Suggested readings, #51

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across recently, for your consideration:

Always narrating: the making and unmaking of Umberto Eco. (LA Review of Books)

How Stoicism can help at a time of crisis: Epictetus’s epiphany. (Medium)

The Decameron – the 14th-century Italian book that shows us how to survive coronavirus. Giovanni Boccaccio’s work taught citizens how to maintain mental wellbeing in times of epidemics and isolation. (New Statesman)

Choose your own birth. Every human is both an animal with a deep evolutionary history and an individual who must bring their existence into being. (Aeon)

Spinoza and ‘no platforming’: the Enlightenment thinker would have seen it as motivated by ambition rather than fear. (The Conversation)

Global Stoic Meetup

We are living through difficult times, in a moment when practicing or learning Stoicism is particularly appropriate. The current crisis also provides us with new opportunities, like the possibility to hold a global Stoic meetup, in this case on Epictetus’s famous manual for living a good life, the Enchiridion.

Join Massimo for a discussion of what the Enchiridion teaches us, in particular about how to handle the ongoing pandemic. The meeting is set at a time that makes it possible for people to participate from the East and West coasts of the US, Europe, and Australia.

We will be using the Delphi Classic edition of the Enchiridion, based on the W.A. Oldfather translation of 1925. It can be downloaded for free here.

You can join the meetup by clicking here.

Date: Saturday, 4 April 2020.

Time: 5pm Eastern.

Suggested readings, #50

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across recently, for your consideration:

The philosophy behind Ad Astra’s voyage into the unknown. Exploring the subtle ways the film’s ending works its magic. [Good article about, in my opinion, an under appreciated scifi film.] (Polygon)

Stoicism and Islam. Al-Kindi’s Device for dispelling sorrows. (Medium)

I love the world but I cannot stay. I’m going to die, but I might as well be cheerful about it. (New York Times)

Cabin fever: the philosophy of isolation. How the COVID-19 pandemic may provide us with something more than just fear and loneliness. (Medium)

Our ‘pursuit of Happiness’ is killing the planet. We need to strike a new balance between our private pleasures and our collective survival. (New York Times)

The Stoic Emergency Kit

I have just published a new e-booklet that collects nine essays I wrote, covering basic aspects of theoretical and practical Stoicism. As the subtitle puts it, this guide is “for those who need a refresher and those who are just starting out.” You can download a free PDF or ePub version (several other free booklets on Stoicism, philosophy of science and general philosophy can be found here). The Stoic Emergency Kit contains the following:

A very brief history of Stoicism
Meet the Stoics

Stoic theory
Arête: on the nature of human excellence
Prosochē or not prosochē? On Stoic mindfulness
Stoic psychology 101: impressions, assent, and impulses
Stoic epistemology 101: Zeno and the metaphor of the hand movement
Oikeiôsis: how to feel at home in the world

Stoic practice
Stoicism in three simple steps
How I practice Stoicism: 9 easy exercises
How to deal with insults, the Stoic way
Let’s talk about the premeditation of adversity

Stoa Nova (online) event: Stoicism and COVID-19

As we are all well aware, we are in the midst of a pandemic. What should a Stoic do under these circumstances? If Stoicism is a practical philosophy, surely here is an excellent and urgent chance to test it!

Indeed, even the ancients had to deal with epidemics like the one we are facing. Socrates survived the plague in Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War, and Marcus Aurelius had to manage the Antonine plague, which killed millions in the Roman Empire.

Here is a suggested reading for background.

Of course, we won’t be able to meet in person, for obvious reasons! So when the time comes click on this link and join us in video conference. You won’t need to have the Zoom app, the link will open in any standard browser.

When: Monday, 23 March 2020 at 6pm Eastern Standard Time

Suggested readings, #49

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across recently, for your consideration:

Marcus Aurelius helped me survive grief and rebuild my life. [By my friend Jamie Lombardi.] (Aeon)

How Stoicism can help at a time of crisis — part 1, the Stoic Worry Tree. [By my friend Tim LeBon.] (Medium)

Why philosophy is an ideal travel companion for adventurous minds. (The Conversation)

The ethics of speech acts. It’s one thing to say something. It’s quite another for a person to do (or not do) something because of what you’ve said. [Convoluted, difficult reading, but worthy, in the end.] (Aeon)

The pleasure principle. Peter Adamson in defense of the Cyrenaics, the original hedonists. (Philosophy Now)

A Minute Therapist Guide to managing anger. “When anger rises, think of the consequences.” –Confucius. (Psychology Today)

Supermensch. Superman et al were invented amid feverish eugenic speculation: what does the superhero craze say about our own times? (Aeon)