Roundup of Stoic Week in the Press and Blogs

Many, many thanks go to all those who took part in the Stoic week, and especially those who have given very useful feedback for our next Stoic experiment in the spring!

Over the next few days, some interesting results from this feedback will be posted on the blog. In the meantime, here is a roundup of press interest in Stoic Week, and also some thoughtful (and inspiring) blog posts:

Guardian, ‘Be Stoic for a Week (stiff upper lip not required)’, Patrick Ussher

Guardian, ‘A Reminder that Stoicism can be Divine’, Mark Vernon

Independent, ‘Why are we so obsessed with therapy?’, Julian Baggini

Response to ‘Why are we so obsessed with therapy’, Jules Evans

Review of Stoic Week, by Chris at Simple Resilience

Stoic Week and a Trip to ER, by Joe Callahan at Agathoi

Stoic Week at the Thoughtful Writer 

Stoic Week on Gill Garratt’s blog

And a Youtube playlist of all the video diaries posted during the week

Roundup and New Poll: "What Next?"

Roundup of recent posts and new poll: “What next?”

Roundup of Recent Posts
Plus New Poll: What Next?

Well done students of Stoicism!  Make sure you complete the measures again, though.  We need your lovely data to make #Stoicweek work.  Today’s statistics:

  • We had over 8,000 hits on the Stoicism Today website during Stoic Week alone!
  • About 140 people reported they were participating in the study.
  • Over 1,100 people have now viewed the original Youtube Video of the workshop at Exeter University organised by Prof. Gill.
  • We have also acquired over 160 new Twitter (@Stoicweek) followers during the week.
  • Over 120 people commented on The Guardian article by Patrick about Stoic Week.
  • Over a fourteen Youtube video diaries have been uploaded by Stoic Week participants.
  • Over 380 people have voted so far in the poll “Who is your favourite Stoic?“.

What next, though?  You can vote in the poll below (up to three choices) for any ancient philosophy you fancy doing as an alternative to #Stoicweek in the future.  Underneath is a roundup of recent posts in case you missed anything…

Have you missed anything important?

End of Week Scales and Feedback Questionnaire

Don’t forget to retake the surveys below for analysis, and also to take the general feedback questionnaire. Your responses will be really helpful for designing the Stoic Fortnight in Spring 2013. Continue reading “End of Week Scales and Feedback Questionnaire”

Day 6 of Living the Stoic Life!

Day six of Stoic Week: What done amiss? What done? What duty left undone?

Six Days into the Study!

Chrysippus
Chrysippus

We’re reaching the end of the study.  Keep up the good Stoic work, though! Some facts and figures…  We set up a new Twitter account for @Stoicweek where we’ve been posting regular snippets and links.  From zero followers at the start of the week, it now has nearly 150.  You can also see a lot of chat using the Twitter hashtag #Stoicweek. The poll we set up “Who is your favourite Stoic?” has actually had the largest response with nearly 370 people having voted so far.How goes it, though?  What have you learned about yourself?  What problems have you encountered?  What faculties or virtues has nature provided you with to deal with its demands over the week?

What done amiss?  What done?  What duty left undone?

Continue reading “Day 6 of Living the Stoic Life!”

Is there a revival of Stoicism, and where could it go?

We’re coming to the end of Stoic Week. People all over the world have been practicing Stoic exercises and reflecting on Stoic ideas this week, thanks to this wonderful initiative, launched by a young post-grad at Exeter University called Patrick Ussher. Some of Patrick’s students have been sharing their thoughts on the exercises via YouTube. This is what studying philosophy at university should be like – experimenting, practicing, reflecting, sharing.

Of course, hardcore Stoics might say we shouldn’t share the fruits of our practice – we should ‘tell no one’, as Epictetus puts it. But I actually think it’s good to share your practice with other Stoics, as long as you’re not showing off.My own rather humble practice this week has been to knock off the booze for a week. Small steps, I know – but I’ve stuck to it out of the thought that it’s not just me practicing – there are lots of us out there, committing to this week. We’re stronger when bounded together.

It’s also been a good opportunity for people to say how they’ve been helped by Stoic writings in their life. People like Dorothea from Vancouver, Continue reading “Is there a revival of Stoicism, and where could it go?”

A Crash Course in Stoicism: Stop, Look, Listen…

Abbreviated version of an earlier post on a three-step Stoic procedure described by Epictetus.

A Crash Course in Stoicism

Copyright (c) Donald Robertson, 2012.  All rights reserved.  This is an abbreviated version of an earlier blog article.

In his discourse entitled “we ought not to yearn for things that are not under our control” (Discourses, 3.24), the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, described three steps used to cope with apparent misfortunes. He intended that these should be rigorously rehearsed until they become habitual…

Have thoughts like these ready at hand by night and by day; write them, read them, make your conversation about them, communing with yourself, or saying to another, “Can you give me some help in this matter?”

Later he says:

If you have these thoughts always at hand and go over them again and again in your own mind, and keep them in readiness, you will never need another person to console you, or strengthen you.

Speaking to a group of aspiring Stoic students, he outlines the recommended steps to be memorised and rehearsed as follows. Continue reading “A Crash Course in Stoicism: Stop, Look, Listen…”

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

The poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

[James Stockdale, who used Stoicism to cope with captivity during the Vietnam War, says that this poem helped him get through the ordeals he faced.]