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January 2018 Newsletter


Indifferents Quarterly
Lighting the Torch of Virtue


Message from the Board

The Stoic Fellowship's theme for 2018 is Lighting the Torch of Virtue. We Stoics have gathered together to help lay the foundation for a Modern Stoa. The challenge before us is what we will do with our time together. How will we keep the light alive in the world? These are the questions we’ll answer together over the next year.

When our communities renewed their memberships in December, we asked what they thought the top priorities for The Stoic Fellowship should be in 2018. Here are those top six priorities in descending order of preference:

  1. Increase member stoas worldwide
  2. Hold more Stoicon-x events than in 2017 and host at least one on every member continent
  3. Publish two handbook guides for both existing and new fellowship communities
  4. Publish a book that contains all of the foundational Stoic texts that are available in the public domain (Socrates through Aurelius)
  5. Contribute to the world through collective action to tackle a common global challenge (virtue in action)
  6. Hold video conferences for all voting members to exchange ideas

We’ve passed these results along to our committee heads for 2018, which include Greg Lopez of the NYC Stoics with Membership, Greg Sadler of the MKE Stoic Fellowship with Resources, and Peter Limberg of Stoicism Toronto with Activities. In the coming months, the committee heads will reach out to voting members to ask for your assistance in helping The Stoic Fellowship light the torch of virtue in 2018. In the interim, if you have any suggestions or concerns, you can reach all the board members at our new address: board@stoicfellowship.com.

We look forward to a creative and constructive year!

- Greg, James, and Nick
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Welcome to Our New Stoic Communities

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


Regional Support

Welcome also to Alex Magee and James Kostecka who will be pioneering the Regional Support Volunteer (RSV) position in Eastern Australia and the West Coast U.S.A. respectively. As RSV’s they will do their best to help build, foster and connect Stoics in these regional areas.

Updates from the Committees

Membership Committee

This past quarter, 77 people reached out to The Stoic Fellowship from all across the globe, 53% of whom showed interest in starting a community! Check out the Stoic Fellowship Map for a list of places where communities have or may pop up in the future. If you’re from around any of those locations, reach out to us, and we can put you in contact with current or potential founders of new Stoic groups in your area!

Activities Committee

The Stoic Fellowship has three established global and local activities. From March through October, members will have the opportunity to get involved in a Service Event, Practice Day, and Stoicon/StoiconX. Work as a team to host an event for your community or individually by demonstrating the Stoic principles you’ve learned. By our actions and activities, as individuals and communities, we’re making a positive difference every day around the globe.

Please welcome Peter Limberg as he takes on the role of our new Activities Director for 2018. Peter, an entrepreneur living near The Greater Toronto area, discovered Stoic thought 10 years ago outside of academia while he was majoring in philosophy. He is the founder and organizer of Stoicism Toronto and has developed a Stoic practitioners modality entitled The Stoic Circle. He will need all our support, energy and enthusiasm over the next year. The future is bright indeed.

Resources Committee

What a year we had in 2017. Wow! As our membership has grown, so to have our website responsibilities. If you haven’t already done so, check out a map that the Resources Committee put together of our worldwide network of Stoics. In addition to managing our website and putting together these quarterly newsletters, the Resources Committee has some ambitious goals for 2018 of which we look forward to sharing soon.

Speaking of the new year, I’d like to welcome our new chair of the committee, Greg Sadler! Greg is an accomplished academic philosopher, the founder of ReasonIO, and the editor of Stoicism Today. He and his wife also founded the Milwaukee Stoics about a year ago. We're both grateful and lucky to have him at the helm.

Interview with a Stoic

In January 2018, I was granted an interview Dr. Chuck Chakrapani. He is the author of five wonderful Stoic books: Unshakable Freedom, A Fortunate Storm, The Good Life Handbook, and two books based on Epictetus’ Discourses, called Stoic Choices and Stoic Foundations. He also presented at Stoicon 2017 and Stoicon-x Toronto. We spoke about Stoicism, modern life, and the impact of technology.

Interview conducted by Dan Lampert of the Orlando Stoics

DL: I enjoyed your talk at Stoicon 2017 entitled “The Stoic Minimalist”. You created a great metaphor by saying Stoicism is not a staircase, where each step builds upon the last, but rather Stoicism is a symphony. And you added that someone could read any 10 of the 96 Discourses by Epictetus, in order to cover the major concepts in Stoicism. What would you posit are the most important Stoic concepts for the modern world?

CC: Thank you for your kind words. The interesting thing about Stoicism is that all its concepts are interlinked. So any two or three concepts that appeal to you – if you study them in depth – will bring with it the other concepts as well. The concepts that appealed to me initially were:

  1. You can choose your response under any conditions (Marcus Aurelius)

  2. Some things are under your control and some are not. Don’t concern yourself about things you don’t control (Epictetus)

  3. All good and evil arise out of your actions (Epictetus) because you only have control over these.

Some other Stoic principles (but not these) may appeal to you. That doesn’t matter. Stay with and explore whatever appeals to you. Soon enough you will be practicing other principles as well.

Read Full Interview

Updates from Stoas Around the World

Minnesota Stoics (Minneapolis, MN, USA):
The Minnesota Stoics total member count is currently at 492 which has seen a general increase over the last couple of months. Typical meetings center around a passage from Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius or Seneca with some random lesser known fragments from Musonius Rufus and Zeno, as well. An open discussion is then encouraged on the members’ thoughts and what implications can be taken away towards applying it to daily life. The members express their thoughts and experiences on what would be the best responses to our environments and yet remain virtuous when confronting life’s unpredictability. Nick Guggenbuehl and I (Brent Staples) have been focusing on how to lead the Stoic Group for 2018 in Lighting the Torch of Virtue.

NYC Stoics (New York City, NY, USA):
The NYC Stoics has two monthly meetups: a practice group and a reading group. The reading group follows themed years, and this year’s theme, a year of Epictetus, is being extended due to the wealth of material that’s available on Epictetus. We recently completed AA Long’s book Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life. In December and January, we will be covering Brian Johnson’s The Role Ethics of Epictetus and are fortunate enough to be joined by the author for these events, since he lives in NYC. Our practice group is coming to a close for the year, and enrollment for the 2018 practice group, which requires a year-long commitment, will open in mid- to late-January. The 2018 practice group curriculum is still in the works, but it may follow Epictetus’ three disciplines model for the year.

NYC Stoic School of Life (New York City, NY, USA):
The School of Life meets monthly at the Society for Ethical Culture, near Central Park. We run Socratic style discussions on both the theory and practice of Stoicism. Recently we have talked about: “Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” on the similarities and differences between Stoicism and Existentialism, particularly concerning the problem of suicide. We have also had a meeting on “Basic Stoic theory, Diogenes Laertius edition,” covering Diogenes’ famous presentation of the Stoic system in his Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers. The next discussion will be on “Epictetus’ Manual for a happy Stoic life,” part of our ongoing examination at close quarters of the Enchiridion. Most of our background readings come from the howtobeastoic.org blog.

Wiener Stoiker / Vienna Stoics (Austria):
We have started in Autumn last year. Much to my surprise, our member count has quickly grown into the double digit figures. Currently we have monthly meetings in German language. As of today, all our active members speak German fluently and also have sufficiently good command of English. This is quite helpful for each of us since almost all international Stoic social media communication and all online training material is currently available in English only.  Anyway, it is clear that if we want to achieve our goal of successfully broadening and deepening a local Stoic impact we need to be able to provide training material in local language. This is why one of our tasks for this year will be to set up appropriate practicing material and to translate it to German.

London Stoics (London, UK):
2017 ended with a bang for us. In December we had our first meeting in the quiet of a private room at the Royal Holloway, University of London, thanks to the good offices of John Sellars. John is a philosophy professor at the said university, a member of the Modern Stoicism team and the author of a couple of books on Stoicism, amongst other things. I’m enormously grateful to John, as meeting in our usual, public, space was getting a bit of a struggle with all the ambient noise. Our last meeting was also our busiest so far with 8 members taking part. Our Facebook group has also seen a spike in memberships recently, following a publicity drive at Stoicon London X. At the last meeting we dealt with Providence, a topic so complex and controversial we will be definitely revisiting. We also practised a mini mindfulness activity, the ‘raisin exercise’, in order to introduce the idea and importance of ‘prosoche’ in Stoic philosophy. Next meeting will be devoted to the topic of the customary new year’s resolutions, but with a Stoic twist - we will be looking at those aspects of our character we want to change/refine in relation to the four cardinal Stoic virtues.

Stoa Guatemala (Guatemala City, Guatemala):
We are going to start a book reading club at the main library of the Guatemala City. We planned to gather once a month for having dinner and discuss assorted readings on Stoicism. Anyone interested in our activities can join our Facebook Group /stoaguate.

Orlando Stoics (Orlando, FL, USA):
In the new year 2018, Orlando Stoics surpassed 350 members and maintains two weekly meetings (every Monday night and Friday night at 7PM). We read Epictetus and Seneca, and our goal for January-February is to recruit some philosophy-minded people from local universities (both teachers and students).

Des Moines Stoics (Des Moines, IA, USA):
The Des Moines Stoics was founded on Meetup July 16, 2017. The group is six months old and has grown to over 80 members! It’s been amazing to see the local interest in Stoic philosophy. Meetings are scheduled monthly with an average turnout of 4-6 attendees. The group continues its discussion of Epictetus’ Enchiridion, which should be completed in April. The ReasonIO course Epictetus' Enchiridion - Ancient Philosophy & Peace of Mind has been an excellent resource for structuring the meetings.

Fox Valley Stoics  (Appleton, WI, USA):
We took December off for the holiday season but will be starting again in January with our monthly reading group. Currently we are working our way through Marcus Aurelius and enjoying the discussion and comparison of various translations. We look forward to a year of growth and learning!

Startup Stoa (Fremont, CA, USA):  
2017 was a most excellent year for the Startup Stoa. After many weekends of meetings at Denny's Restaurant at 7:30 am, we took our meetings outdoors. Lake Elizabeth Fremont, CA was the setting for the spring and summer as we began our meetings with meditative music, a mindfulness centering moment, and a round table of wisdom sharing. We then began a slow, meandering, contemplative 1 hour walk around the lake, taking in nature, the early morning sunrise, birds, water mother nature's grace and spirituality. Our walk was further highlighted with readings from "Daily Stoic" (Ryan Holiday) and more enlightening philosophical discussions. Truly, a year to remember!

"StoiconX - Bay Area" (Oct 2017)  in Hayward, CA for bay area regional get-together was another highlight for me, as I got to present to the group my personal stoic journey. It ended with my write-up on mindfulness and stoic virtue.

Denver Stoics (Denver, CO, USA):  
We have been meeting once a week and rotating through four different topics on a monthly basis: The Structure of Stoicism, Practicing Stoicism, Studying Stoicism and Stoic Techniques. The past couple of months has helped us to refine these topics and develop a rhythm that is both engaging for both the short term and the long term. Attendance varies with a variety of regulars and first timers and each meeting is designed to be interactive and foster discussion.

However, as attendance varies, it makes it difficult to build on previous meetings. As such, each meeting is more or less a self contained event designed to address the more immediate needs and interests of the group at hand.

Stoicism Winnipeg (Winnipeg, MB, Canada):
We started meeting in November, 2017 and have been meeting monthly since then. Our email list membership has grown from nothing to 14 members over the last two months after a few very simple introductions to Stoicism groups on Facebook. Currently we are working our way through Reason IO’s Enchiridion course. 

Bellingham Stoics (Bellingham, WA, USA):
The Bellingham Stoa was founded in July 2017. After some initial setbacks we now have 52 members and hold monthly meetings. We’re experimenting with an ‘open book group’ where everyone is welcome even if they haven’t read the book. In December we had a lively conversation about How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. On January 27th we’re going to discuss the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

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