the judgement or thought that lies behind the emotions. I usually recommend clients to imagine themselves in a cartoon with a speech bubble coming out of their head. The trick is to imagine what thoughts or images are in the speech bubble. Once you’ve worked out which thoughts are disturbing you, the next step is to untwist your thinking by looking typical thinking errors that cause emotional problems.  After that, you can come up with alternative (“rational”) responses to help you feel less upset.

In the following extract from Wise Therapy  I first describe some of the existing thinking errors described by leading CBT therapists, and then refine these to include philosophical insights.

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Repost: Core Ideas of Stoic Ethics in Marcus Aurelius by Chris Gill

This weekend, we are looking at some earlier posts which appeared on this blog, which the blog’s new readers (after Stoic Week 2013) might have missed. In this post, Chris Gill extracts from Marcus Aurelius the key claims of Stoic ethics, including ideas on ‘the good’, ‘indifferents’, and natural human sociability. He looks at one meditation in particular (3.11) which draws on all of these key aspects of Stoic thought….

Core Ideas of Stoic Ethics in Marcus Aurelius

A positive reason for seeing Stoicism as influential on Marcus is that most of the Meditations are strongly reminiscent of Stoic ideas, even if Marcus does not use technical Stoic vocabulary and sometimes recasts these ideas in his own distinctive ways. We can identify at least five features which were seen in this period as distinctive of Stoicism; and they match strongly marked themes in the Meditations. One is the idea that the virtuous life is identical with the happy life (that virtue is all that is needed to ensure happiness). Other things widely regarded as good, such as health or material prosperity and even the well-being of one’s family and friends, are seen as being irrelevant for happiness; they are ‘matters of indifference’, even if they are naturally ‘preferable’.  A second theme is that emotions and desires depend directly on beliefs about what is valuable or desirable; they do not form a separate (non-rational) dimension of psychological life. The emotions and desires most people form are seen as shaped by mistaken ethical beliefs and in this sense as being psychological ‘sicknesses’. A third theme is that human beings have an in-built natural inclination to benefit others. This inclination, if properly developed, is expressed both in full-hearted engagement with family and communal roles and in a readiness to accept all human beings, as such, as part of a ‘brotherhood’ or ‘cosmic city’ and as proper objects of ethical concern. These three ideas add up to a highly idealised view of human ethics and psychology, one that ancient critics thought was over-idealistic and unrealistic. None the less, the Stoics maintained that all human beings are fundamentally capable of progressing towards the ideal state of complete virtue and happiness, though they admitted that no one had perhaps achieved this completely. Hence, ethical life, for Stoicism, consisted in an ongoing process or journey towards this goal, a journey for which their methods of practical ethics were a means of support.

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A Modern Stoic Clinic

Epictetus: ‘A philosopher’s school is a clinic’. 

Stephen J. Costello, Ph.D.

The Dublin Philosophy Clinic Logo

In the split second between stimulus and response lies a small space of freedom, which is our power to choose. That is why the philosopher gets off the bus. That is why Diogenes went looking in the city, carrying a lamp in broad daylight, saying ‘I am looking for a human being’. We must get off the merry-go-round and think for ourselves. We are born once only, twice is not permitted us. Because there is no guarantee or safety-net there for us, our lives are precarious and precious. We hunger for things that will give us sense and security, for meaning and purpose. We stockpile wealth and weapons. We feed on mood-altering substances like alcohol, drugs and celebrity. But there is an alternative path from an ancient pedigree: philosophical practice.

Seneca: ‘The point is, not how long you live, but how nobly you live’.

I founded The Philosophy Clinic in order to address and provide answers to the current crisis of meaning. Drawing on the wealth of worldly wisdom in the Western Socratic and, in particular, Stoic tradition, it aims to bring profound and practical philosophy to bear on issues of everyday life. Modern living has placed a great strain and stress on many people who are experiencing fragmentation and frustration, emptiness, existential distress and ethical confusion. There is a longing for guidance and growth, wholeness and healing. The Clinic aims to cater for such a context.

Cicero: ‘Truly philosophy is the medicine of the soul’.

The Greeks conceived of philosophy as a therapy of the soul and the site of spiritual/existential exercises. This understanding and interpretation reflects that of The Philosophy Clinic and infuses all our work. Courses and classes are offered to all those who hear the call and summons of Socrates to ‘Know Thyself’.

Epictetus: ‘Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering’.

Our aim is to form more than to inform. We understand philosophy to be the ancient consolation and a way of life. Particular attention is paid to the practice of Prosoche, or awareness (attention) as the basis of all meditative practice; experiential exercises; group-work; Socratic dialogue; and journaling, are all part of the format and structure of the Clinic.

Marcus Aurelius: ‘Let your every deed and word and thought be those of one who might depart from this life this very moment’.

I offer Socratic therapy in the form of logotherapy and existential analysis to individuals and groups while philosophical counselling and coaching is offered by Barre Fitzpatrick to individuals, corporate clients and groups. Both members of the team consult to the corporate sector, myself through the Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland: School of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (www.logotherapyireland.com) and Barre through Stride (www.stride.ie).

I had invited Jules Evans over to Dublin for a ‘Saturday with Socrates’ day where he spoke on his book, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations. I gave a paper on a logotherapeutic reading of Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy. That was my first contact with the ‘Stoicism Today Team’ in Exeter University. Three Saturday seminars have since followed: both drawing on Stoic philosophy, especially on Marcus Aurelius.

In the first seminar I gave an overview of Stoicism, laying out the core concepts, and introduced the central themes in Marcus’ Meditations. I spent a short time showing some similarities between Stoicism and Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy, which became the basis for a short article on the subject. My co-facilitator led the participants into an experiential exercise of prosoche which became concretised in a philosophy walk later in the day, after which they were introduced to the three disciplines of the soul (desire, judgement and action). The day ended with advice on journaling, a meditation and the Stoic practice of retrospection. The format consisted of group work, a lecture, a walk, and experiential exercises and meditations, as well as writing and questions. We felt the day was a great success and received some incredibly positive feedback.

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Stoic Week REDUX

Did you miss Stoic Week 2013? Or do you want to try doing it again? This is your chance…

 

Did you miss Stoic Week 2013?  Or would you be interested in doing it again?  This is your chance!  Starting on Monday 7th April 2014, we’re asking for volunteers to repeat Stoic Week on a more informal basis.  We may keep this going by repeating the Handbook, starting on Mondays, over the next few weeks, so you can drop-in or drop-out.  Use this discussion thread and the Google+ Community to support each other by posting updates each day (if possible) and commenting supportively on other people’s updates.

You can read (or print) a free HTML copy of the Stoic Week 2013 Handbook on the new modernstoicism.com e-learning website.  There’s also an EPUB e-book version of the Handbook, which you can read on most tablets, mobile phones, and e-readers, etc.  You’ll also find the audio/video materials for Stoic Week on the Stoicism Today website.

If you’re interested in taking part in Stoic Week, please register to use the modernstoicism.com e-learning site and introduce yourself on the general discussion forum thread below below, or just post any questions you have.

General Discussion Forum: Stoic Week REDUX

 

Accepting Mortality – the Stoic Way

 The Stoics often get bad press from their claim that death is no ‘bad’ thing. But what did they mean by this and what kind of life did the Stoic, having internalised this attitude, lead? Corey Anton explores these questions. 

‘On Death Acceptance’

Corey Anton

Like many philosophical systems in the ancient word, the Stoic tradition makes no lofty bid for an afterlife nor does it instruct us to despise death.  Death is outside of one’s control, and accordingly, it must be dealt with by indifference.  It is accepted as part of the meaning of life, as something that Divine Providence saw to be fitting.  In book 2, chapter 6 of The Discourses, we find Epictetus admonishing us from trying to take under our control what is beyond it: “…know that you are cursing men when you pray for them not to die: it is like a prayer not to be ripened, not to be reaped.”  And in The Handbook #14 he writes, “It is silly to want your children…and your friends to live forever, for that means that you want what is not in your control to be in your control, and what is not yours to be yours.”  Not only is the fact of death beyond our control, Providence saw fit that humans can have no knowledge of anything beyond life.  We are to act with regard to this world, meeting our duties with courage and goodwill and accepting whatever happens.

            As fundamentally beyond our control, death is something to which we should be indifferent, although admittedly the wise may learn how to use death as a resource for gaining perspective and making decisions.  In #21 of The Handbook, Epictetus advocates a nearness to death, if only to keep desire in its proper place: “Keep before your eyes from day to day death and exile and all things that seem terrible, but death most of all, and then you will never set your thoughts on what is low and will never desire anything beyond measure.”  Death too can be regarded as a gift insofar as we can know that we will die, which basically implies that we know that we cannot postpone decisions indefinitely; a time to act will come and then that moment will pass.  By maintaining an image of death before us, we are reminded of what is and is not under our control.  We are essentially, as Epictetus writes, “a tiny soul carrying around a corpse.”

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NEWS: New Modern Stoicism E-Learning Site

Launching our new Modern Stoicism e-learning site. Please join the development forum if you’re interested in Stoicism and help us to design the forthcoming online course in Stoic practice.

Marcus-Aurelius-Gallery-2_thumb.jpgWe’re pleased to announce the launch of our new Moodle e-learning website for Stoic Practice:

Modern Stoicism

Anyone can register on this site and we’d like as many people as possible to take part in the development forum, while we refine the design of our forthcoming e-learning course on Stoic practice.  We plan to pilot the new course in about six weeks’ time, hopefully.  Please share your ideas and give us feedback on the sample course materials that will be posted shortly.  In the meantime, there are a few bits and pieces to look at and a lot more to come over the next few days.  For example, check out this HTML5 slideshow of Epictetus’ Handbook in plain English.  Well, the first few paragraphs, at least.  Would you like to have the whole thing in this format?  Does it work okay on tablets and other devices?

Slideshow: Epictetus’ Stoic Handbook

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well as the Google+ community for regular updates.