Quick Guide to Starting A Stoa
Step 1 // Find people by:
- Contacting us and telling us you're interested in starting a community
- Search the Stoic Registry from The New Stoa for people in your area. Sign up, and you can contact them through the website
- Start a Stoic meetup on meetup.com (note: this costs money, so do it only if you're willing to pay the fee for 6 months - you can always cancel if it doesn't work)
- Post on the largest Facebook Stoic group and ask if there are any people in your area willing to meet up in person
Step 2 // Find a decent place to meet:
Generally noisy places don't work for obvious reasons, and restaurants aren't great, either, since you'll have to chat between food orders. Some places that work for other communities include:
- Outdoors (hiking or sitting, weather permitting)
- Indoor public atria
- Reserving a room in a library, university, community center, etc.
- Quiet coffee shops or bars without table service
- Members' homes
Step 3 // What to do in your community:
Our member stoas do a lot of different things, so there's no one fixed way to run a meeting. There are two general points that do apply to many groups, though:
- Do what your members want! Ask if they prefer readings, practice groups, or something else
- It helps to have a point of focus at each meeting, whether it be a topic, a type of format that you repeat, or a reading. Open formats tend to wander and feel unfocused.
Here are some ideas for topics or formats to get you started for your first several months:
- Stoicism 101 - for your first meeting, give a brief talk and discussion on your understanding of Stoicism, then open it up for discussion
- Read and discuss the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Stoicism, which is a fairly easy read and a good introduction to Stoicism
- Focus on readings or videos from our resources section. Don't bite off more than you and your attendees can chew, though! You can digest a book together over several months.
- Euthydemus - Socrates does a good job in this dialogue explaining why Wisdom (close to virtue) is the highest good, which makes for an excellent introduction to Stoicism. The NYC Stoics have excerpted the relevant portion of the dialogue here. It's a great intro to a major concept in Stoicism
- Massimo Pigliucci has a solid Stoicism 101 essay here. You could also get lots of material from Massimo's essay collections here. Or read from Donald Robertson's collection.
- Have a "topic of the month" for discussion, where you give a brief introduction to a common problem many people may have, and talk about it from a Stoic perspective. Topics can include anger, anxiety, friendship, and more.
- The Stoic Fellowship activities committee's goal is to provide guidance for meeting topics for your community, and has themes they can provide you which can guide you in running your community
Have more questions? Contact us and let us know! Or, if you've already started a community, join the Stoic Fellowship and we'll list your group to attract even more members, as well as provide you with additional guidance if needed.