Video: Marcus Aurelius' Meditations on The Nature of Stoic Philosophy

Video animation of an excerpt from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, describing the nature of Stoic philosophy.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Blues-Rock Version

Complete the Stoic Attitudes Scale Online

You can now complete a test version of the Stoic Attitudes Scale online.

Looks like there’s a problem with this cutting off the rightmost “strongly agree” option when displayed on this page but you can do the survey on Polldaddy via the button below:

Take the Stoic Attitudes Survey

Perspectives: Philosophical Therapy as Preventive Psychological Medicine

Christopher Gill, Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter, shares his views on the function of philosophical therapy in antiquity.

‘What contribution was made to the treatment of mental illness in antiquity by philosophical essays on the therapy of emotions? To what extent can we – moderns – recognize in these essays a credible response to mental illness? In this discussion, I explore both these questions, in the belief that each of these lines of enquiry may illuminate each other. A key point, bearing on both questions, is the suggestion that the philosophical essays were intended to function as a psychological analogue for ancient medical regimen, or what we call ‘life-style management’ or ‘preventive medicine’. I begin by developing this suggestion in general terms before relating this idea to the emergence of a distinct genre or body of writings on the therapy of the emotions in the Hellenistic and Roman Imperial periods. Next, I analyse the core strategy of this kind of philosophical therapy, identifying four key recurrent themes. I illustrate this schema, referring especially to Galen’s newly found essay, Avoiding Distress, taken as representing a Platonic-Aristotelian approach, on the one hand, and to Seneca’s On Peace of Mind, representing the Stoic approach, on the other. I then return to the idea that such works are designed to function as preventive psychological medicine, and ask whether they embody an approach to psychological health-care that we could find useful under modern conditions.’

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?

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!”

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…”

Roundup of Recent Posts 2

Roundup of recent posts 2.

Roundup of Recent Posts 2

Remember to follow @Stoicweek on Twitter #Stoicweek for daily updates snippets.

And another two video diaries!