Welcome to a project I refer to by the rather ambitious name of Stoa Nova. The goal is to experiment with what it may mean — in the 21st century — to found a one-man, informal, Stoic school, inspired by those of Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Posidonius, Musonius, Epictetus and all the rest. New entries related to the Stoa Nova project at my Patreon site. For more info use the contact form on this page.
The Stoa Nova has the following characteristics:
- It is open to anyone interested, whether with or without a background in philosophy in general or Stoicism in particular.
- It features an informal, in-person, year-round school in New York City, a Stoic Camp in the Hudson Valley (late Summer), and an intensive course in international locations, such as Rome (Italy) or Paris (France).
- It produces video conversations, offered as live events which are then posted on YouTube for later (re)viewing.
- It also offers online courses, from basic to advanced levels, on both general topics and specific authors or works.
- It is free (except whenever necessary to cover expenses) while sponsored by the City College of New York, where I work as a professor of philosophy. This does not preclude the possibility of charging fees later on, however, if conditions will require it.
In collaboration with the New York Society for Ethical Culture I am running the year-round Stoa Nova-New York.
School sessions are held (with exceptions) once a month on Mondays or Tuesdays, from 6 to 8pm. For a complete calendar of forthcoming meetings and further information, check out our meetup group.
The basic format of these discussions is the Socratic style, with a short introduction by yours truly on a particular topic, announced in advance, followed by a conversation with interested students.
In late Summer, my friend Greg Lopez and I offer a Stoic Camp on the Hudson Valley. The Camp is a retreat to study and practice Stoicism for three days with fellow proficientes (students), share meals, and make friends. For more info, keep an eye on Greg’s meetup.
Spend a few days in Rome or Paris or other international locations while studying ancient and modern Stoicism! Join Massimo and a small group of proficientes (students) to dig into Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Epictetus’ Handbook, or Seneca’s Letters (specific program varies with each session), learn about practical Stoicism and how to apply it to your life. While there, explore the local sites, enjoy traditional cuisine and regional wines (don’t worry, we won’t accuse you of being a Epicurean…)!
For more information keep an eye on our meetup site.
- Misconceptions about Stoicism, with guest Greg Sadler
- What about infidelity? A Stoic take
- Marcus Aurelius’ 10 commandments to himself
- Should we believe in the Stoic God?
- 9 easy Stoic exercises
- Epictetus’ Enchiridion
I am developing a number of online courses on different aspects of Stoicism, varying in difficulty from introductory to advanced.
The Stoa Nova uses the versatile Canvas platform for online courses. Canvas is accessible via web interface or using iOS or Android apps for tablets and smart phones. It is widely adopted by Universities across the world because of its sophistication, flexibility and reliability.
Stoicism: the Very Basics (preview here). You can self-enroll by following this link, or by clicking here and entering the code G4K4G9. The course is an introduction to the fundamental ideas of ancient Stoicism, with a focus on its practical applications to modern everyday living. It uses selected writings by Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius, integrated by modern articles on related topics.
Epictetus’ Enchiridion (preview here). You can self-enroll by following this link, or by clicking here and entering the code MGKKNP. The course presents an in-depth introduction and commentary on one of the classic texts of Stoicism, the Manual of Epictetus.
TextbooksWhile there are many very good modern books on Stoicism (not to mention, of course, the classics), students at the Stoa Nova are recommended to read the following (with apologies for the self-promotion):
A Field Guide to a Happy Life: 53 Brief Lessons for Living (Basic Books, 2020).
For more than two thousand years, Stoicism has offered a message of resilience in the face of hardship. Little wonder, then, that it is having such a revival in our own troubled times. But there is no denying how weird it can be: Is it really the case that we shouldn’t care about our work, our loved ones, or our own lives? According to the old Stoics, yes. In A Field Guide to a Happy Life, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers a renewed Stoicism that reflects modern science and sensibilities. Pigliucci embraces the joyful bonds of affection, the satisfactions of a job well done, and the grief that attends loss. In his hands, Stoicism isn’t about feats of indifference, but about enduring pain without being overwhelmed, while enjoying pleasures without losing our heads. In short, he makes Stoicism into a philosophy all of us — whether committed Stoics or simply seekers-can use to live better.
How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life (Basic Books).
Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a Stoic, I offer Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that inspired the great emperor Marcus Aurelius, as the best way to attain it. Stoicism is a pragmatic philosophy that teaches us to act depending on what is within our control and separate things worth getting upset about from those that are not. By understanding Stoicism, we can learn to answer crucial questions: Should we get married or divorced? How should we bank in a world nearly destroyed by a financial crisis? How can we survive great personal tragedy? Whoever you are, Stoicism has something for you — and How to Be a Stoic is your essential guide, featuring an ongoing conversation with the ancient slave-turned-teacher Epictetus.
A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control — 52 Week-by-Week Lessons (with Greg Lopez, The Experiment).
Stress often comes from situations that are beyond our control—such as preparing for a meeting, waiting for test results, or arguing with a loved one. But we can control our response to these everyday tensions—through the wisdom and practice of Stoicism. Stoicism is an ancient pragmatic philosophy that teaches us to step back, gain perspective, and act with intention. In A Handbook for New Stoics, renowned philosopher Massimo Pigliucci and seasoned practitioner Gregory Lopez provide 52 week-by-week lessons to help us apply timeless Stoic teachings to modern life. Whether you’re already familiar with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, or you’re entirely new to Stoicism, this handbook will help you embrace challenges, thrive under pressure, and discover the good life!
The Stoa Nova has partnered with a number of developers to bring you apps aimed at facilitating your Stoic practice.
Caleb Ontiveros produces Stoa, available for both iOS and Android devices.
Robert Raźny publishes the Daily Stoic Exercises app for Android devices.