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July 2018 Newsletter


Indifferents Quarterly
Lighting the Torch of Virtue

JULY 2018

Message from the Board

Greetings! As the weather warms for those of us in the north, so too has activity within The Stoic Fellowship been heating up. We’re grateful to count an additional six stoas as the newest members of our global community this past quarter. Perhaps a special shout-out is due to the Pretoria Stoics of South Africa for lighting the first torch of stoic virtue on the continent of Africa.

We’re now humbled to say that The Stoic Fellowship has a presence on all six of the major continents. But we won’t stop there! We’re in communication with a number of locations in Antarctica in an effort to secure a footing on what might be the most challenging place to live on earth. What better place to practice Stoicism?

While it’s been an exceptional quarter, we look forward to what’s ahead. This next quarter brings our annual Stoic Games Day, Stoicon 2018, and countless opportunities to practice Stoicism in your everyday life.

We’re simultaneously humbled and grateful for the volunteer efforts that our members continue to contribute toward our mission of building, fostering, and connecting communities of Stoics around the world.

Ad astra!

- Greg, James, and Nick

Welcome to Our New Stoic Communities

We would like to welcome the following six new Stoic communities to The Stoic Fellowship!

Regional Support

East Coast, Australia
We are continuing to grow our online community and trying to develop a place for new groups to develop.

West Coast, U.S.A.
Combining Service and Practice, this past month members of the West Coast Region spent some time volunteering at the Alameda County Fair. It was a great day in the sun keeping the Fair grounds clean, practicing Stoic principles and serving the community.

In July, we’re looking forward to at least four Practice Events (game days) and also joining the Rheinland Stoiker in a fun and, first of its kind, Philosophical Olympics. See link for details. This is your invitation to join us for a Summer field day!

In March we began our journey through the Discourses of Epictetus and are this week completing book II. Each week we read another 7-8 pages and are on track to finish ahead of Stoicon.

Updates from the Committees

Membership Committee

This past quarter, 103 people reached out to The Stoic Fellowship from all across the globe, 43% of whom showed interest in starting a community! Here’s a list of places where communities have or may pop up in the future, so if you’re from around any of the parts listed below, reach out to us and we can put you in contact with current or potential founder of new Stoic groups in your area!

Activities Committee

July is The Stoic Fellowship's Month of Practice. This is our opportunity to exercise the wisdom of the philosophy and the words of Musonius Rufus:

"Although understanding the theory behind the action enables one to speak, it is practice that enables one to act… "

In this month especially, you are encouraged to get out there and put your studies into action. Pick a skill you would like to develop and try it for a week or two. Whether it is journaling, meditation, memento mori, premeditatio malorum, amor fati; or practicing determining good-bad-indifferent, in your control or not, or deciding what standard or role applies, this is your time to explore these ideas and gauge their benefit.

To further participate and help your local stoa, plan to attend or host a practice event. In general, games are a wonderful model for the events of life: good luck, bad luck, things in your control and others not. The real practice is, no matter what happens, to maintain your will in a way that conforms to nature. Virtue lives in the effort.

Schedule your event today. Make a poster and share it with your Global Stoic Community!

STOICONX: Coming Soon! After the month of practice, we’ll be turning our focus toward StoiconX, our local information days, with the goal of having one more than last year and at least one event on every continent. We need your help to reach this goal, visit the Stoicon Page today to find out how you can help achieve this historical goal with a simple meeting in your area.

Updates from Stoas Around the World

NYC Stoics (New York City, NY, USA):
The NYC Stoics are in the midst of a year of studying Marcus Aurelius. We are currently reading his Meditations, taking on two books a month, and are currently halfway through.

Concurrently, the NYC Stoics practice group is finishing up practicing Epictetus’ Discipline of Desire and Aversion, and we will be moving on to the Discipline of Action this July, which we will engage in for three months.

In August, we are running the fourth annual Stoic Camp NY in collaboration with Massimo Pigliucci from The Stoic School of Life. All the spots for Stoic Camp NY 2018 are currently full, with a long waitlist, but keep an eye out for openings next year, fate permitting!

Finally, Greg Lopez, founder of the NYC Stoics and Director of Membership for The Stoic Fellowship, will be running a workshop at Stoicon 2018 on September 29 in London. It will tentatively be on the proper application of preconceptions (prolepseis) in theory and practice. This is a major topic in Epictetus’ Stoic curriculum -- he claims that the misapplication of preconceptions is the “cause of all human ills”. If this claim is correct, then the proper application of preconceptions is kinda a big deal!

Brisbane Stoics (Brisbane, Australia):
The Brisbane Stoics are continuing to discuss Seneca on a monthly basis. We also have a Stoicism vs Epicurus planned and Brisbane StoiconX 2018 in the works.

London Stoics:
In July of this year the London stoa will be two years old, so at the next meeting will be celebrating both our birthday and our second International Stoic Game Day. At the last meeting the topic was love (according to the Stoics) and we had the pleasure to welcome John Sellars who came to pay us a visit (John is a member of the Modern Stoicism team, author of a couple of books on Stoicism, not to mention the organiser of this year’s Stoicon). Getting members to read relevant resources or gather relevant quotes ahead of the meeting has proved a tad difficult, so in future we may be moving from a topic-centred meeting to a book-centred one, possibly using Ryan Holliday’s “Daily Stoic” or Ward Farnsworth’s “The Practising Stoic” - the idea being that we will have the quotes handy and we can take turns in reading and interpreting each passage. .

Orlando Stoics (Orlando, FL, USA):
We are currently reading How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci in our Monday night group, and Letters from a Stoic by Seneca in our Friday night group. Both meetings had lots of newcomers in the past few months, and it was great to hear their points of view. Most newcomers visit once or twice and then disappear, but 5 recent newcomers have become regular members.

Des Moines Stoics (Des Moines, IA, USA):
At the time of this publication, Des Moines Stoics will be one year old. We spent most of our first year reading Epictetus’ Enchiridion, which turned out to be an excellent choice to start with. The text worked well for engaging everyone there. The group wished to try a modern author for our next reading, so we are now working through Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson. I suspect we will be digging into Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations in the fall. Inspired (completely stolen from) Stoicism Toronto we’ve added a Philosophy Café event, which had its first meetup at the end of June. The RSVPs for this new event were initially encouraging, however that same core group attended. It was still fun for all and we plan on continuing it.

Milwaukee Stoics (Milwaukee, WI, USA):
The Milwaukee Stoic Fellowship finished up roughly 8 months of study and discussion of Seneca's Letters, and voted to shift to another classic Stoic text, Epictetus' Discourses. The June monthly meeting started with chapter 1-6 of book 1. In addition to the monthly meeting, this Spring, the MKE Stoic Fellowship began hosting weekly Saturday Stoic Walk and Talks in a local park. During these sessions, participants walk together and discuss a short passage from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. Meetings in the months to come will include planning for Stoic Week 2018, most likely involving a local event here in Milwaukee.

Startup Stoa (Fremont, CA, USA):
We’ve stuck to our 7:30 AM meetings and walkabout around Lake Elizabeth in beautiful Fremont, CA. We have plans to have additional meetings at coffee shops at a more reasonable time. The 7:30 am slot works well for the core group which is between 3-5 folks. Format is wide open, no real agenda. Daily Stoic (Ryan Holiday) is read for sure, during our walk around the lake. Taking in nature during our walk always highlights our meeting, we make it a point to comment about the water, birds, sunlights, wind and pause often (Marcus would be proud of us!). James has started an in-depth stoic study series beginning at 7:00 AM during the summer months. This is truly a delight and the course material is great. There are about 45+ members in our meetup, but active participants are less than 10.

Denver Stoics (Denver, CO, USA):
The ongoing undercurrent of our meetings has been applying role ethics. We’ve been exploring how roles are given to us, how we choose roles, how roles relate to each other and how appropriate actions arise from our roles. As part of this exercise we are exploring the application of logical and mathematical functions on roles and the use of software engineering diagrams to describe role relations and interactions.

Colorado Springs Stoa (CO, USA):
The Colorado Springs Stoa has been steadily growing and finding its footing as a group. At our last meeting we organized our discussion around the topic of friendship, and that proved effective as a frame for exploring Stoic practice and theory.

Bellingham Stoics (Bellingham, WA, USA):
In April our Stoa participated in the month of service as part of the Stoic West Coast Fellowship. We attended a salmon habitat restoration work party organized by the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. During our regular meeting we discussed Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson. We hold open book-groups, where everyone is welcome even if they haven’t read it. That month we had 6 attendees, only 2 of which did the reading. Instead of being a problem, it created opportunities. The best way to learn something is to teach it. New members who didn’t do the reading asked thoughtful questions about Stoicism, and more experienced members had the opportunity to learn by teaching.

In May we began the process of exploring 2 books in parallel. On the 2nd Saturday of the month we have a meditation group based on More than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Skeptical Age by Antonia Macaro. We open those meetings with a 15 minute meditation, and are working through it one chapter per month. On the 4th Saturday we’re continuing our study of Stoic literature as before. In May we read the Enchiridion, starting our 5 month series on Epictetus. From June through September we’re going to read his Discourses.

Oslo Stoics (Oslo, Norway):
We are still working our way through The Inner Citadel by Hadot. The turnout for the last few meetings has been quite low, but it seems like that more people will show up for the next meeting. Three of our members are going to the Stoic Summer School in Rome next month, and we are all looking forward to that.
I am done with all of my exams for the semester, and I will try to work on the Norwegian translation of the Discourses this summer. Hopefully, I will be able to translate book 1 during the summer.

Rheinland Stoiker (Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany):
In our last Meetup we discussed the book How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. We especially discussed what the Stoics mean with living in accordance with nature.

Our next meetup in July/August will be about Stoicism in everyday life. We read a German book about Stoicism and see which ethical advices are still modern.

We‘re also looking forward doing our first Philosophical Olympics this summer.

DC Metro Area Stoa (Washington DC, USA):
Over the past quarter we focused on Seneca’s “On Anger” and “On Clemency.” A group member brought in Martha Nussbaum’s “Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice” as well. It seems that we have a few young professionals who are looking to get along better with their peers and bosses at work. Some practical takeaways: 1. Acting when angry will always be a bad move, 2. Give yourself space whenever you begin to feel angry, 3. Forgiving others has practical implications for your own peace of mind, so you want to do that. The “How” is really the follow-on question and we gave each other some case studies to figure out how we can get comfortable not being angry and being more forgiving to those who may have caused us injury, and how to question why we feel we may have been injured. It’s one thing to know what the right thing to do is, but it can be difficult to internalize it. We found it helpful to listen to each other’s strategies, such as setting calendar reminders, or changing people’s names on our cell phones to give us reminders about what not to discuss on our next phone call. A common theme was “if you don’t know the right thing to do, know what the wrong thing is and just don’t do that.”

Amsterdam Stoics (Amsterdam, Netherlands):
We had our first meeting and it was met with a lot of enthusiasm and 100% attendance. The guide with lessons learned from the other Stoas was key to having a great meeting. We discussed the video The Philosophy of Stoicism by Massimo Pigliucci as suggested on a curriculum provided by Greg Lopez.

Some of the attendees suggested topics they'd like to see such as cognitive biases and emotions to support our communication during the discussions. We will have our second meeting in the end of July and discuss the Euthydemus and virtue as the highest good.

People joined from many different cities. It would be great if more communities are started in the country.

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