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Living Like a Stoic: Modern Applications of an Ancient Philosophy

Updated on August 27, 2014
jheldt profile image

I am a writer, blogger, youtuber and video game streamer, I have several facebook pages, blogs and more.

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How to get started with Stoic Week

I first started out with a few kindle books which I read some over time but what got me into the philosophy of stoicism was living and experiencing it by doing stoicweek. Stoicweek is what it sounds like and that is living a week like a stoic, practicing daily stoic meditations and reflections and adapting stoic ideas to everyday life. I have included a link below to start with stoicweek but I find that to be a very helpful starting point.

Stoic Week is free to participate in and is done every year. There are audio files, and a 30ish page pdf file that details how to get started. You can do it anytime of the year though and not just the week designated on the website. It is also partially done to see if the ancient philosophical practice of stoicism can be beneficial and helpful to modern day life.

The Stoic Week website has many recommendations for other ebooks, and programs to delve further into stoicism.

Letters from a Stoic by Seneca

Stoic Philosophers

What Stoic Philosopher are you most familiar with (or have heard of)?

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Dialogues and Letters ((includes "On the Shortness of Life") by Seneca

Meditations: A New Translation by Gregory Hays

Meditations: A New Translation
Meditations: A New Translation

A new translation on the stoic classic meditations, written by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus who was emperor of Rome succeeding his father and was emperor during a rather difficult part of Roman history.

 
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Practical modern applications of Stoicism

Stoicism is a school of philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_of_Citium), spread across Greece and later flourished throughout the Roman empire.

Stoics believe that it is virtuous to live in accordance with nature. Furthermore that the best indication of someone's personal philosophy isn't what they say but how they act. Later stoics emphasized that "virtue is sufficient for happiness," and thus stoics were immune to misfortune. Stoicism is often confused for passive indifference/acceptance, being meek, a pushover etc.

This is a very common mistake and true stoicism is truly about essentially being a good to yourself, others and nature, accepting what you cannot change or affect and resolving to work and better yourself over time.

Personally I have found stoicism to be very helpful in dealing with chronic health conditions. It is often very easy for someone chronically ill to become bitter, misanthropic, and angry (I do have my days though). I simply accept my situation in my life and resolve to do better every day, and to reflect daily on how my triumphs, mistakes and things to improve upon.

I find the morning and evening stoic meditation/reflection (that I learned from stoicweek) to be very helpful. While I don't do it every day, when I wake up I try to plan out my day, visualize how it will go, the problems I will face, difficult situations/people I will encounter, how I can act and what I can do to improve myself daily. For the evening meditation I do this right before going to bed and reflect on what I went through each day, the good, the bad, how I could have done things differently and resolve to improve the next day.

While stoicism is relatively simple the ideas and general philosophy is very profound and applicable, especially to those dealing with chronic conditions, toxic environments and other personal issues/problems. Stoicism can even be helpful for entrepreneurs as seen in this blog post as well: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/04/13/stoicism-101-a-practical-guide-for-entrepreneurs

The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Written by Pierre Hadot a french philosopher and historian of philosophy. Expanding upon the stoic classic meditations Pierre Hadot adds upon the stoic philosophy.

 
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Stoicism books and resources to look into

Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius are the most widely known stoic philosophers and those that we have texts/books of. Throughout time there have been several translations done of the texts written by Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.

It is important to find a good translation or well written book based on stoicism as some translations are hard to read or not appealing for some reason or another. I find the recommendations on this website to be very helpful: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/04/13/stoicism-101-a-practical-guide-for-entrepreneurs/


Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault by Pierra Hadot and Arnold Davidson

Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault
Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault

Spiritual exercises based on stoicism and other ancient religions and philosophies.

 

Stoicism for Everyday Life: New Video

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

"The philosophy of Seneca has extended in influence from first-century Rome to the essays of Montaigne, to Elizabethan tragedy, to the theology of Calvin and the doctrines of the French Revolution."

 

Incredible Lecture series on Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism

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    • jheldt profile imageAUTHOR

      jheldt 

      4 years ago from USA

      thanks :)

    • dis-cover profile image

      Nikolic Predrag 

      4 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

      Great hub, thank's for sharing. Voted up!

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