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April 2018 Newsletter

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Indifferents Quarterly
Lighting the Torch of Virtue

APRIL 2018

Message from the Board

The Earth continues its march through the seasons and we go along willingly, considering what’s ahead and making the necessary adjustments and preparations. More than surviving these seasonal changes, we have the power to turn them into advantage and opportunity - to consider, plan, and engage in the practice of virtue.

For the Fellowship, the committee season has begun. Teams are working on Activities, Resources, and Member support in order to further the overall mission of helping to build, foster, and connect communities of Stoics around the world. We hope to continue making progress in these areas and on all our goals for 2018. As always, your individual support and participation will be crucial to any success we have. The community needs you.

This April is The Stoic Fellowship’s first Month of Service. Drawing inspiration from Marcus Aurelius in particular, whose birthday is April 26th, last year the Fellowship adopted this special theme for the month. So far, a few groups are participating, and it is not too late to consider how you may be of service to others and the world. Even the smallest acts of kindness ripple through the social fabric. For example, in the early 20th century a young man in London helped a stranger find his way when he was lost in the fog. It was a one time/five minute event and the boy’s name is lost to history. The deed, however, still lives on…as it inspired the creation of the Boy Scouts of America. This was begun by the act of kindness a boy who accepted no money for helping and understood that virtue is its own reward. And so the torch is lit and carried.

“For everything I do, whether by myself or with another, must have as its sole aim the service and harmony of all.”  
Meditations 7:5

Join us in this month service!
Welcome the Spring time.

- Greg, James, and Nick
Have free Meetup slots? Let us know!
 
Do you have free meetup slots in your meetup account that you’re willing to share with a new Stoic community? If so, let us know by replying directly to this email.

We’re hoping to build a database of people willing to share their meetup accounts with new Stoic communities to help them try the Meetup platform for six months. This will make starting Stoic communities easier and help defray costs.

Thanks to Brittany Polat of the Tampa Stoics and Membership Committee for the great idea!
View TSF Location Map

Welcome to Our New Stoic Communities

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

Regional Support

West Coast, USA :: The torch is also being lit in the West Coast Region. With the welcoming of Portland, Oregon, every state in the region now has a representative Stoa. This month we began reading Epictetus’ Discourses and each week we are reading 2 or 3 chapters depending on the length. Eleven Stoics are currently participating on this journey that will take us through all the chapters, finishing in time for Stoicon 2018 in September. For Service projects there are animal rescues, salmon habitat restoration and a Farm Sanctuary event being planned. Marcus would be proud! All service project participants will be acknowledged with the accompanying sticker, inspired by Activities Director: Peter, and the Toronto Stoa.

East Coast, Australia :: A Stoic Meetup support group has been set up on Facebook for the East Coast of Australia with interest from a range of regions. In particular, there is quite a bit of interest in groups based in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast. The purpose of the Facebook group is to share information and resources to help develop Stoic groups in Australia. Join us today!

Updates from the Committees


Membership Committee

This past quarter, 173 people reached out to The Stoic Fellowship from all across the globe, 52% of whom showed interest in starting a community! Check out our map of places where communities have or may pop up in the future. If you’re from around any of the parts listed below, reach out to us, and we can put you in contact with a current or potential founder of new Stoic groups in your area!


Activities Committee

The new Activities Committee has been established and consists of the following members: Peter Limberg (Stoicism Toronto), Marcus Higgs (Chiang Mai Stoa), Peter Daly (Dublin Stoicism), Kai Kaapro (Raleigh Stoics), and Jason Valenstein (DC Metro Area Stoa). Our team is developing a survey which will be sent out mid-April to get a sense of the various activities that Stoas worldwide are currently undertaking. As well, April is the Month of Service! We encourage all Stoas to practice in the virtue of service this month. Groups are also encouraged to reflect upon the Stoic principles that relate to the connections we share with the wider community. An email will be sent out mid-April to provide some recommendations for service-based activities.

 

Interview with a Stoic

In April 2018, I was granted an interview with Dr. Ronald Pies. He’s the author of The Three-Petalled Rose, in which he compares Stoicism to Judaism and Buddhism. He was also a speaker at Stoicon 2017. From this interview, we can learn the common practices from three belief systems, plus we get an intriguing adventure through history.

Interview conducted by Dan Lampert of the Orlando Stoics

Read Full Interview

Updates from Stoas Around the World

NYC Stoics (New York City, NY, USA):
After finishing our year-long study of Epictetus, which concluded with Brian Johnson’s The Role Ethics of Epictetus and Massimo Pigliucci’s How to be a Stoic (both with the authors in attendance), the NYC Stoics have started our year of Marcus Aurelius with William O. Stephens’ Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed, followed by Meditations

We also are running a closed practice group for 2018 that requires a year-long commitment, and is following Epictetus’ Three Disciplines model. It’s at its max capacity of 10. After two months of (useful!) theory involving basic Stoic psychology, the dichotomy of control, the nature of good and evil, and the application of preconceptions to particulars, we’ve moved on to start practicing the Discipline of Desire and Aversion.

Finally, in collaboration with Massimo Pigliucci from the Stoic School of Life, we’ve opened registration for Stoic Camp NY 2018, which will be held at Stony Point Center in Stony Point, NY August 23 - 26. Single rooms are at capacity, but there are some double rooms remaining. You can get on the waitlist for a single or register for a bed in a double using the links above.

London Stoics (London, UK):
Two months ago we discussed the minor stresses in life (things like long queues, arguments, disappointments, etc.) and the Stoic armamentarium of techniques we can avail ourselves of in order to face them. Last months, we decided to proceed along the same path talking about the biggies, the major life stressors (things like financial problems, mourning, illness, etc), and Stoic ways to deal with them. Next meeting is all about imagery, Stoic imagery - pictures or statuettes of prominent figures, Stoic symbols and metaphors. In the same meeting members will have a chance to feedback on a series of logos for the group we have been working on.

Scotland Stoics (Scotland, UK):
We have been discussing self-awareness and what that means to each of us. We have been trying out different Stoic spiritual exercises to improve our self awareness and how one goes about being self-aware. What does that look like? On top of this we have discussed ways to improve our understanding of ourselves as individuals with an aim of being more virtuous. In terms of group admin, Andrew Sauls has joined the team and led some successful discussions. The group has also begun the migration from Meetup to Facebook.

Orlando Stoics (Orlando, FL, USA):
We completed the Dialogues of Seneca and Discourses of Epictetus in February 2018. Now we are reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius in our Monday night group (South Orlando) and Letters from a Stoic by Seneca on Friday nights (North Orlando). Our group’s total has exceeded 400 fans.

Des Moines Stoics (Des Moines, IA, USA)
We complete our discussion of Epictetus’ Enchiridion this April, with an increased focus on spiritual/psychological exercises found in the Enchiridion. Meetings go for two hours and are scheduled monthly with an average turnout of 4-6 attendees. Starting in May we will read and discuss Donald Roberson's Stoicism and the Art of Happiness.

Startup Stoa (Fremont, CA, USA):  
We have cheerfully moved back to our Saturday morning Lake Elizabeth walk-abouts in Fremont, CA. It’s funny how the rain magically pauses during our walk around the lake. Attendance has been steady, we have gained a few new faces, and look to increasing attendance by changing our timing and venue. We hope to be mingling around European brewery type settings soon. The group is toying around with the idea of a sticker/decal to hand out to members. Still in the early design phases, but a draft phrase of “Stoic Calm”  is the front-runner at this point.

Denver Stoics (Denver, CO, USA):  
We just finished our 30th meetup in February! In contrast to the monthly study meeting most Stoas seem to have adopted, our weekly meetings appear to be more focused on personal growth, accountability and establishing relationships. We’ve found that it doesn’t take very long to learn something about Stoicism that inspires you to want to make a change in your life. But it takes a long sustained effort to undo years and decades of non-Stoic behavior and really start operating in a different way. And for those who are willing to make a commitment to Stoicism, our meetups have been a great way to foster support and get encouragement along the way! Our meetings typically run for two to three hours and for the past quarter we have had a routine attendance of 5-7 Stoics.

Stoicism Toronto (Toronto, ON, Canada):
At Stoicism Toronto, we attempt to hold monthly Philosophy Cafes, which are philosophical symposiums open to the public. For the month of February we discussed “Love and Lust” around Valentines Day and in March we discussed “Power and Politics”. Both events were well attended and a variety of thought-provoking issues were addressed. Also, during the month of April, Stoicism Toronto became the 2nd largest Stoa in the world (according to meetup.com), second to Massimo’s Stoic School of Life. (We are coming for you, Massimo!) There is something about Canada and Stoicism, especially Toronto. We find that this city is rich with those interested in Stoic thought. Lastly, our Stoa was featured on Modern Stoicism where our Stoic practitioner's group, The Stoic Circle, was discussed. For the upcoming months, we are hoping to hold a few lectures from Ph.D. and Postdocs from the University of Toronto under the banner of “Stoic Talks.”

Stoicism Winnipeg (Winnipeg, MB, Canada): 
We continue to meet monthly to discuss Epictetus’ Enchiridion, using Reason IO’s course as a guide. There is at this point the beginning of a core group, but attendance oscillates between 3 and 5 people at this time. We currently use a web site and a MailChimp email list to notify interested parties of the event time and location.

Bellingham Stoics (Bellingham, WA, USA): 
Our Stoa is growing and as of March 22th has 67 members. In January we read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. We compared the translations of George Long and Gregory Hays, and were able to draw insights that would have been elusive without both texts. In February we read Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life. We had a lively conversation that lasted 6 hours. Four people attended which is our best turnout yet.

Oslo Stoics (Oslo, Norway):
Oslo Stoics started about a year ago. We’ve had events every third week or so, and we have grown to about 23 members, and the turnout for each event tends to be between 6 and 8. We’ve had some issues with finding a good location, but we seem to have solved that problem. We are currently reading The Inner Citadel by Pierre Hadot. 

Rheinland Stoiker (Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany):
The first Rheinland Stoiker Meetup was on March 25th in Bonn. We are currently a group of 4 people with different professional and philosophical background. That is why we start our Stoic journey by reading Flow from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is about “Positive Psychology” and should offer us an interesting starting point to discover Stoic principles in modern psychology. We are going to meet every month, in different places around Bonn or Cologne.
 

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