'Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Vol. II' Available for Free During Stoic Week

‘Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Vol. II’ Available for Free During Stoic Week

Until Friday 21st October, the Kindle digital version of Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Vol. II is available for free.

For Amazon UK, click here. For Amazon US, click here.

The contents are set out in the post here detailing the release.

About the book: Stoicism, the classical philosophy as a way of life practised by the Greeks and Romans, continues to resonate in the modern world. With over forty essays and reflections, this book is simultaneously a guide to practising Stoicism in your own life and to all the different aspects of the modern Stoic revival. You will learn about Stoic practical wisdom, virtue, how to relate wisely to others and the nature of Stoic joy. You will read of life-stories by those who practise Stoicism today, coping with illness and other adversities, and of how Stoicism can be helpful in many areas of modern life, from cultivating calm in the online world to contributing new solutions to the environmental crisis. And, just like the ancient Stoics did, key questions modern Stoics often ask are debated such as: Do you need God to be a Stoic? Is the Stoic an ascetic? Containing both practical wisdom and philosophical reflection, this book – the second in the Stoicism Today series – is for anyone interested in practising the Stoic life in the modern world.

Stoic Week 2016 Starts Monday!

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Today as this post appears, STOICON 2016 will very shortly be starting in New York City.  It provides one of the high points of the year for the worldwide Modern Stoicism community.  STOICON is not only a wonderful conference with a lineup of engaging speakers providing talks, workshops, and discussions, but it also effectively kicks off International Stoic Week 2016!

 

The Stoic Week Course

What we might call the “main main event”, the entirely FREE online Stoic Week class – providing a beautiful new class site, complete with handbook, audio files, forums for discussion, just to mention a few features – is still enrolling (so, if you’re finding out about this late, don’t fret about it – there’s still time for you to sign up and get in the class!)  It starts on Monday, October 17, and ends on Sunday, October 23.

Having participated in the class myself, I highly recommend it to anyone.  As a teacher and a scholar, I can attest that what you’re getting in this this one-week course Donald Robertson has designed and developed is a brilliant adaptation of classic Stoic philosophy to the context of modern life – precisely the sort of thing the ancient Stoics would be doing were they around to do so today.  It’s eminently accessible for beginners, but has a lot to offer intermediate and expect-level students and practitioners.  I know that I learn quite a bit doing the course myself each year.  So if you’re someone who reads this blog, this is definitely a course you’ll want to take.

Institutions or Organizations Engaging In the Class

The Stoic Week online class offers opportunities to meet, learn, and interact with people all over the world.  In certain locations, there is also another great opportunity, provided by local organizations or institutions, to work through the Stoic Week class together.  At present, here are the organizations and institutions that

Grand Valley State University Classics Department – the contact person is Peter Anderson

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania – the contact person is Andrew Winters

Marist College Honors Program – the contact person is James Snyder

Bates College – the contact person is Michael Hanrahan

Manchester Stoics Meetup – the contact person is Brenda Lanigan

Brisbane Stoics Meetup – the contact person is Alex Magee

In-Person Events:

There are several events already scheduled during Stoic Week itself to commemorate, celebrate, and continue building community.  If you know of any other events that belong on this list, feel free to contact me, or even better, enter them into this form.  I’ll be updating this post over the course of Stoic Week, to include any new events that come to my attention.

16 October, 2 PM: Post-STOICON/Pre-Stoic Week Meetup (New York City, USA). To celebrate the end of STOICON ’16 and the beginning of Stoic Week ’16, the New York City Stoics Meetup will host a Stoic Walking tour through parts of NYC, with wha promise to be some engaging thematic conversations held along the route. – the organizer/contact person is Greg Lopez.

16 October, 3 PM: Stoicism and Love (London, UK).  The London Stoics Meetup will be hosting a discussion on that very topic (the theme for Stoic Week this year) – the contact person/organizer is Carmello Di Maria.

18 October 12:00 PM:  Stoicism Across the Disciplines: A Panel Discussion (Lewiston, ME, USA) – Bates College faculty will lead an informal discussion of Stoicism across intellectual disciplines at the Benjamin Mays Center- the organizer/contact person is Michael Hanrahan.

18 October, 6:00 PM:  Struggling With Anger? Useful Stoic Perspectives and Practices (Milwaukee, WI, USA).  For local residents of my home city (a place where it’s clearly needed), I’ll be providing the same workshop I’m leading out at STOICON – the organizer/contact person is me, Greg Sadler.

19 October, 5:00 PM: Vidas Estoicas (Bogata, Columbia)  The members of the research group, Peiras, will be providing a discussion focused on classical Stoicism, its doctrines and figures, and its potential for transforming contemporary everyday life at the Edificio de Posgrados de Ciencias Humanas, Salón Oval, Universidad Nacional, Miércoles – the organizer/contact person is Andrea Lozano Vasquez.

19 October, 7:30 PMWhat is The Place for Stoicism in Today’s Society? (Oxford, UK).  The Philosophy In Pubs, Oxford Meetup is hosting a discussion with Daniel Robertson about Stoicism Today – the organizer/contact person is Ben Clark.

20 October, 7:00 PM: Stoic Week Discussion (Slippery Rock, PA, USA)  Professor Andrew Winters will be discussing with the public what it is like to live as a Stoic in a modern world – the organizer/contact person is Andrew Winters

20 October, 6:30 PM: Discussing Stoic Daily Habits (Manchester, UK). The Manchester Stoic Meetup will be holding its monthly discussion, discussing precisely that, daily habits that help one live the Stoic life – the organizer/contact person is Brenda Lanigan.

20 October, 6:00 PM It’s Stoic Week: When Should I Assent? (Chicago, IL, USA). The Chicago Philosophy Meetup is having a session about Stoicism – the organizer/contact person is Ivan.

22 October, 2:00 PM-7:30 PM: Stoic Guidance for Troubled Times (London, UK). A smaller, but looking-to-be-excellent STOICON conference at Queen Mary University, with presentations by Jules Evans, Christopher Gill, Tim LeBon, Donald Robertson, and Gabrielle Galuzzo – the organizer/contact person is Jules Evans.

23 October, 5:00 PM: Stoic Week Wrap-Up (New York City, USA).  The New York City Stoics Meetup will host a meeting for an hour of open discussion and followup – the organizer/contact person is Greg Lopez.

23 October, 2:00 PM, Stoic Week Catch-Up (Brisbane, Australia).  The Brisbane Stoics will also be hosting a meeting to discuss and compare experiences from Stoic Week – the organizer/contact person is Alex Magee

Stoic Week Is Coming!

Stoic Week Is Coming!

by Greg Sadler

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One of the high points to the year in the growing modern Stoic movement is International Stoic Week.  This year, Stoic Week runs from Monday, October 17 to Sunday, October 23, preceded by the STOICON conference in New York City on Saturday, October 15. Each year has seen growing participation worldwide in the free online Stoic Week class.  There are also a number of events and other ways in which people and institutions will be marking this international celebration of all things Stoic.

As more information about additional events, activities, and online resources related to Stoic Week becomes available, we will add them to our list and publicize them here in a second post that will appear just before Stoic Week begins. If you are hosting something Stoicism-related, and would like to let us know about it, here is the place to enter the information.

Here below is a not-yet-comprehensive list for Stoic Week 2016. Hopefully everyone interested in modern Stoicism can find at least one event near them or online in which they can participate, meet up with others who share their interests, and learn more about Stoic thought and practice!

The Stoic Week Class

17-23 October: Stoic Week Online Class – This is the one that got Stoic Week itself started! A free, online, week-long class hosted and developed by Donald Robertson (with contributions from Stoicism Today project members and many others), updated and improved each year.   Click here to find out more or to register.

Institutions or Organizations Engaging In the Class (so far)

The Stoic Week online class offers opportunities to meet, learn, and interact with people all over the world.  In some places there is also another great opportunity, provided by local organizations or institutions, to work through the class together.  At present, here are the ones we know of (if your institution or organization is doing this, and not on the list, contact me and I’ll make sure you get into the list).

Grand Valley State University Classics Department – the contact person is Peter Anderson

Marist College Honors Program – the contact person is James Snyder

Manchester Stoics Meetup – the contact person is Brenda Lanigan

Brisbane Stoics Meetup – the contact person is Alex Magee

 

In-Person Events (so far)

There are several public events scheduled during Stoic Week itself to commemorate, celebrate, and continue building community.   Here are the ones we’ve been able to find out about:

16 October, 2 PM: Post-STOICON/Pre-Stoic Week Meetup (New York City, USA). To celebrate the end of STOICON ’16 and the beginning of Stoic Week ’16, the New York City Stoics Meetup will host a Stoic Walking tour through parts of NYC, with wha promise to be some engaging thematic conversations held along the route. – the organizer/contact person is Greg Lopez.

18 October, 6 PM:  Struggling With Anger? Useful Stoic Perspectives and Practices (Milwaukee, WI, USA).  For local residents of my home city (a place where it’s clearly needed), I’ll be providing the same workshop I’m leading out at STOICON – the organizer/contact person is me, Greg Sadler.

20 October, 6:30 PM: Discussing Stoic Daily Habits (Manchester, UK). The Manchester Stoic Meetup will be holding its monthly discussion, discussing precisely that, daily habits that help one live the Stoic life – the organizer/contact person is Brenda Lanigan

22 October, 2 PM-7:30 PM: Stoic Guidance for Troubled Times (London, UK). A smaller, but looking-to-be-excellent STOICON conference at Queen Mary University, with presentations by Jules Evans, Christopher Gill, Tim LeBon, Donald Robertson, and Gabrielle Galuzzo – the organizer/contact person is Jules Evans.

 

Several Other Events Before Stoic Week

There are also some other Stoicism-connected events scheduled prior to Stoic Week that might be of interest.

30 September 7:30 PMUntroubled by Adversity: Epictetus (Cambridge, UK). The Cambridge Annual Lecture, The School of Economic Science, a lecture by Christine Lambie

10 October, 3:00 PM: Prohairesis in Epicetus’ Stoic Moral Theory (Milwaukee, WI, USA).  I’ll be giving a close reading workshop at Marquette University as part of the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.

10 October, 6:30 PM: The Obstacle Is The Way, part 3 (Orlando, FL, USA). Orlando Stoic Meetup will be continuing their ongoing discussion of Ryan Holiday’s work, The Obstacle Is The Way – the organizer/contact person is Dan Lampert.

STOICON in New York, a Preview – Part II

STOICON in New York, a Preview – Part II

by Massimo Pigliucci

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STOICON, the by now annual gathering of people interested in the theory and practice of Stoicism, is moving from London to New York, this year (and who knows where else in future editions, fate permitting). The event is scheduled for 15 October, and you can find more information here, tickets here, and even cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic, here.)

The purpose of this post (and of the one that preceded it) is to give you an idea of what the event will be like by introducing all our speakers and what they will be talking about, so that you can better appreciate some of the leading figures behind the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?), as well as give your reasoned assent to the impression that this is a conference well worth attending…

Let’s resume our gallery of speakers with Jules Evans, host of the last two STOICON events in London. He is interested in therapeutic practices from ancient philosophies and wisdom traditions, how individuals and organisations use them today, and how they inform public policy ideas about well-being, ethical resilience, flourishing and transcendence. His first book, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations, explored how people are rediscovering ancient Greek and Roman philosophies and how Greek philosophy (particularly Stoicism) inspired Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It’s since been published in 19 countries and was a Times book of the year. At STOICON ’16 Jules will talk about his work teaching Stoicism in companies, prisons, mental health charities and sports teams — including his work with Saracens, the European champions of rugby. Imagine if Greco-Roman philosophy was as widely known and practiced as Buddhism and Yoga…

Next up is Bill Irvine, author of the popular and influential A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. In graduate school and shortly thereafter, Bill’s research interests were like those of most philosophers. He was into “pure philosophy” — that is, in topics that are traditionally dealt with in philosophy and that are of interest primarily to professional philosophers. His doctoral dissertation was on phenomenalism, and his first publication was “Russell’s Construction of Space from Perspectives.” Since then, however, he has lost interest in “pure philosophy.” Instead, his research can best be described as hybrid of topics that lie on the border between philosophy and something else. Bill looks, in a philosophical manner, at things philosophers don’t normally look at. Many of his articles, for example, are on the ethical issues involved in finance. His first two books were on the ethical and political aspects of parenting. His book on desire has a philosophical component, but also a scientific and religious component. At STOICON ’16 Bill will talk about “Becoming an Insult Pacifist.” The Stoics spent a lot of time thinking about insults. Their goal in doing so was not to become proficient in inflicting them, but to lessen the harm they experienced when they were the target of them. As a result of their research, the Stoics advocated insult pacifism: when insulted, we should do nothing in response. We should simply carry on as if nothing happened. Alternatively, if we are feeling clever, we can respond to an insult by insulting ourselves even worse than our insulter did. We can, in other words, engage in self-deprecating humor. Bill has experimented with both of these strategies and in his talk will report on the results of these experiments. Insult pacifism, he has found, is effective because it catches insulters off guard. In his talk, Bill will also explore the psychology of insults. What is it that causes us to insult others? And how can insults — mere words — cause so much pain? It is an exploration that leads us to one of the core dilemmas of the human experience: it is hard to live without human companionship because we will experience loneliness; and it is hard to live with human companionship because we will thereby become the target of insults. The Stoics thought they had a solution to this dilemma: live among people and enjoy their company, but refuse to play the social hierarchy game.

We will also feature Cinzia Arruzza, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. Her research interests include ancient metaphysics and political thought, Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, feminist theory and Marxism. Cinzia is the author of Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism, an accessible introduction to the relationship between the workers’ movement and the women’s movement, investigating the questions Why does gender inequality exist? and How does it relate to capitalism? At STOICON, Cinzia will give a talk on “Let us take care of ourselves: Stoic exercises and Foucault.” Stoic philosophy included both a set of complex theories and claims about a way of life, which the Stoic student would try to achieve through a set of practices. These included a number of exercises aiming at enabling the Stoic student to live and embody Stoic philosophy, in spite of the several occasions of perturbation presented by the world around us. To live a Stoic life meant to assimilate oneself, as much as possible, to the Cosmic reason and to the Reason common to all human beings. Michel Foucault, however, adopted the Stoic exercises within his theory of subject formation, trying to answer a different question: how can we take care of ourselves in such a way as to become beautiful selves and as to rethink the relation between individual subjectivity and collective political action?

Tim LeBon, our next speaker, is an experienced and accredited cognitive behavioral (CBT) therapist, psychotherapist, life coach, philosophical counsellor, author, and tutor in private practice in Central London. He specializes in helping people with depression, anxiety, decision-making, emotional issues, low self-esteem, stress, procrastination, creating a more meaningful life and relationships. Tim’s latest book is Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology. Everybody wants to be happier and fulfill their potential, and for years many self-help books have claimed they know the answer. However, only in the last two decades has Positive Psychology started to provide evidence-based ideas that have been scientifically shown to work. In the book Tim shows his readers how they can use the tools coming from Positive Psychology to achieve their goals. At STOICON ’16 Tim will talk about “Trump for President? A Stoic Response.” Imagine Donald Trump becomes President. For those who disagree with his policies, what would be a good Stoic response? As a Brit who has just witnessed the varying strong emotions following after Brexit, Tim feels that Stoicism has a lot to offer to help us cope with events we don’t like. This workshop will present five Stoic strategies for dealing with adversities and then apply them to the result of the US Presidential election. In the interests of political balance, Tim will also explore how those who support Trump could best cope with Clinton becoming President.

Next: Don Robertson, a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, trainer, and author who specialises in the treatment of anxiety and the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and clinical hypnotherapy. He is the author of many articles on philosophy and psychotherapy in professional journals, as well as a number of books. Don’s background in academic philosophy has helped him to appreciate the relationship between modern psychotherapy and ancient philosophy, a subject that he has frequently written about and lectured upon in training courses and professional conferences over the years. Don has published the excellent Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, a guide to finding a happier way of life that draws on the ancient wisdom of the Stoics to reveal lasting truths and proven strategies for enhanced well-being. By learning what Stoicism is, Don maintains, you can revolutionize your life, learn how to — properly — ‘seize the day’, how to cope in the face of adversity, and how to come to terms with whatever situation you’re in. At STOICON ’16 Don will talk about “Stoicism, mindfulness, and cognitive therapy.” The concept of “mindfulness” is popularly associated with Buddhism, although the English word didn’t gain widespread use as a description of a meditation practice until the late 1970s. There’s a great deal of evidence that mindfulness-related practices employed in modern cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can have measurable benefits for our mental health. In the Stoic Week handbook, and the Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training (SMRT) course, Don has made extensive use of mindfulness and CBT techniques as a way of applying Stoic strategies to daily living, reaching thousands of participants around the world. His talk will provide an overview of some of this work, its findings, and some of the ways in which practitioners have successfully combined elements of Stoicism, mindfulness, and cognitive therapy in practice.

Our next to the last entry is about Gabriele Galluzzo, a Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy.  In the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, UK. Gabriele’s research interests focus on ancient metaphysics and its relationship with a number of other philosophical disciplines, including philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics and ethics. He is also interested in how ancient thought has influenced and can still make a contribution to contemporary philosophical debates. He has published extensively on Aristotle’s metaphysics and its reception in the Middle Ages and in contemporary philosophy. At STOICON ’16 Gabriele will talk about “Poor but happy? Aristotle and the Stoics on external goods.” Can we really be happy without health, money or friends? The Stoics famously claimed that we can, while Aristotle argues that we need at least some of these things to be happy. Who is right? Is Aristotle’s position more realistic? Or is there something to be said in favour of the Stoic view? The workshop will present and compare different approaches to external goods and bring out their consequences for our life and wellbeing.

Dulcis in fundo, as the Romans used to say, we will feature a special remote appearance by Lawrence Becker, the author of A New Stoicism. Larry is an American philosopher working mainly in the areas of ethics and social, political, and legal philosophy. He is the author of books and journal articles on justice, Stoicism, reciprocity, property rights, and metaethics. He was an associate editor of the journal Ethics from 1985-2000, and the editor, with the librarian Charlotte B. Becker, of two editions of the Encyclopedia of Ethics. Larry is a Fellow of Hollins University, where he taught philosophy from 1965-1989, and is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus from the College of William & Mary, where he was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy from 1989-2001. At STOICON ’16, he will be joining us via Skype and chat with me on “Posidonius and Stoic ethics-in-action.”

Posidonius was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age, though unfortunately his vast body of work exists today only in fragments. Posidonius attempted to create a unified system for understanding the human intellect and the universe which would provide an explanation of and a guide for human behavior. For him, philosophy was the dominant master art and all the individual sciences were subordinate to philosophy, which alone could explain the cosmos. Posidonius was the first Stoic to depart from the orthodox doctrine that passions were faulty judgments and posit that Plato’s view of the soul had been correct, namely that passions were inherent in human nature. In addition to the rational faculties, he taught that the human soul had faculties that were spirited (anger, desires for power, possessions, etc.) and desiderative (desires for sex and food). Ethics was the problem of how to deal with these passions and restore reason as the dominant faculty. And Larry will take it from there and talk about why Posidonius’ insights are still very much relevant to the practice of modern Stoics.

Join us for STOICON ’16, it promises to be a great conference for anyone interested in Stoicism, and a splendid opportunity to meet fellow students, not to mention some of the leading figures in the modern effort to spread one of the most useful practical philosophies of all time.

International Stoic Week – Call For Events!

International Stoic Week – Call For Events!

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International Stoic Week is an annual week-long set of events – coordinated by the Stoicism Today team, but involving many other people and organizations – aimed at encouraging public engagement with classical Stoic philosophy, by applying Stoic ideas and practices to the challenges of modern living.

This year – number five in its history – International Stoic Week is scheduled to run from Monday, October 17th to Sunday, October 23rd.  Just before it begins, of course, the one-day intensive conference, STOICON – with a whole host of speakers, talks, and workshops  – will occur on Saturday, October 15th.  So, October is indeed a month for all things Stoicism-related!

This year, the team (and in particular Daniel Robertson) has created a beautiful new website specifically devoted to Stoic Week, but we’ll also be publicizing activities, events, and resources here in Stoicism Today.

As the many past participants (more and more every successive year) well know, one of the main activities centering Stoic Week each year is the online course.  During Stoic Week, participants have the opportunity to live like a Stoic by following the seven-day Stoic Week Handbook.  This resource contains reading, audio, video, and group discussions. It includes daily practical exercises, which combine elements of ancient Stoicism and modern cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

But International Stoic Week also involves on-the-ground face-to-face events.  Last year, they occurred all over the world.  Just to name a few major gatherings – several occured last year in New York and in London.  It wasn’t just in major metropoles, though – Stoic week events, organized by those interested in discussing this classic philosophical approach, took place all over the place, from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania to Milwaukee, Wisconsin – and many, many other locations worldwide.

This year, we’re asking those either interested in scheduling – or already planning – Stoic Week events to send listings of their coming events to us in advance so that we can publicize them here in Stoicism Today.  We’ll do that both ahead of time and during Stoic Week itself.  You can provide us with all the relevant information here, in this Typeform – and we’ll make sure that your event gets into our listings!

Members of the Stoicism Today project are also making themselves available to discuss Stoic philosophy, its modern applications, Stoic week itself, and other related topics of interest in interviews, podcasts, and other appearances.  So, if you’re looking for one of the project members to come speak at your event, reach out to them sooner than later!

Lastly, you can follow both Stoic Week and Stoicism Today on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. You can donate an amount of your own choosing to help support Stoic Week, via our PayPal form.

STOICON in New York, a Preview – Part I

STOICON in New York, a Preview – Part I

by Massimo Pigliucci

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STOICON, the by now annual gathering of people interested in the theory and practice of Stoicism, is moving from London to New York, this year (and who knows where else in future editions, fate permitting). The event is scheduled for 15 October, and you can find more information here, tickets here, and even cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic, here.)

The purpose of this post (and of a second one coming up in late summer) is to give you an idea of what the event will be like by introducing all our speakers and what they will be talking about, so that you can better appreciate some of the leading figures behind the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?), as well as give your reasoned assent to the impression that this is a conference well worth attending…

I begin with Greg Sadler, the current editor of the very same Stoicism Today blog that you are reading. He lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after being gone for 20 years — and very happy to be back there with his wife, Andi, a native of the place, like him. Greg started off as a more or less traditional academic (BA in Philosophy and Mathematics from Lakeland College, MA and PhD in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University), but rather unusually also did some teaching in a maximum security prison (no, he wasn’t an inmate). Over the years he has transitioned to a different career, still in philosophy, and occasionally still in the academy, giving talks, running workshops, or as a consultant, though he now more or less thinks of himself as a small business owner and entrepreneur.

Greg’s workshop at STOICON will focus on a classical Stoic theme: anger management. Anger remains just as problematic an emotion for us today as it was for those living in ancient times. Stoic philosophers provide us with a number of perspectives and techniques we can use to understand and address anger. Greg’s workshop will lead participants through examining, discussing, and applying insights drawn from Stoicism to deal with this troublesome emotion. He will talk about anger experienced by oneself, exhibited by others, and arising in our wider culture. (You can read one his essays on this, Other People’s Anger – Resources and Reflections From Epictetus.)

Next, I’d like to introduce you to Debbie Joffe Ellis, a licensed psychologist (Australia), mental health counselor (New York), and adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York City. She was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and is a well known public speaker and writer. For years Debbie worked with her husband, Albert Ellis, a renowned pioneer of modern cognitive therapies and the originator of the approach known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Debbie continues to present, practice and write about Ellis’ psychotherapeutic approach. Recognized as a world-renowned expert on REBT, she has been featured in a DVD produced by the American Psychological Association (APA) demonstrating and discussing the approach. The APA also published the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy that she co-wrote with her husband.

At STOICON, Debbie will give a talk in the morning and run one of the afternoon workshops. The talk is entitled “Albert Ellis: A model of Resiliency, Compassion and Stoicism in Action,” during which she will share some of the most significant events of the life of her husband, including a few of his most intense challenges and adversities — and the elegant and inspiring ways he applied his approach (influenced by elements of Stoicism) to enable him to cope, endure and overcome them. She will also show some rarely before seen video clips of him in his final years. Albert Ellis heralded in the cognitive revolution in psychology and psychotherapy, contributed to the changing of outdated and uncivil societal attitudes, and contributed to the well-being of countless millions of people through his writing, lecturing, counseling and example.

The workshop will be on “Introducing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: a Healthy and Empowered Way of Life.” Debbie will introduce the audience to the main aspects of REBT and its main techniques and applications. She will also give a live demonstration. As a consequence of learning the basics of this empowering, no-nonsense and compassionate approach, attendees will be able to recognize the inspiration and philosophy of Epictetus in the contributions of the Ellis’s, and be able to reflect on, compare and contrast their understanding of Stoicism with the wisdom of REBT.

Next up is my good friend Greg Lopez, who is very much interested in mindfulness. So, what is “mindfulness”? Sure, you may have heard of it, but can you define it off the top of your head? Give it a try now.

[pausing for you to give it that try, seriously…]

How’d you do? You probably got some aspects of it, but likely not all of it. Why? Because there is no one “mindfulness.” It’s a term with a lot of uses, and it means different things to different people. There’s not so much one “mindfulness” — but “mindfulnesses”!

At STOICON ’16, Greg, who is the founder of the NYC Stoics and a secular Buddhist, will go through two versions of mindfulness in both theory and practice: sati (Buddhist mindfulness as found in the earliest extant Buddhists texts) and prosoche (the Stoic practice of attention). Moreover, Greg will also be holding a special post-STOICON meetup. So if you’re from out of town, there’s reason to stick around!

One of our most esteemed academic speakers will be Julia Annas, a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She has published a number of books, including Intelligent Virtue (Oxford University Press, 2009), in which she presents a new account of virtue and happiness as central ethical ideas, arguing that exercising virtue involves practical reasoning of a kind analogous to what we find when people exercise a practical skill. Annas also wrote Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011) where she guides her readers through a number of ancient debates, moving away from the presentation of ancient philosophy as a succession of great thinkers, and giving a sense of the freshness and liveliness of ancient philosophy, as well as of its wide variety of themes and styles.

At STOICON Julia will give a talk on “Is Stoic virtue ethics as off-putting as it seems?” As we would surely agree, Stoic ethics has been found inspiring by many. But when we look at some of the claims that the Stoics make, particularly about virtue, they seem rather off-putting. We find that according to the classic Stoic doctrine only the wise person is virtuous, while everyone else is vicious, since there is nothing between virtue and vice. And to make things worse, the wise person is as rare as the phoenix. There are no degrees of becoming virtuous: it’s like being one foot under water, which is just as much below the surface as being 20 feet under. According to the Stoics, virtue is the only thing that is good (and vice the only thing that is bad), and it alone is sufficient for happiness. This position appears to be so extreme as to make it seem pointless even to start trying to become a virtuous Stoic. But Julia will examine some of these claims and show how they can be understood to be more reasonable in the context of other claims, and of Stoic theory as a whole. She will also address the issue of why the Stoics did present their ethical views in such very counter-intuitive ways.

Next up is long-time STOICON presence, Christopher Gill, a professor of Classics at Exeter University in England. Chris’ research area is ancient philosophy or thought, especially ethics and psychology. His most recent books are on Marcus Aurelius Meditations Books 1-6, translated with an introduction and commentary (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Naturalistic Psychology in Galen and Stoicism (Oxford University Press, 2010). Chris retired at the end of 2013, but remains active in research, publication, participation in conferences and public engagement. His main current project is a book on Stoicism and its potential contribution to modern thought; this is supported in 2015-16 by a Leverhulme Emeritus Research Fellowship.

At STOICON ’16 Chris will be giving a talk on “Can you be a Stoic and a political activist?” He will begin by challenging a common stereotype about what living a Stoic life involves. People sometimes suppose that Stoics thought you should accept with equanimity any situation in which you find yourself (including situations of political injustice) as being the result of Fate. Stoics do think you should accept situations which are genuinely inevitable, including your own eventual death and that of those close to you. But they do not think you should passively accept situations that you can reasonably try to do something about, even if this only consists in protesting against injustice. A good number of Roman Stoics, in fact, protested against what they saw as political injustice by the emperor in power at any one time; as a result they were often regarded as trouble-makers and sometimes killed or exiled. So, if we follow the ancient Stoics in this respect, there is no reason why we should not be a political activist, if we have a principled reason for acting in this way.

Finally, for this first installment, let’s turn to our keynote speaker, best-selling author Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. Ryan is a media strategist and prominent writer on strategy and business — yeah, petty far from an academic philosopher, we like to mix things up that way. After dropping out of college at nineteen he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians. He served as director of marketing at American Apparel for many years, where his campaigns have been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube, and Google and written about in AdAge, the New York Times, and Fast Company.

At STOICON Ryan will give the closing talk in the late afternoon. Drawing on a singular passage from Marcus Aurelius (“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way”), Ryan will speak about the Stoic art of turning obstacle upside down. He will provide his insight into the success of some icons of history — from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs — the use of an approach that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with difficult situations, they found their way to astounding success. Some of these figures had studied Stoic philosophy as young men or women — others understood it only intuitively. In any case, Ryan suggests, they were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their accomplishments came from the application of timeless philosophical principles that aim at excellence in any and all situations. He’ll also talk about how he came to Stoic philosophy and how he’s tried to apply it in his own life, in his writing and in his career in business.

Stay tuned for more STOICON ’16 speakers and topics coming your way soon…

'Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Volume II' Available in Paperback and Kindle

‘Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Volume II’ is now available in both paperback and Kindle e-book

Kindlecover

About the book: Stoicism, the classical philosophy as a way of life practised by the Greeks and Romans, continues to resonate in the modern world. With over forty essays and reflections, this book is simultaneously a guide to practising Stoicism in your own life and to all the different aspects of the modern Stoic revival. You will learn about Stoic practical wisdom, virtue, how to relate wisely to others and the nature of Stoic joy. You will read of life-stories by those who practise Stoicism today, coping with illness and other adversities, and of how Stoicism can be helpful in many areas of modern life, from cultivating calm in the online world to contributing new solutions to the environmental crisis. And, just like the ancient Stoics did, key questions modern Stoics often ask are debated such as: Do you need God to be a Stoic? Is the Stoic an ascetic? Containing both practical wisdom and philosophical reflection, this book – the second in the Stoicism Today series – is for anyone interested in practising the Stoic life in the modern world.

The book is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK in paperback and e-book form.

The cover design is by Rocio De Torres (http://www.rociodetorres.com) 

Table of Contents

Biographies
Foreword
Introduction

Part I: Stoic Theory

What is Stoic Virtue? by Christopher Gill
Cicero on Living the Stoic Life by John Sellars
Responding to Providence by Corey Anton
Epictetus on Affection for Others by Greg Sadler
How to Relate Wisely to Other People by Christopher Gill
Stoicism and Emotions by John Sellars
‘How now, Horatio?’ The Stoic Joy of Nature and Friendship by Sherman J. Clark

Part II: Living the Stoic Life

Falling into Stoicism by Mark Leggett
Stoic Resilience in the Face of Illness by Carmelo Di Maria
On Epictetus and Post-Traumatic Stress by Leonidas Konstantakos
Autism and Stoicism by Chris Peden
How to Set Stoic Goals by Rob Thompson
The Stoic Formula for a Happy Meaningful Life by William Irvine
Stoicism for Passionate People by Lindsay Varnum
Incendiary by Zachary G. Augustine
Loser! by Erik Wiegardt
Reflections of a Practising Buddhist on Stoicism by Garry Bannister

Part III: Stoicism and Society

The Stoic Love of Community by Matt Van Natta
Stoicism and the Environment by Christopher Gill
Would A Stoic Save The Elephants? by Leonidas Konstantakos
The Internet and the Dinner Party: Cultivating Stoic Calm in the Online World by Tanya Brodd
How Does the Stoic Tweet? by Massimo Pigliucci
Stoicism in Business – Let’s Try Something Old! by Jacob Henricson
What Stoicism Taught Me About the Royal Marines by Mark Hardie
A Blueprint for a Philosophical CBT by Jules Evans
How to Become Virtuous – Lessons from Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) by Tim LeBon
Is Stoicism for the Seriously and Persistently Mentally Ill (SPMI), Too? A Reflection on the Clinical            Use of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations by Ian Guthrie
The Police Officer as Stoic by Peter Villiers
‘Barbarians at the Gates’: Stoic Responses to the Refugee Crisis by Kevin Kennedy
Meditation on Past Evils: A Neostoic Spiritual Exercise by John Sellars

Part IV: Debating Stoicism Today

The Stoic Worldview by John Sellars
The Argument For: In Praise of the Logos by Mark Vernon
The Argument Against: In Praise of Modern Stoicism by Tim LeBon
Providence or Atoms? Providence! A Defence of the Stoic Worldview by Christopher Fisher
Providence or Atoms? Atoms! A Defence of Being a Modern Stoic Atheist by Donald Robertson
Without the Divine, there is no Stoicism by Nigel Glassborow
Stoics Are Not Ascetics by Piotr Stankiewicz
Stoics Are Ascetics by Kevin Patrick
Discussing the Stoic Revival