Updates from Stoics Around the World
Each quarter, Stoic leaders from around the world share updates from their Stoicism groups.
During the COVID-19 we have had success with online meetings using video conference apps. This has been a great experience and has made sure that even after meetings in person were allowed, we have online meetings in our toolbox over the summer where vacations etc. can make meetings in person difficult. This ensures we actually have our meetings roughly every month. We have lost a member but also gained a new one, and a few more have joined our facebook group. Recently a book in Danish came out on the topic of Stoicism and some have read it. It’s great to discuss Stoicism in our native language and it provides a very easy pathway to Stoicism for potential newcomers.
Des Moines Stoics
The group continues to meet monthly online only via Google Meet. Currently, the group is discussing Seneca’s On Anger which has proved a good topic. Seneca’s works will most likely continue to be the topic of discussion for the remainder of the year. All are welcome to join at: https://www.meetup.com/Des-Moines-Stoics/
Dubai Stoic Meetups
We just launched a couple of months ago with almost weekly meet ups, and we have a small membership base with consistent and returning members. Most people I've approached in Dubai have very little knowledge ( if any ) about Stoicism, and have joined the group with the goal of learning more about the philosophy. Every week we explore a topic related to a Stoic themes. There is great interest in learning about Stoicism although challenging to get more people to commit as we tend to get caught up in work and the fast paced lifestyle here in Dubai. However I believe that those who will be committed are those who have a true desire for wisdom and expanding self knowledge. I look forward to the journey ahead.
Estoicismo Practico (Stoicism México)
Since May we started meetups every two weeks online with members of Mexico and other countries of Latinamerica. We have discussed several writings of Seneca and made an accountability group in order for us to practice some Stoic exercises. Our very first meetup was joined by Donald Robertson where we discussed a Stoic approach for living on quarantine and dealing with the COVID pandemic. On our second meetup we discussed the do’s and don’ts of a book club with the input of Greg Lopez. We are wrapping up with Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic this month, and will start with Musonius Rufus’ Lectures and sayings. Everyday we gather more people, and happy to join efforts with our brothers in Latinamerica.
Things are busy, Stoic school presentations and newsletter preparation every month. Weekly stoic walks around the lake are back, and the core group is always present. Interest is steady, we started a coffee hour during the pandemic lockdown and have seen steady membership numbers. A bunch of newcomers, all interested and thirsty for something different out of life. Fremont Stoics have hikes planned, blood donation drives, music nights and more. Living the good life !
GT EPICTETO: The Brazilian Association of Post-graduation in Philosophy (ANPOF)
Approved a workgroup on Epictetus (GT EPicteto). This workgroup, associated with Pórtico de Epicteto and under the direction of Aldo Dinucci, will disseminate research on Epictetus throughout Brazilian universities and promote actions of popularization of Epictetus´philosophy in Brazil. It already has a youtube channel and a page in Porticus´ site and will hold a seminar about Epictetus’ philosophy on the internet in December (for more info see here).
We’ve been doing online meetings once a week since the end of February. We miss meeting in-person but have seen a lot of benefits from meeting virtually. Our general format is to chat and catch-up for 30 mins or so, then spend 30 mins reading The Meditations - right then during the meeting - and then discussing (we’re about to start Book 4). For the next hour we’ll discuss whatever topics or questions that were brought up on our social media pages. We’ve discussed the recent protests and how best to discuss this issue in good faith and in terms of Justice; the Self; Stoicism elevator pitches with newcomers; Stoicism and the first-world; and other topics. We have about a core group of 8-10 people and we’re all becoming good friends. We’re regularly getting new people joining the group.
Since April we have been meeting on line once a month, as usual. In May we had a guest speaker, Kai Whiting, who gave a talk on Stoic duties, and in June, professor Catharine Edwards, who gave a timely talk on Seneca and how to deal with absent friends (you can find it on our Youtube channel). We will continue to provide online meetings well beyond the current crisis. The current circumstances have sparked a discussion around the importance of online meetings as a medium to close the gaps of diversity, amongst other things. An online meeting allows differently abled people to attend (sight/mobility impaired), overcomes geographical distances, gives a more cosmopolitan feel (cosmopolitanism in action, people from different parts of the world get united), and are more environmentally friendly, cutting down on transport to and from the venue. I have the pleasure to announce we now have a new facilitator, Eve Riches. Eve is registered blind / severely sight impaired and is a long cane user. She thinks online meetings are a great opportunity for people with mobility impairments, caring responsibilities or busy lives to be able to access groups that they could not attend in person. Eve teaches Psychology and runs online workshops on managing anxiety. In September, she will start a new monthly online meeting focusing on applying Stoicism to everyday life, drawing on the book by Massimo and Greg, and other resources. This will be in addition to our regular standard meeting, which may become bi-monthly due to lack of facilitators.
Los Angeles Stoics
Check out our website at losangelesstoics.com. We are continuing to host meetings online using "Google Meet" (though we may shift to Zoom). Feel free to join us: we are currently working our way through Robin Campbell’s selection of Seneca’s Letters in our regular meetings and will soon begin Pierre Hadot’s Inner Citadel in our 'theory meetings' (both at a slow, thoughtful pace!). RSVP at our Meetup site... Also in the works: STOICON-X LOS ANGELES will be held on October 10th, 2020 online. If you’re interested in presenting, check out our Call for Presentations. Again, check our main website for updates and consider donating through Patreon.
The Melbourne Stoa’s fortnightly meetings have moved online via Skype since late March. We just finished reading all 124 of Seneca’s Letters and will be moving onto a mix of both ancient and modern stoicism in the Apology by Xenophon and the Becker commentary by Massimo Pigliucci.
Monterey Stoicism Meetup Group
Just celebrated our 1 year anniversary with 10 regular members. We meet weekly via a private zoom link. Continuing to make our way through the last third of “Handbook for New Stoics”.
New England Stoics
We have begun regular meditation sessions as part of our normal routine. Once a week every week we have a silent session for about a half hour. We start the meditation usually with a quote saddled in stoicism, every 3 minutes a chime goes off to help us remind ourselves to focus on whatever it is we chose to focus on and after a half-hour we discuss our experience. Additionally every other Sunday prior to our meetings we have a contemplative stoic meditative exercise in which we usually journal. Moving into August or possibly September we would like to hopefully start meeting in person again but we want to evaluate the current status of covid-19 to make sure that everything runs properly and safe.
Additionally, and as a personal note, I would like to thank all of those who voted for me to be on the board. I aspire to live up to expectations. Thank you.
The NYC Stoics are continuing our year of Cicero online for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19. We just finished reading On the Ends of Good and Evil and are now moving on to Tusculan Disputations. Feel free to join us online if you’d like! We’re also tentatively moving ahead with Stoic Camp NY 2020 in person. Our host is taking extra precautions, and we will be, too; we’re holding all our group sessions outdoors as long as weather permits, and in a well-ventilated large room with mandatory masks if it doesn’t. We won’t know for sure whether it will be held until around two weeks before the event. However, we’ve closed registration for the event in order to limit the number of people in attendance.
Still growing in the pandemic era, our group has reached almost 1000 members and sometimes 30 people in a Zoom meeting. Meetings are still twice a week. Mondays we cover interesting topics and thinkers, like Stoicism v. Nihilism, and Stoicism & Shopenhauer. On Fridays, we read modern Stoic books from Antonia Macaro, Massimo Pigliucci, Donald Robertson, and Ward Farnsworth. We also offer walking meditations every Sunday (practicing social distancing), yet enjoying the beauty in nature. All meeting times are published in Eastern, Central, and Mountain Time, because people from other time zones are attending.
Things are going well, and since the pandemic restrictions have mostly been lifted, we have started to meet in person again. We have about two meetings a month, covering different topics. The last few ones have been about a particular virtue, and so far we have covered justice and temperance. We will have a short break for the summer, and resume meetings in August. We have also had some online meetings with the other Stoas in Norway and hope to keep on collaborating with them in the future.
We are holding our meetings online via Zoom while social distancing is in place. We have four Zoom groups going. One group is working on the exercises in A Handbook for New Stoics, discussing two weeks of exercises at each monthly meeting. We are up to weeks 29 and 30. Another group meets monthly to discuss the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Gregory Hayes translation. We discuss a chapter at each meeting, selecting a few choice passages for each meeting and discussing their meaning and how we can apply the concepts in our life. We also run a monthly meeting suitable for newcomers in which we feature a different Stoic topic each month. We recently started a weekly practice group whose purpose is to help members apply Stoic practices and perspectives to specific life problems members present. This group is currently limited to eight participants to enhance cohesion and comfort with discussing what are sometimes highly personal issues.
Pórtico de Epicteto
Please visit also the new site of Pórtico de Epicteto. In the publications page, there is a link to the free pdf of the first ever Portuguese translation of Epictetus' Discourses Book 1 (University of Coimbra Press) by Aldo Dinucci, among other books.
Roseville Stoic Philosophy Meetup
The Roseville group has faced some challenges due to covid. I recently rescheduled a meetup from in person to online in wake of the Governor closing restaurants yet again. Also a prospective new member has her brother that she currently lives with being tested for covid. We recently finished "A Guide to the Good Life" by William Irvine. We found it to be more focused on modern than classical stoicism. Focusing on achieving tranquility and not virtue. More in line with enlightened hedonism or epicureanism.
We had some new members interested in joining as we move on or rather back to our next book Epictetus Enchiridion before going into Discourses. I hear that we are different from most groups in that we read Stoic books together and discuss them instead of doing exercises or focused group discussions.
We kick-started our online meetings on zoom with a conversation on Stoic resilience with Donald Robertson and our own Boab Keenan. We aim to continue with fortnightly, online meetings for the foreseeable future. Currently, only 4 families can meet at anyone time here and social distancing of 2m and mandatory face masks make in person non-workable. We have an upcoming conversation on zoom with Erlend MacGillivray on his upcoming book, "Epictetus & Lay people" on 29th July at 7pm GMT. We look forward to growing our virtual membership and meetings with a mixture of interviews on history, theory and practice coupled with follow up meetings focussed on daily practice.
The main news of the Stoa Gallica association is the official launch of its website in February 2020 and its deployment on the social networks Twitterand LinkedIn. This considerably increased our visibility and had repercussions on the number of membership in the association and of registration on the Facebook group Stoïcisme Contemporain which exceeded 1500 people recently. Since its launch, numerous articles have been published on our website with, since the beginning of July, a summer series dedicated to the presentation of the members and sympathizers of the association telling about their discovery of Stoicism and how this philosophy has changed their lives. Our site also aims to become the showcase of the movement of actualized Stoicism in France and to provide a practical guide for anyone wishing to embrace this philosophy of life. The work of the association in the coming months will aim to define and build the educational strategy on which this Stoic training will be based. An introduction to contemporary stoicism is organized from August 9-14, 2020, led by Pierre Haese, vice-president of the association, but the health crisis caused by COVID-19 has severely limited enrollment to date, and this seminar may not be held finally (in any case not face to face). As in the whole world, the emergence of this virus has caused a return to the philosophical sources of Stoicism in France, and many articles have been published on this subject, which we considered useful to compile in one of our own articles.
Stoa Nova-New York
Our meetings have, of course, transitioned online because of the pandemic. As a result, they have been attended by an average close to one hundred people, and are now posted on YouTube. Check out Massimo’s conversations with Don Robertson, Bill Irvine, John Sellars, Greg Lopez, Chris Gill, and Greg Sadler.
We are on hiatus for the summer, primarily because of other commitments of the main organizer. An invitation was made to the group for an alternate organizer to take the reins, but nobody was inclined to do so. During March and April, we increased our meeting frequency to twice monthly instead of the usual one, given that we were meeting virtually. Attendance varied from good to very light. Recent topics have included discussion of chapters of Meditations, as well as heftier topics such as “What is true and how does one discern it.” We anticipate resuming meetings in September, though we are likely to continue in a virtual format whether or not it impacts attendance.
Stoics of Daytona Beach
Mostly beginners and slow growth, but those who attend are grateful to have this group for intellectual discussions (which are not available in other Daytona groups). Our monthly meetings are now reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
Stoics The Netherlands
Just started up, and in preparation for the first official Meetup for October (non digital). Still looking for new members through the mailinglist. Stoicism is gaining popularity, but it's still relatively unknown in the Netherlands.
Our members recently expressed interest in meeting in person again, but we will refrain from this, because Florida is returning to lock-down due to rising COVID cases. So, we will continue with our Zoom meetings, which are monthly. Also, we are seeing a rise in Meetup members, perhaps due to the new Florida lock-down. We’ve passed 250 members.
Our group has been utilizing online meetings the last months due to the situation. This has worked fine, though attendance has been somewhat low. “Norwegian summer” lasts from early June to mid-August, so we hope to pick up speed again next month. At the same time, we are also working with the other Norwegian Stoic groups to get a national group or page going in order to boost engagement - seeing as Norway is quite small to begin with.
Vernon BC Stoics
We held two online meetings over the last couple of months with fairly low attendance. Yesterday evening we held an in-person meeting on the back porch of a high school (stoa). We had six people attend and were able to keep chairs 2m apart. We are very fortunate to have very low COVID-19 numbers here. The Interior Health Region of BC is about half the size of France with a population of 762,124. Total cases 203 with 2 deaths. It's great to meet in person again but we will have to limit the size of the meetings as when you get more than six or seven the circle gets a little big.