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 7 of Living the Stoic Life!

As our Stoic week now draws to a close, post here anything related to living the Stoic life over the last week.

What were your overall impressions of the Stoic life?

Will you continue on ‘living like a Stoic’?

What would you like to see in the Stoic Fortnight of Spring 2013?

 

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?”

Day 5 of Living the Stoic Life!

Post here any reflections on the Stoic life today! How is it, now five days in? 

‘Whenever, as the sun rises, you feel like you cannot be bothered to get up, have this thought ready to hand:

“I rise to do the work of a human being”

Why feel any resentment, when I am rising to do that for which I was born, for which I was brought into the world? Or was I made instead just to lie under these bedclothes, all warm and comfortable? “Well it is pleasurable to do so!” But were you born just for pleasure? Look at it this way: were you born for passivity or to be a man of action? Can you not see that even the shrubs, sparrows, ants, spiders and bees all do their bit, their part in making up the smooth functioning of the universe? So why don’t you do your bit too, and perform the role of a human being?’

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1

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.]