Anyone completely new to Stoicism who is going to follow the Stoic Week may want to read some ancient Stoic texts but not know where to begin. For the purposes of this project I would recommend two texts: The Handbook of Epictetus (cited a number of times in the booklet) and Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life. Both of these texts are short, accessible, and to the point. Reading them and reflecting on their ideas would itself form a productive exercise during the week. I have made copies of both available online, and they should display reasonably well on mobile devices.
Download the Booklet
You are all, wherever you are around the world, warmly invited to take part in our Stoic week!
Above is the link to the thirty-page booklet, a joint effort by academics and psychotherapists who have studied Stoicism, a booklet which you can use during our Stoic week [November 26th – December 3rd]. It contains all that you need for the week, including important (yet practical) background theory, specific advice (including bringing Stoicism to work), as well as a host of Stoic exercises (‘askeseis’) which you can practise. Take your time to read and reflect on the booklet this weekend, and be ready to live the Stoic life come this Monday, joining people from all over the world, in living the wisdom of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, et al.!
Online poll: “Who is your favourite Stoic?” Answer to see results from previous votes.
Our first Stoic week will be from Monday 26th November – 3rd December. This will include following key Stoic principles, and the practice of specific askeseis (spiritual exercises) on a daily basis. A booklet is currently being put together by academics and psychotherapists which will be uploaded by this coming Friday (23rd November) at the latest. Check back later in the week to download a copy. You are invited to join in this experiment!
Interviews on the dialogue between psychotherapy and academia on adapting Stoicism for the modern day, including ideas on the way forward. See below: watch and leave your reaction!
The System of Stoic Philosophy
Copyright (c) Donald Robertson, 2012. All rights reserved.
This article attempts to summarise some of the structured elements of the early Stoic philosophical system, such as the tripartite classification of the topics of philosophy, the virtues, the passions, and their subdivisions, etc., as reputedly described by the primary sources. It’s still a work in progress, see please feel free to post comments or corrections.
This reflective essay, drawing on parallels with the adaptation of Buddhist mindfulness practice into the eight week mindfulness programme, offers one approach for the applications of Stoicism in Healthcare today. Patrick Ussher explores the parallels in this piece.
Please read and share your thoughts.
N.B. This is reposted from our Ancient Healthcare: Modern Wellbeing blog.
“MA Student Patrick Ussher reports on the recent Medication event held at the University of Exeter:
On the 22nd February, 2012, the University of Exeter’s Meditation Society held an exploratory session with the theme
‘Stoic Meditation: Learning from the Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.’ The session was led by Prof. Christopher Gill, professor of Ancient Thought in the Classics department, and by Patrick Ussher, MA Classics student. It was part of the University’s mental wellbeing day.
The session began with Prof. Gill outlining the core principles within Stoic psychology as well as a discussion on what Stoicism can offer today. On this, Prof. Gill put forward that Stoicism has ‘…a coherent and powerful philosophy of life, based on a connected framework for correlating ethics with psychology and our study of the natural universe.’ We then turned our attention to Marcus Aurelius and the meditative nature of his ongoing philosophical dialogue with himself, as well as the specific principles within those dialogues. As an example, Continue reading “An Evening of Stoic Meditation”
Supporting papers for the Exeter workshop, including a discussion of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and its possible usefulness for modern psychotherapy, from the workshop at Exeter University 5th-6th October. Delve in and post your thoughts!
In 2012, the Stoic Week was followed by the James Allen Girls’ School in London. You can read about their experience of it here. In 2013, schools all over the UK are taking part in Stoic Week, including Wellington, Shrewsbury, Brooke House Sixth Form College in London, St. Cuthberts, the James Allen Girls’ School, and also abroad, including a school in the Netherlands, Hermann Wesselink College, and Jerudong School in Brunei.
Please get in touch if you are planning to talk about Stoicism with your students!
We’ve prepared some resources which could be used for in-class discussion:
Epictetus Discussion Pack: Three Extracts from Epictetus with Suggested Questions for In-Class Discussion
Marcus Aurelius Discussion Pack: Four extracts from Marcus Aurelius with Suggested Questions for In-Class Discussion