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:
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…
Day six of Stoic Week: What done amiss? What done? What duty left undone?
Six Days into the Study!
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?
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.
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?’
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.