Official Press Release: Stoic Week 2016

Official press release for Stoic Week 2016 and Stoicon.

cropped-socrates-v1.pngNow in its fifth consecutive year, International Stoic Week is an annual week-long series of free, online events aimed at encouraging public engagement with classical Stoic philosophy and guiding participants in the practice of applying Stoic ideas and practices to the challenges of modern living.

This year, International Stoic Week is scheduled for October 17th-23rd, 2016, following the annual Stoicon Conference in New York City on October 15th. The theme will be Stoicism and Love. The organizing group, Stoicism Today, reports that participation in Stoic Week grew by 66% from 2014 to 2015. Record numbers are expected again this year, surpassing the 3,200 participants worldwide last year.

During Stoic Week, participants will have the opportunity to “live like a Stoic” by following the Stoic Week Handbook, which contains readings, audio, video, and optional group discussions – along with daily practical exercises that combine elements of ancient Stoicism and modern psychology. The free Handbook is presented online with offline versions available in PDF, EPUB (mobile), and MBI (Kindle) formats.

Members of the Stoicism Today project (a collaborative group of philosophers, psychologists, and psychotherapists) are available to discuss Stoic philosophy, Stoic Week, and other related topics via interviews, lectures, and other appearances.

Participants are also encouraged to schedule their own Stoic Week events and share information with the Stoicism Today team for informing the wider Stoic community.

Follow Stoic Week and Stoicism Today on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

To support Stoic Week via donation, use their PayPal form.

Media Inquiries about Stoic Week should be directed to Donald Robertson, and inquiries about Stoicon to Massimo Pigliucci.

Also see our post on the Stoic Guidance for Troubled Times event at Queen Mary University of London on 22nd October.

Stoic Guidance for Troubled Times

Stoic Guidance for Troubled Times is a one-day public event being held at Queen Mary University of London.

Location: Queen Mary University of London, Arts 2 lecture theatre
Date/Time: 2-7.30pm, Saturday 22nd October, 2016
Cost: £15 including tea/coffee and evening drinks

Can the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism help us respond to acute political and personal problems? How does Stoicism reconcile the search for inner peace with affection, love, and social concern?

A series of talks, interviews, and question-and-answer sessions, with scope for audience participation and social breaks. One of a series of such public events at QMUL on Stoic guidance held since 2014.

The programme will include:

  • “Stoic responses to the Brexit vote or a possible Trump victory” with Tim LeBon, a psychotherapist and author of Positive Psychology.
  • Christopher Gill interviews Elena Isayev on her experiences with refugees in the West Bank and the Calais ‘jungle’.  Christopher Gill is an Emeritus Professor and author of several books on Stoicism; he has edited the Oxford World Classics Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Elena Isayev is an Associate Professor who works on migration, refugees and asylum in the ancient and modern world.
  • “The value of Stoic messages in dealing with training, victory and defeat”, Jules Evans talks to member of the Saracens rugby club. Jules Evans is a philosophical writer and author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations.
  • “Stoic approaches to resilience and love” with Donald Robertson,  psychotherapist and author of Stoicism and the Art of Happiness; he also designed a four-week course on promoting Stoic resilience.
  • “Stoic emotions – those we want to get rid of and those we want to develop” with Gabriele Galluzzo, a university lecturer and author of several books on ancient philosophy.

To book for this event go to…

Queen Mary University

Stoic Week 2016

The event forms part of ‘Stoic Week 2016’ – the fifth such event since 2012.  To follow this year’s week-long course on living a Stoic life go to…

http://modernstoicism.com

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.

Announcing Stoic Week 2016

Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium, copyright the Trustees of the British Museum. Reproduced with permission.

Stoic Week is an annual event aimed at encouraging public engagement with classical Stoic philosophy, by applying Stoic ideas and practices to the challenges of modern living.  Stoic Week is an international and online event: anyone can take part.  It is now in its fifth consecutive year and has grown steadily in popularity year on year.  Stoic Week is organized by a multi-disciplinary team we call Stoicism Today.

Stoic Week 2016 will take place from Monday 17th – Sunday 23rd October.  The theme for this year will be: Stoicism and Love.  It follows the Stoicon conference, which will take place in New York on Saturday 15th October.  During Stoic Week, participants will have the opportunity to live like a Stoic by following our seven-day Stoic Week Handbook, which contains reading, audio, video, and group discussions.  It includes daily practical exercises, which combine elements of ancient Stoicism and modern cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  The main version of Stoic Week is an online course.  However, offline versions are also made available, which can be used on mobile devices, using the PDF, EPUB, and MBI (Kindle) e-book formats.

Last year, over 3,200 people from around the world took part in Stoic Week.  We collected data from over 2,500 participants, which was published by Tim LeBon in the Stoic Week 2015 Report available online.  Since it began, Stoic Week has been covered extensively by the media around the world and features heavily in social media discussions and blog posts.  You can follow Stoic Week and Stoicism Today on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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

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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

STOICON lands in the Big Apple

Stoicon Lands in the Big Apple

by Massimo Pigliucci

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STOICON is the now recurring annual meeting for people curious about Stoicism, or who already practice the philosophy and wish to meet fellow prokopta, go in-depth on specific topics, or just hang around the authors of an increasing number of books on ancient and modern Stoicism. The event also takes place in synch with the annual Stoic Week, coordinated by Don Robertson, a chance to actually live like a Stoic for a few days while also helping the group at the University of Exeter to keep gathering data on whether and how Stoicism “works” when applied to the cultural setting of the 21st century.

This year, after a number of editions taking place in London and most recently organized by the excellent Jules Evans, STOICON is jumping the pond for a stint in New York City. Mark the date: Saturday, 15 October (and while you are at it, register now. See here for more information, including the program). It’s an experiment to test new waters, bring Stoicism to new audiences, and further evolve the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?).

The idea is not to permanently relocate, however, but rather to see if we can involve several groups of organizers in different parts of the world. Who knows? 2017 may be the turn of Canada, or Australia, or perhaps Japan. We shall see, fate permitting, and let us know if you might be interested in hosting it.

Meanwhile, though, let me tell you a bit about STOICON ’16. We have a lineup of 14 speakers, some well known from events past, others brand new, in an attempt to mix continuity and novel directions.

The morning session will see a number of half hour talks, including:

  • “Is Stoic virtue as off-putting as it seems?” by Julia Annas
  • “Let us take care of ourselves: Stoic exercises and Foucault” by Cinzia Aruzza
  • “Albert Ellis: A Model of Resiliency, Compassion, and Stoicism in Action” by Debbie Joffe Ellis
  • “Stoicism as a wellbeing intervention in the workplace, prisons and mental health charities” by Jules Evans
  • “Can you be a Stoic and a political activist?” by Chris Gill
  • “On Becoming an Insult Pacifist” by Bill Irvine
  • “Stoicism, mindfulness, and cognitive therapy” by Don Robertson
  • and “Hard Truths and Happiness in Stoicism” by John Sellars.

The group will then break out for lunch in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, and reconvene for a series of more targeted workshops, running in parallel:

  • “Introduction to REBT as a Healthy and Empowered Way of Life” again by Debbie Joffe Ellis
  • “Poor but happy? Aristotle and the Stoics on external goods” by Gabriele Galluzzo
  • “Does Stoicism work?” by Tim LeBon
  • “Sati & Prosoche: Buddhist vs. Stoic Mindfulness in Theory & Practice” by Greg Lopez,
  • Struggling With Anger? Useful Stoic Perspectives and Practices” by Greg Sadler
  • and “Everything you wanted to know about Stoicism but were afraid to ask” by yours truly.

We count on our fellow Stoics to have stamina, because after the morning session and afternoon workshops we will hear Ryan Holiday, best selling author of The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, deliver the keynote speech, which will be followed by a social gathering for general chatting.

We are also introducing a new social & fundraising effort this year, which will take place after the conference will be over: people who will be able to book in time will join several of our speakers at a number of restaurants in Manhattan (one group per speaker per restaurant) for a nice meal and a more intimate and relaxed discussion with Bill, Cinzia, Debbie, Don, Gabriele, Greg S., Ryan, or myself.

After more than a millennium and a half of hiatus and indirect influence (on fellows like Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Montaigne, Spinoza, and so on) Stoicism is coming back to life, shaping up as an ecumenical big tent for people of different religious inclinations (from Buddhists to Christians to atheists) and political persuasions to come together and explore whether the life of virtue really is the good life that Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius promised. Join us for STOICON ’16 in New York City and contribute to the discussion!

Massimo Pigliucci is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He is an evolutionary biologist and a philosopher of science, whose writings can be found at platofootnote.org and howtobeastoic.org. He has written or edited ten books, most recently Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (University of Chicago Press). He grew up in Rome, reading Seneca and Cicero, but re-discovered Stoicism only recently. He sports two philosophy-related tattoos…

Announcement: Upcoming Stoic Camp in the Rockies

Upcoming Stoic Camp in the Rockies

The Rockies

The University of Wyoming Philosophy Department will be hosting a five-day Stoic Camp at Table in the Wilderness Camp, located in Centennial, WY, running from May 16-20, 2016.  A central goal of the camp is “to experiment with living in a thoroughly philosophical way, using the stoics as our model, and to explore what it means to live intentionally.”

The five days will include rigorous study of two key Stoic texts (Epictetus’ Enchiridion and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations), guided by philosophy faculty and guest speakers. The location also affords excellent opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and bonfires, welcoming the sunrise, and appreciation of the natural environment.

Meals are included in the price for the camp (at present yet to be determined).  The organizers are attempting to maintain prices at no more than $300 per participant.   For more information about the camp, please see the Stoic Camp 2016 website.  You can also email them directly at mailto:uwyostoiccamp2015@gmail.com

'Does Stoicism make you Happier?' by Tim LeBon

Does Stoicism make you Happier?

by Tim LeBon

We might well envy the Romans for being able to attend Epictetus’ lectures and having a ruler as wise as Marcus Aurelius. But we have at least one advantage over them – the internet.  Modern technology enables the Stoicism Today project to connect thousands of people and carry out large-scale research on Stoicism and its effectiveness.  In November 2015 over two and a half thousand participants filled in questionnaires at the start of Stoic Week asking them 31 questions relating to their level of Stoicism and 25 questions about their well-being. By using statistical analysis (another innovation not available to the ancients) we can infer whether being Stoic is associated with well-being – or not. Furthermore we can start to tell which Stoic attitudes and behaviours appear to be the most “active ingredients”

You can read the full report here. Here are some headlines:

  • The vast majority of Stoic attitudes and behaviours are strongly associated with well-being.  This is true however you measure well-being – whether as satisfaction with life, flourishing, or the balance of positive over negative emotions
  • The Stoic attitudes and behaviours most strongly associated with well-being include the cardinal virtues (self-control, practical wisdom, courage and justice), Stoic mindfulness and cognitive distancing.  You can see how each of the 31 items fared here.
  • Some (but not all) plausible anti-Stoic attitudes turn out to be negatively associated with well-being.
  • We asked some experts on Stoicism for their predictions as to which items would be the most “active ingredients”. Although their predictions were generally good, the connection between well-being and the cardinal virtues was significantly under-estimated.

These findings need to be qualified in a number of ways. Participants were self-selecting, correlation does not imply causation, and the questionnaire we have developed to measure levels of Stoicism (the SABS scale) requires further psychometric validation. Further research is clearly needed,  yet taken with the other findings from Stoic Week – including the fact that doing Stoic Week increases well-being for most participants– the indications all point towards Stoicism making you happier.

The fourth and final report from Stoic Week will appear on this site in a few weeks time.

Tim LeBon is a BABCP accredited CBT psychoptherapist and UKCP registered existential therapist, an APPA and SPP registered philosophical counsellor and is also trained as a life coach and integrative counsellor. He is a past Chair of the Society for Philosophy in Practice (SPP) and the founding editor of Practical Philosophy. He is  the author of Wise Therapy (Sage, 2001) and Achieve your Potential with Positive Psychology (Hodder Teach Yourself Books, 2014). You can read more about Tim’s work on his blog, Socrates Satisfied, and his website.

Save the Date – Stoicon 2016 In New York City!

Save the Date – Stoicon 2016 In New York City!

For the first time, Stoicon is moving across the Atlantic!  This fourth annual conference that brings together experts on Stoicism – providing talks, workshops, and conversation – will be hosted in New York City (place TBA at present) on Saturday, October 15.

Massimo Pigliucci, Gregory Lopez, and Amy Valladares are presently at work to organize and finalize the details for what promises to be an engaging and productive Stoicon 2016.

Ryan Holiday will deliver the keynote address for the conference.  The roster of speakers providing a variety of other talks and workshops so far includes Cinzia Arruzza, Gabriele Galluzzo, Christopher Gill, William Irvine, Gregory Lopez, Massimo Pigliucci, Donald Robertson, and Greg Sadler.

The Stoicon talks and workshops are geared towards the general public interested in understanding and applying Stoicism in the context of modern life.  For more information at the present time, click here.  We’ll be posting much more about the conference here in Stoicism Today in the months to come.

There’s plenty of time to plan for Stoic Week and Stoicon 2016, so mark October 15 on your calendar, and get ready to get your Stoic On!