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July 2017 Newsletter

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Indifferents Quarterly
Building the foundation for a Modern Stoa

JULY 2017

Message from the Board

This quarter brought about tremendous growth and new opportunities for The Stoic Fellowship. We are grateful to have been featured on the Modern Stoicism blog and look forward to helping connect all those who reached out after reading the article. We have also incorporated as a nonprofit in Minnesota, and are currently awaiting approval of our 501(c)(3) status!
 
In case you missed it, we found two excellent videos on Stoicism published this quarter — Tim Ferriss talks Stoicism in his most recent TED Talk, and Massimo Pigliucci (Founder of the Stoic School of Life and author of an excellent new book How to Be a Stoic) published one of the best short videos on Stoicism we’ve seen on the web.
 
Tickets also went on sale for this year’s Stoicon in Toronto on October 14, where Greg Sadler & Andi Sciacca from The Milwaukee Stoics will be leading a workshop, and Massimo Pigliucci from The Stoic School of Life will be giving a talk. You may also want to stick around for the inaugural Stoicon-x event the following day, where Greg Lopez of the NYC Stoics will be a keynote speaker.

Exciting times to be a Stoic!

- Greg, James, and Nick

Welcome to Our New Stoic Communities

The Membership Committee is proud to welcome two new stoas (or stoai if you want to be all Greek about it) to The Stoic Fellowship: Stoicism Toronto in Toronto, Canada and The Startup Stoa in Fremont, California. Welcome! 
 
We’ve received 68 inquiries this quarter in all for people seeking Stoic fellowship. Of those inquires, 29 came from people looking to start new stoas! They hail from all over the world, from Baltimore to Bucharest (literally!). 
 
Other locales that may be starting stoa soon include: Baltimore, USA; New Haven, USA; Oslo, Norway; Surprise, AZ, USA; Torino, Italy; Hamilton, NJ, USA; Melbourne, Australia; Colorado, USA; Portland, OR, USA; Salt Lake City, USA; Laval, Quebec, Canada; Washington, DC, USA; Dallas, USA; Kent, WA, USA; Madrid, Spain; Duncan, BC, Canada; Brussels, Belgium; Austin, TX, USA; Sydney, Australia; Bangalore, India; Northampton, UK; Leicester, UK; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Des Moines, USA.
 
Perhaps we will be welcoming some of these communities and more to The Stoic Fellowship next quarter, fate permitting!
 
View TSF Location Map

Activities Committee

The Activities Committee is working to connect local groups with the worldwide community through activities and events that strengthen practice and fellowship.  Theory is critical, but as Epictetus notes, if we didn’t learn it in order to apply it, what did we learn it for?  You are invited to join Stoics around the world for the Fellowship’s first practice event: Game Day 2017.  See website for an information guide and a Gallery of Game Day posters.  Please join us as we support each other putting theory into practice in a fun and welcoming environment.

Resources Committee

The Resources Committee embarked on a journey to fulfill our aspirations for the year which include making additions to the Resources page of our website, managing the publication of this quarterly newsletter, writing occasional blog posts and interviews, crafting informative one-page manuals on starting, growing, and maintaining a Stoa, building a global calendar of Stoic events, and developing new micro-technologies like this Chrome extension to help make Stoicism more accessible worldwide.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee’s main role is to communicate with potential and current members of the Stoic Fellowship, and to collaborate with the Resources and Activities Committees to disseminate information that is useful to current and potential members.

Much of our time has been taken up corresponding to the recent influx of inquiries. Future projects include creating onesheets on helping member stoas cope with difficult events in their locales or among their membership, and creating a definitive handbook on the hows and whys of starting an in-person Stoic group. We will also be surveying member stoas in the near future (fate permitting) to see what needs they have, so we can address the needs of our members properly.

Interview with a Stoic

As the new editor of the newsletter, I felt honored to interview Massimo Pigliucci, the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York, and the organizer of the Stoic School of Life meetup in New York City. I asked if there is a certain bit of Stoic wisdom that intrigues members to attend their first meetup or keeps them coming back?

He replied:
 “Good question. Usually they come for the first time because they have a general interest in applied philosophy, not necessarily Stoicism. What keeps them coming back, I think, is that Epictetus, Marcus, and Seneca deeply resonate with them. More than one person has told me that Stoicism 'clicked' when they first read or heard about it; several added that they have often acted 'like a Stoic' in the past, without knowledge of the philosophy, and are now glad to find that there actually is a sophisticated theoretical structure behind what was intuitive for them.”

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):
“The NYC Stoics has been having themed years of study for 3 years now. 2015’s theme was 'Modern Stoicism'. 2016’s was 'The Year of Seneca'.  2017’s theme is 'The Year of Epictetus'. We have almost completed reading the Discourses in full and will move on to Epictetus’ fragments and Handbook next. We are also experimenting with a smaller group, separate from the reading group, focused exclusively on Stoic practice. 
 
The practice group meets monthly, and everybody takes a turn discussing how their month’s gone and how to deal with any issues that arose in a Stoic manner. Next, we go through an optional exercise derived from Epictetus to practice for the month. We then end each meeting by each member publicly committing to a specific plan of Stoic practice for the month, which is then followed up with in the following month. In July, I’ll be sending out an anonymous survey to see if and how things can be improved.”  
- Greg Lopez
 
Redwood Stoics (San Francisco, CA):  
"Keeping the flame alive.  Founded in 2013 by a student, mentor and enthusiast, the Redwood Stoa is looking forward to celebrating its 50th consecutive monthly meeting in October.  We have a theme for every month and discuss related passages and how best to put them into practice."
- James Kostecka

Minnesota Stoics (Minneapolis, MN, USA):
“The Minnesota Stoics have been working through Massimo’s Stoic Spiritual Exercises Part One and Part Two for over a year now. We meet once a month and tend to focus on discussing one of the passages at length each gathering. I’m thinking about including a 'workshop' meetup during the off-weeks where our Stoa would do something active like hike in the woods, volunteer in the community, play a board game, or share a potluck-style meal. I’ll be sure to update the group with Minnesota’s reception of the 'workshop' model. 
 
In other news, we’re excited to announce that we’ve officially reached the 400 member mark. Though our member size has grown, I’d appreciate any tips on how to encourage more people to show up to our meetups.”
- Nick Guggenbuehl
 
Brisbane Stoics (Brisbane, Australia):
“Brisbane has been working through Donald Robertson's book Stoicism and the Art of Happiness in a regular monthly meetups. We are having a games day at the end of July. We are also organising STOICONx Brisbane for October. We have confirmed Michael Connell (stoic comedian) and Donald Robertson as speakers for the event. Just trying to find a suitable venue at the moment.”
- Alex Magee
 
Manchester Stoics (Manchester, UK):
“We have had 3 meetings this past quarter discussing anger, keeping a stoic journal and a stoic start to the day respectively. We also now have 8 regular attendees, we are not a large group but we are growing.”
- Brenda Lanigan
 
Dublin Stoics (Dublin, Ireland):
“The Dublin Stoa has been focusing on the use of Stoic Maxims as defined by Pierre Hadot. What we need are persuasive formulae or arguments which we can repeat to ourselves in difficult circumstances so as to check the movements of fear, anger or sadness. We have taken a break for the summer, but my co-founder Joe Ploughman and I will meet soon to brainstorm what's next.”
- Peter Daly

London Stoics (London, UK):
"It's been slow going at The London Stoics for quite a while (a big thank you to The Stoic Fellowship's organizers, especially James and Greg, for the words of encouragement when I felt like throwing in the sponge), but lately things are shaping up - people are being referred to us from Donald Robertson's FB group, the internet and the Stoic Fellowship. We're currently exploring William Irvine's book, although whatever the topic, encouragement of and feedback from the home practice of Stoic techniques will always be a fixture of our meetings."
- Carmelo Di Maria
 
Scotland Stoics (Scotland, UK):
“We have been having two meetings per month, focussing our weekend meetup studying and discussing chapters from Epictetus’ Enchiridion. These have involved talking about our own understanding of the chapters and how we go about applying them in our own lives. Our midweek meetup has started reviewing Stoic practice in daily life, for example discussing the challenges and benefits of journaling and meditating. This has allowed us to share experiences and best practice. We will be reviewing the meeting format in the coming weeks and looking at alternative means to promote the group and support our membership.”
- Colin Hay
 
Orlando Stoics (Orlando, FL, USA):
“We have 235+ members on Meetup.com, but the schedules of our members vary greatly. Some could not attend our Monday night meetings, which have been the standard for 2 years. So, we are experimenting with Friday night meetings now. Also, we read Epictetus on Mondays and Seneca on Fridays. By discussing a different book each night, members can attend one or both meetings.”
- Dan Lampert
 
Milwaukee Stoics (Milwaukee, WI, USA):  
“We started our monthly meetings in January, and decided to focus this year on studying and discussing several chapters of Epictetus’ Enchiridion each session.  Discussion has centered around understanding the passages, applying them within the context of our lives, and sharing our experiences.  We have been using my free online course on the Enchiridion as a resource. We are also gearing up for Stoic Week later this Fall, deciding what sort of meeting(s) and events we would like to host in October.”
- Greg Sadler
 
Startup Stoa (Fremont, CA, USA):  
"From spark to flame.  On his own, Gerry started a meet-up on Marcus Aurelius, Mindfulness and Meditation in 2016 which has become the newly founded 'Start-Up Stoa.'  Situated near Silicon Valley the group’s mission is to ‘deepen our practice of Stoicism, engage in fellowship, make the most of every situation, aspire to wisdom and inner resilience. Amor Fati.’ We’re happy to join the worldwide community of Stoics!"
- James Kostecka

No updates this quarter from the Helsinki Stoics and The Stoic School of Life.

Events & Books

Get Tickets for Stoicon 2017
Get Tickets for Stoicon-x Toronto
Buy Massimo's New Book
Interested in starting or joining a Stoic community? That’s why we’re here. Check out our website for more info.