Category Archives: Stoic Week

Stoic Week 2014 – Everything You Need to Know

Stoic Week 2014: Everything You Need to Know

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Stoic Week 2014 is an online and international event taking place from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th November. This is its third year. Anyone can participate by following the daily instructions in the Stoic Week 2014 Handbook, which will be published online. You will be following the Stoic practices of philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus, for seven days, and discussing the experience of adapting them for modern living with other participants in our online forums. The aims of the course are to introduce the philosophy so that you can see how it might be useful in your own life and to measure its potential therapeutic effectiveness.

About Stoicism: Stoicism was first practised in the Graeco-Roman world in around 300 BC. At the core of Stoicism is the idea that virtue, or strength of character, is the most important thing in life. They focussed on ‘following nature’ by perfecting the rational nature of the human being, through cultivating wisdom, courage, temperance and justice, and also on bringing to fruition the social nature of the human being, by aiming to excel in our social roles, whether familial or in society at large. Stoicism, therefore, is simultaneously a philosophy of inner strength and outer excellence.

About the course: The course guides you through all the basic ideas of Stoicism. Each day has its own theme, exercises to practise, reflections from original Stoic texts to consider. It has been written by the Stoicism Today team, an interdisciplinary group of academics and psychotherapists. You are also encouraged to take wellbeing surveys before and after the week, so that we can measure the course’s effectiveness.

Registration: The course is not held on the Stoicism Today website but on its sister website, modernstoicism.com. Please register for the course on that website, and fill in the pre-week questionnaires the weekend before Stoic Week commences, and again once Stoic Week is over. At the moment, there is no course content on the website, but you can register now by following these two steps:

1. Create an account on modernstoicism.com if you don’t have one already.

2. Visit the main course page for Stoic Week 2014 and click the ‘enrol’ button.

You will receive an automatic email with further instructions.
 

Want to share your experiences during the week? There will be very active discussion boards during Stoic Week on the course website. You can also post your reflections on the Stoicism Facebook group.

I would like to meet other people interested in Stoicism face to face not just online. How can I do this? 

If you live in the UK, there is a one-day event being held at Queen Mary, University of London, on November 29th. There are 300 places for the event, so you should book now to avoid disappointment. Click here for more information. Videos and audio recordings of this event are planned, and will be uploaded onto the Stoicism Today website in the weeks that follow Stoic Week. You can see a video of last year’s London event here.

There are also other events being organised around the world. Click here for a round-up of these events. Get in touch if you are organising an event and would like it listed on the blog.

What were the results of last year’s study? Last year, around 2,400 people took part in Stoic Week worldwide. Our findings supported the view that Stoicism is helpful. Participants reported a 14% improvement in life satisfaction, a 9% increase in positive emotions (joy increased the most of all emotions, whilst optimism increased by 18%) and an 11% decrease in negative emotions. The findings also supported the view that Stoicism not only increases well-being but also enhances virtue –  56% of participants gave themselves a mark of 80% or more when asked whether it had made them a better person and made them wiser.

What else can I look forward to during Stoic Week? On the Stoicism Today blog during Stoic Week, there will be personal testimonies of how Stoicism has been useful in people’s lives, as well as articles tackling various stereotypes of Stoicism, and reflections by prominent authors on Stoicism and its uses in the modern world. Get in touch if you would like to share reflections on how Stoicism has been helpful in your life.

Stoicism in Schools: Are you a teacher? We are working on developing a two-page lesson plan for introducing Stoic philosophy in school. 60 schools world-wide have already signed up. Please check back often or contact us for more information.

There will also be participants from HMP Low Moss Prison in Scotland taking part.

Stoicism in the Media: If you would like to run a feature Stoic Week, please get in touch. You can read of the previous media interest in Stoic Week here.

Please share this page with anyone you think might be interested, and post it on Facebook and Twitter.

Stoic Week’s twitter account is @StoicWeek. The Facebook page for Stoic Week 2014 can be found here.

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Want An Unconquerable Mind? Try Stoic Philosophy

New to Stoicism Today? Check out Stoic Week 2014!

Carrie Sheffield wrote a piece about Stoic Week for Forbes Magazine in November 2013.  In this excerpt from that article, reproduced with her kind permission, Carrie explores five core Stoic ideals.

Want an Unconquerable Mind? Try Stoic Philosophy

Aurelius

Richard Harris as Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the 2000 blockbuster “Gladiator”

1. Immediately Recognize What Is Out Of Your Control.

A stoic leader realizes thatonly his thoughts and intentions are truly within his sphere of control;everything else is ultimately uncontrollable.

“Anyone in a leadership role must come to terms quickly with the paradox of their position: that leaders must wield power but that often so much that happens lies outside of their control,” Robertson toldForbes. “How do we accept the limits of our power without slumping into passivity?”

Robertson said people sometimes confuse stoicism with submissiveness, but calls this “a very superficial misunderstanding.” Students of ancient stoicism tended to be sons from wealthy, cosmopolitan families. Many went on to rule empires or advise great leaders in commerce and war.

“Can you point to a single historical stoic who sat on his hands?” quips Robertson, whose forthcoming book, Stoicism and the Art of Happiness: A Teach Yourself Guide, is due early next year. “It’s just not in the nature of their philosophy to be doormats or stay-at-home types.”

Robertson gave an analogy by Cato of Utica that a stoic is like an archer who diligently and confidently notches his arrow and draws his bow but must accept that once his arrow has flown it could be blown off course or its target could move.

Stoic managers take great pains to aim well but must accept what happens with total equanimity.

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Stoic Week REDUX

 

Did you miss Stoic Week 2013?  Or would you be interested in doing it again?  This is your chance!  Starting on Monday 7th April 2014, we’re asking for volunteers to repeat Stoic Week on a more informal basis.  We may keep this going by repeating the Handbook, starting on Mondays, over the next few weeks, so you can drop-in or drop-out.  Use this discussion thread and the Google+ Community to support each other by posting updates each day (if possible) and commenting supportively on other people’s updates.

You can read (or print) a free HTML copy of the Stoic Week 2013 Handbook on the new modernstoicism.com e-learning website.  There’s also an EPUB e-book version of the Handbook, which you can read on most tablets, mobile phones, and e-readers, etc.  You’ll also find the audio/video materials for Stoic Week on the Stoicism Today website.

If you’re interested in taking part in Stoic Week, please register to use the modernstoicism.com e-learning site and introduce yourself on the general discussion forum thread below below, or just post any questions you have.

General Discussion Forum: Stoic Week REDUX