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On October 17th, 2020, the Modern Stoicism Association organised the eighth edition of the Stoicon (Stoic Conference). This unique event brings together every year researchers, practitioners and amateurs of Stoic philosophy. For the first time — due to the health crisis — the event took place entirely online. For more than eight hours, Donald Robertson, Massimo Pigliucci and Phil Yanov were responsible for the animation and the smooth running of the conferences on the Zoom application. What should we take away from these twenty-two presentations, which brought together more than 2,000 Internet users?


Seneca is a Stoic philosopher, a Roman statesman, Nero’s tutor and a prolific and recognized writer. The Letters to Lucilius have a special place in his work because they are both the testimony of a notable Roman about his time and his own life and the correspondence of a master of philosophy to a disciple.

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In Letter 83 (10) to Lucilius, Seneca describes what he used to do in the New Year:

“I, a great lover of cold baths, who used to celebrate the new year by taking a plunge into the canal, who, just as naturally as I would set out to do some reading or writing, or to compose a speech, used to inaugurate the first of the year with a plunge into the Virgo aqueduct [part of the Roman…


landscape for illustration
landscape for illustration

P. Hello, I discovered your site yesterday and this initiative is very timely in my case because I only recently began to take a more serious interest in the ideas of Stoicism without knowing that there was this movement/start of a social movement. In fact, I would like to understand this philosophy more deeply, but above all to apply it, to train myself to it. That’s how I discovered your site by searching the web for the keywords stoicism and modern. To be more precise about my expectations, I don’t want to know if I should buy organic or not or if I should vote Mélenchon for example, I am above all looking for a deeper understanding of values and logic and in my case, this can only happen through a confrontation of points of view, dialogue and logic applied to contemporary subjects. You give a lot of resources and pointers, but I guess my question is perhaps a recurring one: what advice would you give to study in detail and especially to practice, to confront yourself with others in order to better define your way of life? …


From September 1, 2019 to September 1, 2020, I tried to turn the shower faucet to its coldest end as often as possible. This voluntary discomfort exercise, which I had already carried out for a month in the winter of 2018, has had concrete effects on my health and, above all, my well-being.

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Jorge Guillen on Unsplash

Within the framework of this challenge, a cold shower simply consists to expose yourself to the lowest possible thermostat temperature from the beginning until the end of the shower under normal/high water pressure. It is a voluntary discomfort exercise recommended by many stoics. Seneca, for example, used to take cold baths. He was inspired by Plato. His practice was accompanied by the blame for the pleasures of hot water. …


Mutually exclusive disciplines for some and fully complementary for others, philosophy and sociology maintain a contrasting dialogue. In Stoic Philosophy and Social Theory (2020), Will Johncock defends the interest of bringing the two subjects closer together. However, it is not ‘philosophy’ in general that he confronts with modern sociological authors and concepts, but a system of practical philosophy that is thousands of years old: Stoicism.

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Will Johncock is a sociologist and philosopher specialising in time. He is the author of Naturally Late: Synchronization in Socially Constructed Times (2019). His book Stoic Philosophy and Social Theory, published in 2020, explores the boundary between the Stoic self, which is by nature universal and fundamental, and the sociological self, which results from our interactions with the social world, and therefore is a socially constructed self. …


Review of anew book on Stoicism by Piotr Stankiewicz

The modernization of Stoicism is a process that seems to impose itself. Lawrence C. Becker had cleared the ground in his book A new Stoicism, published in 1998. Its level of technicality did not, however, make it really accessible to anyone. With the Manual of Reformed Stoicism (2020), the philosopher Piotr Stankiewicz offers a new interpretation of the system, much clearer, without jargon or theoretical dissertations, accessible to all audiences and dedicated to practice; at the price, however, of a minimalism that can confuse even the most familiar readers of the doctrine.

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The book is structured in six main parts, each containing several chapters (24 in total). Each chapter is structured as follows: a short paragraph “in a nutshell” which goes back over the key ideas of the chapter; a brief introduction which explains the logic of progression between the sub-parts; the sub-parts themselves which consist of a quotation followed by a commentary. This organization allows the reader to find his way around easily and to personalize the reading. …


Any man who judges well the signs given by dreams will feel their extreme importance ; the intelligence of dreams is a great part of wisdom.

(Hippocrates of Cos, Regimen 4, or Dreams)

Illustration dreams
Illustration dreams

Everyone dreams, but not everyone has the memory of their dreams. Yet every night, dreams take up about 100 minutes of our sleep time. At the age of 60, an individual will have lived more or less 100.000 dreamlike experiences, meaning 5 complete years of life to dream for 20 years of sleep. Not all dreams are to be put on the same level. …


stoicism porn illustration
stoicism porn illustration

Should modern Stoics refrain from consuming pornography?

The Stoics have, a priori, never talked about pornography. However, they have studied desire, pleasure, moderation, justice, well-being… Actually, their conceptual system — the virtue ethics — makes it possible to deal with almost any topic. Thus, pornography is no exception to the rule and, despite the lack of serious scientific studies on the subject, an ethical discourse based on stoic sources is possible. This is the purpose of this post.

1. WHAT IS PORNOGRAPHY?

It is not easy to define pornography. The few researchers in pornographic studies have not reached any consensus as the word designates different things. Indeed, what is the relationship between the 3000 years old erotic papyrus of Turin, the Kamasutra, a text by the Marquis de Sade, and a video made by the current biggest production studios ? …


From November 25 to December 1, 2019, I sat and meditated, twice a day, for about an hour each session. Why did I do this? First of all out of pure curiosity. I wanted to experience for myself how assiduous spiritual practice — even over a short period of time — can change the way we perceive things and behave. Secondly, because I felt the desire and need to regain an inner balance that was somewhat lost. This article details my experience and the (unexpected!) discoveries that the “doing nothing” of meditation can lead to.

Me in zen
Me in zen

I followed, as much as possible, the meditation sessions at the Zen Buddhism Centre in Strasbourg. This means that my practice was linked to a school of Buddhism, namely Zen and, more precisely, Sōtō Zen. The particularity of Sōtō Zen is that it focuses on the practice of zazen (sitting meditation, za = to sit ; zen = meditation). Sessions at the center could include, depending on the day and time, traditional breakfast, sutra chants, prostrations (sanpai) and/or walking meditation (kinhin). This is all part of Zen. …


La politique stoïcienne by Valéry Laurand

While stoicism is nowadays mainly used in the context of ethics, especially in personal development and cognitive-behavioural therapies, in La politique stoïcienne (Stoic politics) Valéry Laurand brilliantly demonstrates that, based on the writings of Stoic authors, one can define a theory of political action. In doing so, he underlines the place of the “other” and put into perspective the prominence of the “I” in this system sometimes wrongly described as individualistic.

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The first observation that must be made is that Stoicism, unlike Epicureanism, does not make the Sage or philosopher an apolitical being. On the contrary, according to a historical anecdote, one of the first heads of the Stoic school, Chrysippus, asserted that “the Sage will participate in political life if nothing prevents him from doing so”. …

About

Un regard stoïcien / A Stoic Perspective

French blogger on Modern Stoicism. I’m (mostly) using Medium to offer English translations of my articles that are published on www.unregardstoicien.com

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