The Stoic Archive 

These are the Postings prior to December 18th 1999
Find the current Stoic forum  here
 
Date:
9/13/98

Greetings everyone. As you can see this is a new forum for a new society. We hope you will post to it with your comments about whatever interests you. We would also like to keep in touch with any of you that attended the Symposium in Larnaca, and maybe get your feedback. Dr. Breuninger can be reached  and I am available at peopleATwindowoncyprus.com   Best wishes to all. Jayne Ross-Clunis

Date:
9/16/98
Jayne,

This site looks lovely! You are a first class cybenet wizzard. I'll say a few words to BETA TEST this site, then I'll go back to sleep and write more later.

The computers went down at the Cyprus Airport and the take off was delayed. Missed the connection in Paris so I was forced to stay in Paris overnight.

I remember wishing on the way across the Atlantic that I could spend more time in Paris, but now that I was there, I kept wishing I could be stranded in Larnaca instead. I was very sad to leave all my friends there and I am anxious to find a way to return soon.

The plane landed in Palm Beach Monday evening at 7pm. Everyone in school was excited to see me so I spent the entire day talking to all my students about my kind hosts, the gentle Cypriots, and the wonderful things to do and see in Cyprus.

I am very tired so I'll have to write more tomorrow. Hope to see you soon,   Zeno

Date:
10/4/98
To Whom It May Concern

I am Kenneth Sibley, an American Stoic. I am very interested in a Stoic revival. You should know that there is a small group of Stoics communicating via e-mail, all of whom became acquainted from an internet website called the Stoic Registry.

You can reach me at the e-mail address aureliusATiland.net . I hope to hear more about the International Stoic Society.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth Sibley

 

Date:
10/16/98

I have been a practicing Stoic for just under twenty years. As I have just recently gotten access to the Internet this is my first evidence of an international Stoic movement. After years of having people look askance at me for my Stoic values, I am delighted to know there are others of you still out there. I may be reached at pmbaysdATaol.com

Peace

Peter Martin Baysdell

Date:
10/17/98

thisiswrongbelieveinjesuschrist

Date:
10/19/98

youseemtobeslightlyspacedoutmyfriend. Relax and don't be afraid to think about it

Date:
10/19/98

what are seneca's views on death as portrayed in letters from a stoic e-mail is connerATidir.net

Date:
10/21/98

Hi. Are there any local Stoic societies or fellowships out there? I'm considering starting a local group here in Kentucky (USA) and I wanted to see what others are doing. Contact me at paul_lecordeATmailexcite.com . Thanks. Paul

Date:
10/21/98

Conner--

I will take a shot at your question. I apologize to my more learned Stoic comrades if my answer here is somewhat simplified and certainly understand if they feel it needs to be further fleshed out.

The question of death is rarely separated from the question of life (although Marcus does discuss death more exclusively). The circumstances of our life are largely beyond our control; our ability to face them with courage, to see them as they are, to respond to them with widsom, honor and integrity are fully within our power. Further, it is as fully within our power to respond well to "unfavorable" turns as it is to respond well to "favorable" ones. Each is an opportunity to accept what Providence chooses to give us and to act in accordance with the wisdom and honor with which we have been similarly provided. The time, means and agent of our death are, for the most part, circumstances beyond our will and thus not matters for either dispair or distress. The length and material quality of our lives are not ours to decide or necessarily even to pursue as ends in themselves whereas the moral quality of our lives is the correct focus of our daily efforts. All that said, Seneca saw death (his own in particular) as not being a matter of constraint-that is, he was not to be lead to it as an unwilling participant, straining against his bonds to the last. Rather, his life was not truly his own as something of which he could ordain the length or outer circumstances. It was his place to hand back over what was lent to him for a time (and should have always been understood to have been lent for a time) with courage and honor, just as he would carry out any other duty. He understood that he had no right to a set number of years which could be unjustly"cut short" before he was ready. In fact, just the opposite would be true--that by failing to be ready to hand his life back over, it would be he himself who would be committing the injustice by failing to live up to the understanding implicit in his own life.

At the risk of putting words in Seneca's mouth, I believe he would have answered "The worst thing that could happen to me is not death but that I should meet that inevitability without the courage and honor which is my only birthright" In the event (as you may already know) Seneca was directed to take his own life my the Emperor Nero. Tacitus' excellent account of this event bears out the acceptance and serenity with which he died (Annals XV: 60-64). I apologize if this repsonse has been overlong or pendantic.

Peace to you all Peter

Date:
10/23/98
Greetings from Jayne in Cyprus....we have been getting more mail than the forum has,so with the permission of the senders I would like to re-route some through here for all to see..

Question from Stan

Please excuse my ignorance....but it is my understanding that a stoic is one who, in general, minimizes or eliminates his (or her) emotions.....in their every day activities.

Mostly cerebral.

Am I close to the correct meaning? If not, would you kindly explain a stoics perception of his (or her) surroundings? Thank you.

Answer

Dear Stan,

The key is to be at peace with yourself and the world. The world is jam packed with things that are just waiting to disturb inner peace! Much in life is distraction & illusion, if not everything! We find ourselves attracted to material things and attached to the desires for material things. The attachment weighs us down like iron chains surrounding our spirits. Attaching yourself to the material world is the cerebral thing. Detaching yourself is the spiritual thing.

There is a material world an we live in it. Becoming attached the material world is a learned thing.

When you were a baby you might have heard something like, "Here, Stan, is your pretty new ball.", "That is your brother's ball. Don't touch it!",

When you grew older you may have heard this, "If you share your new ball with your friends, protect it from harm and make sure you bring it home with you."

We all learn to take care of our things and to protect them. That's good. Material things are useful if you live in a material world. We all live in a material world.

We also learn not to cry if we've lost the ball. We're often assured we will get another, someday, or something better. Stoics believe we've been born without the ball. It won't do us much good when we die. So, since we are only using the ball for a short time while we are on Earth, anyway, what's the big deal if we must give it up now or a little bit later down the road. Maybe we'll get another later, maybe not. But it's not a big deal either way. No sense getting all bummed out about it. Being bummed is just some time out in an "uncool" space. Can't really get much done while you're bummed out. People don't want to hang out with you when you're bummed out. It's kind of like being spiritually in jail. Might as well be mello, and just move along. No big deal. Just being cool.

That's why angels have wings. They take things lightly.

Zeno

Date:
10/23/98
(Again reprinted with permission) Kenneth Sibley says

I do not maintain the Stoic Registry; I am merely one of the Stoics listed therein. The address is

http://members.aol.com/cyberstoic/index.html

Please do visit the site soon. You may be interested to know that we have recently been discussing the formation of a Stoic organization. I have been urging that we establish a tax-exempt educational (or religious?) group under chapter 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. So far, there are few specific ideas of what a group like that would do. Your suggestion that an organization of Stoics might recognize a world leader each year intrigues me.

Incidentally, the keeper of the Stoic Registry, Erik Wiegardt, publishes a short quarterly sheet to all the members of the Registry. He has also put out a book, _The Path of the Sage_, in which he attempts an explication of Stoicism for the modern reader. I'm sure he would send you a copy on request.

In the short time I've been connected to the Stoic Registry, I have discovered a significant diversity of opinion, talent, and education among self-proclaimed Stoics. For myself, I first encountered Stoicism in college. My bachelor's degree is in classical languages and literature, and one of the Latin authors I read for my degree was Seneca. My Greek teacher also strongly recommended Marcus Aurelius, though the idiosyncracy of his diction made him inappropriate for all but graduate courses. My path led to public service in the military and the law, and so I never went beyond an undergraduate education in the classics. Now, my Latin and Greek having grown somewhat rusty, I find myself more often than not making do with translations. Still, it is delightful to discover, after all these years, that I am not the only Stoic in the world.

In our group there are but 21. How many are you? This past year there have been many indications that Stoicism is truly beginning to revive. Interest seems to be on the rise, to judge from the number of new texts published on the subject (including Lawrence Becker's _A New Stoicism_, which attempts to characterize Stoicism as it would be today had it never faded from view). Of course, any rise from an absolute nadir will seem immediately hopeful. Let us all hope for a genuine revival of Stoicism, from which we may expect--perhaps--a general increase in reason, virtue, and self-rule.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth Sibley

Date:
10/23/98
(This is in reply to queries about the outcome and content of the recent symposium)

A complete journal will be published in early Spring of 1999 by the Pierides Foundation.

All papers are in progress right now with final reports due into the publisher by Jan 1, 1999. I have audio tapes with distortions of all the lectures and I am in the process of reviewing those myself.

Zeno

Date:
10/24/98
Peter,

Thanks for that nice contribution on Seneca!

Zeno

Date:
10/24/98
Peace to you all--

I was delighted to discover this Forum a couple of weeks ago shortly after my first forays onto the Internet. My limited attempts to discover what Stoics are out there seem to indicate (as Aurelius notes) that they run the gamut from practitioners to academic scholars, from the merely interested and new students to the more experienced veterans. In order that all may benefit from the experience of each of us, I would like to propose that we use this Forum to share articles, thoughts, passages for the edification of the rest. I would further propose that all parties feel free to contribute constructive comments, advance the conversation at hand or pick up a different topic altogether. As none of us as yet to submit anything of this nature to the Forum (to the best of my knowledge) I am happy to serve as the initial catspaw just to get things rolling if necessary. Is there interest out there in such a discourse? Or is there a better proposal, perhaps?

Peter pmbaysdATaol.com

Date:
11/10/98

I have always believed in simple living and being contented within myself...I found this forum when looking for my maiden name "Gialenes" from which I was born..I am half Greek and half German.. I am interested in attending some meetings on the Stoic society and philosophy...I live in the Los Angeles area..Is there a stoic society here in California where I live..if so please e-mail me information about that.. Thank you.. My e-mail address is ocsystmsATpacbell.net Cynthia

Date:
11/10/98
Bonsoir.

S.V.B.E.E.V.

Nous sommes enchantés d'assister à de telles initiatives outre Atlantique, mais... y aurait-il également quelques personnes souhaitant participer à une entreprise à peu près similaire en France ?

Le 10 novembre 98, Matthieu et Eléonore.

More.MajorumATwanadoo.fr

Date:
11/21/98

I have thought about the desirability of establishing a web site for the promulgation of stoic philosophy for many years, but had not acted upon these ideas. For this reason, I am very pleased to have found your site. As an American, I often wonder about the parallels between our own world and that of the Roman stoics. I believe our times are well-fitted for a revival of stoic thought and practice. What has convinced me of this is the Latin-like domination of the United States in all world affairs amidst the collapsing morality of its citizens and leaders. Although some would argue that America has been antagonistic to the interests of other peoples throughout its history, our nation has at least clothed its actions in the pretense of Christian virtue, providing a check on its most imperialistic impulses. As Christian virtue continues to erode among the citizens and leaders of the United States, however, I belive a time of deep trouble and individual powerlessness will descend on the world and the need for a revival of stoic teaching will be great. Thank you for establishing this site. geoffsunATaol.com

Date:
11/22/98

In a message dated 11/21/98 6:22:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, Pmbaysd writes: Anything interesting happening out at your end? I seem to remember that you had been reviewing the papers from the last (and first) conference this summer. >>

Dear Peter,

It was delightful, as always, to hear from you. The past few days I have been working reviewing my notes On Emotions, and applying them to the way I play the stock market. I find playing the stock market it is a lot like playing with emotions. There are sporadic upward and downward swings. Sometimes movements in either direction are slow, but at times they are extremely fast and radical.

The fast and radical game has seemingly unlimited rewards, but it is the hardest to control. In a matter of minutes one can make a fortune or face financial doom. Like emotions, one can only be successful if one is willing to control for the upward swings and guard against the downward swings. When the losses of the radical approach are balanced against the wins, those using a conservative approach tend to be in the game longer and have accumulated most of the capital. Hence, in dealing with our emotions or the stock market, a more conservative approach seems wiser.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Zeno

Date:
11/30/98

Today, as I sat in a McDonalds here in Hawaii, I heard a mother tell her teenage son "When they are polite to me, I am polite to them. When they aren’t polite to me, I don’t have to be polite to them..". This was not an admission of weakness but a "teaching moment" between mother and son. This small fragment of conversation has hung with me throughout the day and has repeatedly raised the single question "How can someone say such a thing?" The statement seems to imply that my exercise of virtue is a requirement levied upon me by the actions of another; that I can be released from that obligation by the actions of another. Shall I allow my virtue to be exercised at the whim of another? Shall I practice it at the whim of their weakness, at that? Am I deprived of anything by another’s conduct that I should respond as a wronged party? Even were that so, would I not, by acting without Virtue, be compounding my injury by my own hand? In what way, do I stand to benefit by this?

Even on a purely human interaction level, why would I want this? Were my brother to treat me with discourtesy, shall I not be even more desirous of responding with Virtue? If my brother is unable or unwilling to act with wisdom and justice, how will there be wisdom and justice in that moment if I don’t provide it? If there is not justice in the small moments of my life, how will there ever be justice in the larger world?

Well, maybe more than one question was raised.....

Peace Peter

Date:
12/5/98

Hello , NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE STOICISM PHILOSPHY HAS CONTRUBUTED TO THE MODERN WORLD THANKS ANSWERE QUICKLY adrianne_meAThotmail.com

Date:
12/13/98
I have just finished reading "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe. Throughout the book he references the stoic philosophy. I found that many of the ideas presented in the book were ideas that said a lot about how I have tried to live my own life. Wolf quotes heavily from "The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers" edited by Whitney J. Oates (1940) I would like to read this book but have not been able to locate a reference to it on the web. Does anyone have information about this book that might help me in my search? email: rkilmerATtexas.net Wolfe's book is a good read. Thanks for any help Richard Kilmer

Date:
1/4/99
Dear: I have been interested in Stoic ideas for a number of years now. I live in Tucson, Arizona. I am a storyteller by trade. I would appreciate a group to communicate with about philosophy in general and Stoic philosophy in particular. My name is Ron Lancaster, r4444ATazstarnet.com Yours truly

Date:
1/10/99
(In Los Angeles, recently, California Stoic Society president Jillian has started the L. A. Stoic Society Online for Local Stoics to interact via internet and meet & socialize locally.)

Dear Sweet Jillian,

I applaud your efforts to promote Stoicism. It is an ancient and always respected style of living. The early Stoics were totally into living naturally, in accord with natural law. When one embraces Stoicism, he or she is immediately ascended above the material world into a totally free spiritual existance.

The real world is totally natural and full of life and beauty, but from time to time it becomes contaminated by man's greed and selfishness. Selfishness and material gain has infected our government, wrecked our ecosystem and threatens our globe.

Many politicians and corporate leaders hold profits and personal gain as life's highest value. We Stoics believe that maintaining virtue is far more valuable than material gain.

When all of us, as a species, hold natural law as the highest virtue, and put our love of life and our planet above our need for material gain, we will once again live in the Garden of Eden.

Warmest Wishes,

Zeno

Date:
1/13/99

To Richard Kiley,

If you have yet to find the Stoic Philosophy book mentioned in Tom Wolfe's 'A Man in Full', try www.bibliofind.com. I've always been able to locate out of print books via this site.

Peace out.

john_hooverAThotmail.com

Date:
1/20/99

20. 1. 1999 Era Vulgaris

Greetings from V. Rassias on behalf of DIIPETES Journal, Athens, Hellas (PO Box 20037, GR-11810, Athens, Hellas). I personally consider Stoicism being not only a philosophical thesis but also part of my everyday and religious praxis. If you like to contact the Hellenic Gentiles please do it via diipetesATeexi.gr You can also read a few things about us in the Site of WORLD CONGRESS OF ETHNIC RELIGIONS (WCER) at: www.wcer.org/ If you also understand Stoicism as religious thesis/praxis you are welcome to join WCER.

XAIPETE

Vlasis G. Rassias

Date:
1/25/99

"...spiritually in jail..." Just read the post from Jayne in Cyprus... and yes... I am one of those who just finished reading Wolfe's A Man in Full... about 45 minutes ago. Ending wreaks but ... wow! ... What a case for Stoicism. I'm sure there is so much more but if he hit anywhere near the true meaning... call me a Stoic. I have been living such a sheltered, "pissed-off-at-the-world" existence. Trying to just make ends meet for 16 years. I think underneath it all, I just want to be free from... well... everything. Just let me work, (which I truely enjoy by the way), and play with my friends and family without feeling like I have to keep up with the world. It's not anyone's fault but my own. From this minute on my head is high and there are no worries. Jayne is right, nobody likes to hang out with someone who is bummed out. You just made me realize how true that is. You know, (and I don't point this out for anyone to feel sorry for me), I have one person in the whole world that I would truely call a 'best friend'... but I think I wore even her down. The sad part is that it is not even my wife. I have been very sad for a long time. No, I haven't gone over the edge... I have just seen life the way it is meant to be ... without the pressures I have been putting on myself.

I did my time Jayne... now I'm free to start over...

Hell, gonna have me a Guinness and enjoy life ... from now on...

Hope to hear from everybody soon...

 
Date:
1/25/99
Hello to you last poster.
Jayne is not right, Jayne didn't write it.....Jayne only posted from the private mail box....Zeno wrote it...
Jayne is writing this.......Glad you finished your time.....moments of 'enlightenment ' are a great way to take the decision to change, throw off the guilt and dross and start again.. Happy birthday

I have a question for all of you out there.

Yesterday my beloved and I were having a discussion about the sexes.
He (I believe after listening to him for 20 years) is a born again misogynist, and thinks that women (except me of course) stink. They don't think the same way as men and   women's lib has spelt the end of the 'bondage of men by women' Men will rebel, because in the end, they do not really care.....they will commit atrocities because deep down they are ruled by their genetic inheritance....which is dominance........lust and greed. Decency is dead....killed by women's indecency !

I disagree. Decency can be found in any creature. I am of the opinion that 'people who stink' is neither attributable to sex or culture.....it is individual. Peer pressure and other considerations may influence peoples  behaviour, male and female. Atrocities are committed both by atrocious people, but also by those who are not, but easily led.

The bottom line I think is 'decency' not conditioned decency, the kind that you perform because of guilt, or feeling that someone is watching....but deep down behaving the way you wish the world to be.

Example: I collect stray animals....well actually they collect me.....he complains and offers to put them down
But the bottom line is that when a kitten is injured in the middle of the road, he tells me about it and says "You had better bring it in"

The question is......What do you believe.....Is decency only either conditioning or breeding, is it DNA molecules, or is it a choice you make ?

Date:
2/9/99

Hi, I want to be a member of the International Stoic Society My name is Carlos Manuel Estefanía. Im from Cuba and now I live in Sweden. Thanks email carlosmestefaniATusa.net

Date:
2/11/99

Hi, Am doing doctorate at VUB - Brussels/Belgium. Subject : Seneca Seneca in 12 conversations with philosophers, statesmen (frederick the Great, Marcus Aurelius etc) etc based on "Le Neveu de Rameau" by D. Diderot. And other stoics. Is any one, anywhere, interested is arguing philosophy and stoicism with J.Mendel/Seneca. Any answers and/or suggestions will be greatly appriated. Joey Mendel, M.A. Historical Methodology (York University - Toronto)(1980)

Date:
2/17/99

kfordATmail.llion.org

I am interested to learn how many of you are practicing stoics <if any>. I am enlightened by the words of zeno and epictetus. I am would like to receive any information or advice that you have about living the life of a true stoic free from misconceived appearances.

Date:
3/5/99

Greetings. My name is Mike and I am trying to live a Stoic life. I am interested in corresponding with other like minded students. Reach me at richtem1ATleav-emh1.army.mil

Date:
3/11/99

Just a comment - I participated a few years ago in something called The Forum. Wonder if anyone else has completed this course and if they see the simalarities to Stoicism? I have discovered Stoicism thanks to an article in the Los Angeles Times on 3/11/99. I look forward to coming back to this page and learning more. Thank you. If you want to email me - CarterMntgATaol.com

Date:
3/11/99

Hello again- regarding the post on 'decency" (from the women who collects stray animals - or, they collect her) - this thought of decency sparked a conversation between my beloved and myself as well - we both agree that decency is not a DNA issue, it is indeed learned behaviour. The Good Samritan is something she cited in our talk, if you see a man hurt - lying on the ground, the decent thing to do would be to help him, right? But, what if you were a high caste Hindu, it would be a defilement to touch anyone who is not of your caste. What we consider in the western world to be decent female attire, is decidedly indecent to a fundamentalist Muslim. Any more ideas? :)

CarterMntgATaol.com

Date:
3/12/99

I saw a reent article in the Los Angeles Times about the "Stoic revival". It was interesting for me as my mention of Epictetus, my favorite, has always been met by those to whom I mention him with a blank stare. Great site. I'll be back. wfreemanATibm.net Cucamonga, CA, USA

Date:
3/14/99
Dear Zeno,

Does the value of social good lies in attaining the "good"? Is "good " rational ? Isn't to be "good"a passion unattainable, an ultimate falacy?

Oh, how I wished to find the answer. I try to live by acceptance : "life is what life is". Only the "I" can know what is the ideal of behavior.

Anyway I'm interested in the Stoic Ideal. Open ........

Best wishes Alfred

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Alfred,

Good is obtainable. Good is not a passion. Good is not a quest. Good is not an obsession. Good is a way of life.

Good is relative to your surroundings. Good life is relative to your community. In the consentration camp at Dachau, good was being able to find a nice place to rest your head with no lice. In the forest, good is being able to rest your head on a pile of leaves free from pine cones or roots.

Good is acceptance and appreciation of your surroundings.

Good is not a passion. Good is not a goal. Good is a way of life. Good is the Stoic way of life.

May Peace follow you like warmth on a summer day,

Zeno

Date:
3/15/99
I am searching desperately for a video on Marcus Aurelius. I have been able to find nothing. Would anyone know if any such video exists? if not a video on Marcus Aurelius, than one on just Stoicism. I am looking for a educational video to use in the class room.

Thanks, Artognov

Date:
3/16/99
I am researching a term paper on stoicism and would welcome any information about stoicism- the beliefs of modern stoics or the history of the discipline. Please email me at phikappaalphaAThotmail.com   OR u_mugnainisrATfhu.edu . Thanks, Stefano Mugnaini

Date:
3/18/99
I shall say first off that I am not a Stoic, I am a Roman Catholic. I think what Thomas Wolfe is trying to say in his latest book is that Stoicism is merely a first step on the path back to a re-Christianized world. Stoicism arose, I belive, because of dissillusionment and jadedness of the entire Human Condition. I think that there is a little we must respect about Stoicism on the surface, but by its very nature Stoicism is dualistic. It implies that the flesh and the world are inherently evil, and that we suffer because are trapped in this "mortal coil". There is a grave problem in this belief- if it is true that we are "trapped" in this world and flesh, we are either victims of a cruel, unjust God, or we are angels being punished for some transgression. Both are utterly untrue- the first because God, the First Cause, Absolute Being , whatever name you choose to call Him, cannot be evil because evil is contingent on some Primal Good, and the Supreme Being IS this primary good. The second cannot be true for similar reasons as the first- if we are "fallen angels how could this Primary Good create something that is INHERENTLY evil, i.e. the world and the flesh that we are supposedly imprisioned in? He couldn't, because evil is ultimately the result of a FREE WILL, made in the Image and Likeness of God, CHOOSING to reject the Primary Good and attempting to BECOME the Primary Good. Hence the reason why we suffer is because the human will decides to try to become this Primary Good over and over again (read: sin). The First Man, as a represenative of all his progeny, decided to do this and as a result brought suffering into the world Since the human soul (in which is the will) is so intimately united to the body as to form one person, the malady caused by the First Sin affected the body of the First Man and all of his descendents, and since the first man rejected the Source of his own being, it affected the hierarchy of being in the rest of the Physical Universe, which is the reason we have natural disasters and disease and unruly, dangerous animals. To sum up, Stoicism places the blame on the wrong part of the human person. The Stoic blames an inherently evil world and flesh, when in fact the source of all ills in the long, bloody, sad, history of the human race has been the wills of people when they decide to reject the Source of their being and try to become Him. We are all to blame here, noone is exempt. Which is why we must struggle to surrender to the God-Man Jesus Christ, who is the Man that we must know and love and give our entire beings to. Thomas Wolfe, I think, sees Stoicism as a stepping stone to Christianity, not a destination. It may be a legitimate way in this jaded, world-weary, post-historical, post-modern post-Christian Culture that we live in. All we can do is see what will unfold in the years to come.

Matthew Wauck

email: fillygipretzelusAThotmail.com  

Date:
3/19/99
Hi. Nothing to say. Doesnt matter anyway. God is (in) me. Therefore I am. America...

Date:
3/22/99
Doctor Breuninger, My name is Erik Eisenmann and I am a high school senior in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I am in an AP English class that requires the writing of a research paper as a thesis at the end of the school year. I have chosen as my topic the history of stoic philosophy and its impact on society today. I became interested in stoicism after reading a novel( Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full") and the more I learn about it, the more I am intrigued. Anyway, part of my research requires that I conduct some form of interview or correspondence with an expert in the field of study I am writing about. If you could help me out in amy way, it would be greatly appreciated, even if just to give me some addresses and sites that might be useful in my search. I hope to utilize your newly founded society also! Thank you for your time and continue to bring attention to one of the most intriguing philosophies in history.

Sincerely, -Erik Eisenmann- ekeisenman

Date:
3/22/99
Erik,

Thank you very much for your kind email.

The revival of the Spirit of Stoicism results from a strong universal need for honesty and simplicity. The world is sadly abused by those who care less if they suffocate others with their smoke and toxic waste as long as a profit could be made. Some employers would rob humanity of it's soul if it meant they could buy themselves a summer home or a second Lincoln Continental. Still others carelessly squander Earth's precious resources in their vain attempts to improve their social status. Some law makers would even make laws allowing these things to take place if only the corporations would buy them or their family members a second home or a third car.

Stoics know that each man already has with him everything that he needs. One of the finest gifts anyone can give to the world is to always walk contentedly through life.

Good luck on your report, Erik

Zeno

Date:
3/28/99
Someone here said Tom Wolfe was using stoicism as a stepping stone to Christianity I havn't read the book, yet, but I doubt that. Stoic are not trying to become God because they b believe that "God" or Good is inside them all they have to do is project that. And with that projection come to peace. It is the constant searching that breed, unrest or lack of inner peace. Searching for things, and more things to quiet our feelings of unrest and discomfort. Filling our faces with food, drugs and our homes and closets with more things to bring us peace is not the answer, the answer lies within. Ultimately accepting the now as is and the way things are and not trying to change anything is peace. Letting go of controlling everything out there brings great peace. Working for the common good and letting the "chips" fall where they may. Christianity blames God or the Devil and asks for some outside entity to fix things, takes no responisibility for "Me". It's a great sell but will not work to better the world, if indeed it needs' bettering. I personally don't think it does. It works fine just the way it is. gr8desigATpacbell.net .  JV

Date:
3/29/99
E-mail address : avalletATemail.enst.fr   Date : 03/29/1999

I am very happy to have found a forum about the stoic philosophy. I want to ask a question about poverty. As you know, poverty was one of the reasons to commit suicide in Ancient Stoicism. The difference between this age and today is that it is more difficult to have enough to satisfy all your needs. So what ? Do you think that a new reflexion ion poverty is useless in Cyberstoa ?

Date:
3/31/99
I keep sending emails but none seems to be reaching you. If this arrives anywhere up there (you all seem to be in the northern hemisphere) could someone please give a newcomer a Stoicism 101 lecture. Thanking you all,
Jo

JoFarley28AThotmail.com

Date:
4/12/99
I am interested in stoic thought and teaching as it applies to life in our times. While I have the classic works of Stoicism I was wondering if anyone knew of any modern works which addressed this issue. Any help would be appriciated. I can be reached at BeliasATwebtv.net

Date:
4/13/99
Everyone:

Read what Blaise Pascal says about Epictetus in his "Pensees". It's short but sweet. My copy of the "Pensees" are not on me at the moment, but I will post it here as soon as I get ahold of it.

fillygipretzelusAThotmail.com

Date:
4/18/99

Greetings! I start at a formal beginning with the M.A. "Meditations", and I am greatly moved by them. I have only begun to access various ethical and humanist sites, and am very happy to have found this one. I am coming out of a twenty plus year period as a church organist and classical symphony musician. I have, however asked myself of there was more, have been filled with questions why I was not satisfied with creedal belief systems, not happy with the spectrum of political organizations...I have always have looked to the unique situation individuals and communities find themselves. I have instinctually looked for the values and inherent worth of each individual I meet. My readings and education has only begun... jkullesokolATwebtv.net  

Date:
4/30/99
Here is Blaise Pascal on Stoicism et al.

"Even if Epictetus did see the way quite clearly, he only told men "You are on the wrong track". He shows that there is another, but he does not lead us there. The right way is to want what God wants. Christ alone leads to it.

Pensees #140

What else to say?

fillygiprtezelusAThotmail.com  

Date:
5/3/99
hmmm...i just started studying stoics in my ancient civilizations class so i dont know much about it but arnt they (were they) very into simplifying things? i mean, living a very natural life without all the modern technology? cause if so im wondering what people who are modern stoics would be doing with the internet...just a thought.left8ATusa.net

Date:
5/6/99
Dear Stoic Society I am doing a story on stoicism for a segment on CBS Radio's The Osgood File. I am trying to locate Erik Wiegardt and other stoics to talk with about the philosophy and how it is gaining renewed interest in the late 20th Century.
Please let me know how to reach you. I can be reached by phone in California at 510-654-2789. My email address is evarachelATaol.com.  

Thank you for your assistance.   Eva Spiegel Producer

Date:
5/6/99
In it's essence, Stoicism is a non-mystical form of Buddhism. Buddha was a prophet, he was a great man, just as Epictetus and the rest of the Stoics were. BUT THERES MORE!!!! That is the thing. Stoicism diagnoses the problem with humanity, but it's prescription for a cure is unfortunately mistaken. Christ, God made Man, is the only One who will cure us. As T.S. Eliot says, Christ is the "Wounded Surgeon". Only He will cure us.

fillygipretzelusAThotmail.com

Date:
5/13/99
I am working on a series about philosophy for Channel Four (a British channel)- how it can be of practical help in every day situations today. I would be really interested to talk to British Stoics, in the practical, not academic sense, about how you translate your views into every day life. Perhaps you could help us illustrate Seneca's ideas for example by performing a 'Senecan Praemeditatio' or by facing your fears, if you are unnerved by the thought of poverty, would you be prepared to eat bread and water for a week? If you think you might be able to help with these ideas or simply with background information about the problems or pleasures of putting Stoicism into practice or if you have any other ideas, please give me a ring on 0171 855 7512.

Hatty Skinner (Researcher)

Date:
5/13/99
My friends, i have just been exposed to the teachings of Zeno, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. And i have become a Stoic. i am a former paratrooper, and a current full time college student. i wish to communicate with other Stoics in my area , Southern California. My e-mail: Jungle508AToal.com . Airborne!

Date:
5/20/99
Dr. Breuninger, Hi! I'm Kristine Camandero, a Political Science student of Mindanao State University in Philippines. Currently, I'm writing a term paper for my " Ancient and Medieval Political Thought" class. I'm writing about Stocism, particularly on their concept of World-State. I do like the Stoics Philisophy. My thesis statement is that : A world-state
( in accordance to the way Stoics perceive it) is needed to prevent the ubiquitous disintergration of societies. I've got data but I couldn't find a theory for my theoritical framework that would defend my thesis statement. I've read about the theory of International Integration but its principles could not be utilized that much to defend my thesis statement. In this regard, I would like to ask for your help. If ever it is possible for you to help me, please do. My e-mail address is krishin5AThotmail.com

Sincerely yours, Kristine

Date:
5/28/99
kfordATmail.llion.org

To the Stoics --
My name is Anaïs Ophræl... I am seventeen years old, a high school senior in a small midwestern United States town called Lebanon... I, too read 'A Man in Full' by Wolfe, and was deeply moved and inspired by the great testament to Stoicism that i found there. I immediately began to research this religion/philosophy, and through the words of Seneca, Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, and the Discourses of Epictetus found a belief and truth for which I had been searching. I had claimed to be an Agnostic, completely unknowing of what I believed to be the truth... burned out on the Christianity that had been force-fed to me from day one. I am a Stoic. Yet, I have much still to learn about the 'divine spark' that lives within... I have recently been struggling with a difficult issue, and I am in much need of wisdom and encouragement from Stoics who have been practicing for many more years than I..

I have found a soulmate, a lover... someone who completely compliments me in every aspect. He is a student of Latin and Greek...and a Wiccan by religion. I love him quite deeply, and I intend to marry him in the future.

Epictetus says "to pick up a shell on the beach <a mate/husband> is fine.. but do not be hindered when they are returned..."

I am having much difficulty with this.. To accept the death of my beloved with so much ease... does it not desecrate what I have with him? Or am I being hypocritical even feeling as strongly as I do?... Please, I need some of your words regarding this..

I bid you all the highest peace in spirit...

Anaïs

Date: 5/28/99

Anais--

The concept of detachment is often a problematic one for many people. This idea is part of a larger concept known as dispassion (apathea). Without getting too deeply into the concept in its entirety, let me try to explain it as it relates directly to this question. We must learn to understand that much of what we have come to believe as being ours by right (or things to which we are entitled) (health, long life, prosperity, success etc) are, in fact, not ours by right. Since they are beyond our control, they can (and will) be granted to us or withdrawn from us without our permission. Wisdom lies in learning to accept what is beyond our control and in being attentive to those things which are within our control. Detachment (in the arena in which you raise it) is not a statement that you do not care about the other person. It is a statement that you realize that he is a human and will pass out of your life at some point, in some manner. You will need to face that moment with honor; not believing that it "shouldn't have happened", not believing that it was wrong, not believing that something which was yours was taken away. Detachment is the realization that you have lost nothing because you had nothing to lose in the first place. If I loan you my car with the understanding that I will be wanting it back soon, you will surrender it back to me, grateful for having it as long as you did (I would assume) rather than act as if you have been deprived of something. What is truly yours is your ability to meet every day and every challenge with courage, fortitude and honor. No one can take that away although many surrender it easily.

Hope this didn't confuse things more. Peace Peter

Date:
5/29/99
Dear Stoics,

One of the TV characters I admired most over the years is that of Lt. Castillo, played by Edward James Olmos on the past series, "Miami Vice". Whether done intentionally or not, here was an individual who had mastered and exemplified apatheia. My question is, is it possible, with all the outward distractions and pressures in the world today, for one to really conduct oneself in such a way? If so, how?

Thanks for any response to dastoicAThotmail.com  

Date:
6/25/99
Dear Stoics-

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines "apathy" as a 1)"lack of feeling or emotion" or a 2)"lack of interest or concern".Total apatheia is impossible. Everyone who writes here is actually exemplifying this fact, including myself.

fillygipretzelusAThotmail.com

Date:
7/6/99
Recently I had a chance to revisit Cicero's On Duties, a work laced with stoic dogma.

Date:
7/17/99
Greetings and peace be upon you,

I have been interested in Stoicism and Epicureanism for several years now. While I don't agree with all that they say, I have found Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius to be very inspiring. Somebody on this forum asked whether there are modern writers on Stoicism. While he is not a Stoic in the ancient sense of the word, I have found the writings of Albert Ellis to be very close to what could be considered Stoicism in a modern idiom. I welcome any emails from anybody who would be in further discussions with me.

Also, I saw a question on here concerning letting go of loved ones when they die. I think that I can answer the concern which was voiced. When we have that loved one in our life, we do all that we can to aid them in times of trouble and sickness while they are with us, as Marcus Aurelius most certainly did with his son. But when his son had died, he knew that no amount of mourning and whailing would bring him back, and so he went to his funeral, bid him goodbye and got on with his life. Stoics recognize that we humans are social beings and we love the company of one another for the short time, be it an hour or ten years, that we have to enjoy that company, so the point is to enjoy the people in our lives at the time that they are available to us, indeed even keep the memories of times, but do not obssess over the loss which is an inevitable part of life. Learn to accept it and remember the good things that our loved ones have done for us even as Marcus Aurelius did in Book One of his Meditations.

I welcome emails from any of you. s_samarraiAThotmail.com  

Sami

Date:
7/26/99
Are there any Stoic Colleges? I'm also looking for a digital copy of Seneca. The Goddess movement is drawing some attention, and in it I see the roots that Stoicism was based on, monotheism, respect for all life, and acceptance of the natural order. daybrownATartelco.com

Date:
7/30/99
Beware of joining any group.

Date:
8/4/99
Philosophy is a means to an end, and the end we seek is a Person. Never see philosophy as an end in itself. It is a stepping stone to "HE WHO IS". This "HE WHO IS" wove the cosmos out of nothing, and came down to Earth to be born of woman and die like a criminal when the Word spoken by "HE WHO IS" became a man, " and the Word was with God [HE WHO IS] and the Word WAS God. Life is a gift from "HE WHO IS", and the goal that we are made for is the vision of "HE WHO IS" for all eternity. This is where philosophy and pure reason leave off and faith comes in.

Date:
8/19/99
I've found that the concepts of stoicism like living according to nature, and looking at the nature of something and then act accordingly are good concepts of living in and of themselves and don't need the justification of a god to support them. What is your thoughts on this? My e-mail address is : stanleybradleyATjuno.com

Date:
8/29/99
I am very pleased to learn of your new society. I am an aspiring Stoic in my own life.

My e-mail address is: javery1ATukcc.uky.edu  

I am very interested now in the extent to which Cicero was a committed Stoic in his de Officiis and his longstanding commitment to Academic skepticism.

I would be glad to chat with anyone about ancient Stoicism, especially Cicero's de Officiis.

Date:
8/30/99
I am interested in Cicero's relationship to Stoicism. Did he convert to Stoicism near the end of his life? Or, was he an academic his entire life?

My e-mail address is: javery1ATukcc.uky.edu    Thank you.

Date:
9/11/99
Ave~ I am very interested in Stoicism and been trying to live the philosophy in my every day life for some time now. I was hoping I could get in contact with someone who can give me some words of advice or some references to helpful books on Stoicism. Thank you~ Lydia Fraser pinkywan4AThotmail.com

Date:
9/12/99
To all,

If indeed stoicism is an attempt to live in harmony with 'Human Nature' than what does it have to do with the social conventions of Good and Evil. Is it not more of an attempt to regain our faltering arete than to conform to the unnatural cement society we live our every day lives in. The good we know is a contrived function of the stagnant society we live in, not of our true nature. Look at the works of our modern sociologists and psychologists. Oswald Spengler shows in his work 'The Decline of Western Society' that society goes through circular evolutions (the mosmorphic cycle) and human need stays the same. Freud's various works deal with 'Human Nature' using metaphor and example from the past, as well as leaving hints of psychohistory. Jung's 'Universal Subconcious' deals with the unversaliality of certain dream types, and personality archtypes. Thus 'Human Nature' is universal but society is not, therefor the social concepts of good and evil are not a reflection of 'Human Nature' but merely of various social morals. Further more since Nature is neither good or evil, only series of chain reactions of evolution and weeding out of the weak, 'Human Nature' cannot be explained through the pursuit of good and evil.

So what is 'Human Nature'? The ability reason, arete? Instinct syphoned and dilluted by external and interal mass will (Universal subconcious)? Emotion? or perhaps something else?

entroposAThotmail.com

Date:
9/16/99
How do I find my true nature?

I am a fledgling stoic, and am having difficulty in ascertaining my true nature in the context of living my life in harmony with this nature.

Please reply to kerryATsimonpownall.freeserve.co.uk  

Date:
9/18/99
Kerry,

Our true nature is like two droplets of water which are speeding back to earth. We feel the joy of joining with other droplets of water as we explore our new environment. When we arrive on earth we join with still more droplets to form a stream of life. There we dodge through rich and rough water as we head to the sea. In the sea we stare at each other with smiles and remember of our long journey. Then the magic happens - we evaporate and go to heaven.

In heaven we meet and connect with molecules that have come from all over the earth and the all corners of the universe. Droplets of water from earth blend with star seed and molecules of water from comets and meteors which travelled across the universe until they finally reunited to create a perfect being. When we feel we have created an identity, we plunge again toward earth.

To get the most that life has to offer, we must go with the flow of nature. Living in harmony with nature is living simply. Don't fight it. Don't judge it. Simply watch it.

Peace, Zeno

Date:
9/27/99
What brought about the birth of stoicism?

Date:
9/28/99
Here's a question to pose to a group of ( from what I can recognize) profound speakers and scholars. What I would like to press for issue is a question of intelligence. Depending on how you think of it, it could also be considered as a question of intellect. To make matters precise, I question if intelligence is innate to the soul, or rather it is an ability of the body. However controversial it would sound, I suggest that the body's ally is intelligence: the soul is apart from both the body and intelligence. As always I can vindicate my thoughts as needed. Here I'm attempting to pose an issue to strike a bit of your *intelligence* and curiosities. ~ A S

Date:
9/29/99
To whom ever gets this mail. I am writing as the elder sister of my brother Chris. He is the most wonderful guy, but unfortunatly is subjected to drinking bouts. Over the past two years, when i have been able to rescue him from his drinking, and he becomes sober, he has begun to open up to me about special messages he says that he recieves from God's Angels, mostly Ariel. Mostly these happen when he is sober, but because he is scared he drinks heavily. Even while he is drinking he seems to be graced by some kind of divine influence. i think that you should know that he is an ordinary guy who lives a simple but hard working life when a drinking binge is not going on. twelve months ago he told me that he was getting voices that told him to look up certain things in the bible, and to learn there content. He was never religious to my knowledge before, but the whole situation has scared him incredibly. The messages give him names of olden biblical characters which he is told to look up in the bible, read and endure. What I have seen of the messages he recieves completely astounds me as the language used is way above my brothers English understanding of English, and involves prophets from the past giving some kind of guidance. They have warned of the future for mankind, and the coming of Angel Ariel to earth. He says that he has travelled with Angels to the future, and they have assured him of future well-being. Words come to him at night in his sleep and when he researches recurrent names they all date back to ancient bibliography, mostly Greecian. Tonight he told me that although the messages are less demanding the last message told him that he must become Stoic for himself. His only understanding of Stoic was from reading what the word meant in the dictionary today. Quite frankly i am blown away by it's meaning, and more so what it must mean for him. There is so much more to tell if anyone has the kindness and sensitivity to respond. Chris is not mad, he is a clearly sane and amazing individual whom I believe has some kind of divine intervention. Please respond.

Date:
9/30/99
I am looking for the name of a small book on the stoic philosophy that I studied in a Humanities course at university. Does Enchridion sound close?

jerrygATazstarnet.com

Date:
10/2/99
I support the idea of a Stoic Society but am wary of formal organisations.

I am a Stoic and a Gandhian. This view derives from my laughter and distaste for modern Western man's inability to live without aggression, stress and complaint. My Stoicism manifests itself in the rules I try to apply to my life, there are:-

1. Work hard 2. Mind your own business 3. Always keep your mouth shut 4. Consider the lillies 5. Never complain

"Babble not much, as the heathen do" - Matthew 6:7

I am a British citizen, but Cypriot by origin.

james.j.neophytouATuk.pwcglobal.com     

 

Date:
10/5/99

Hello.

I would just like to thank my English teacher for sparking my interest in stoicism. If it weren't for her I wouldn't be at this site, and I wouldn't even know about this belief.

I'd also like to say that all my life I've been searching for myself and what I truly believe in. I've never agreed entirely with the teachings at my church, and I've felt out of place there. My family has never known what I go through, especially this particularly subject. I'm just glad that I've finally found what is me and what I believe.

Thank you for saving my life forever!

-Euterpe

Date:
10/8/99

First, I would like to recommend that Cris' elder sister get him to a doctor as soon as possible. He is not insane, ("Sanity" at best is a legal term for judges that never went to med school.) but he may be ill. There is an unfortunately deep well of nuerological disorders that involve hearing voices. If it is indeed caused by divine intervention, chances are, a little clozaril won't stop God. The important thing is that you get a multitude of opinions. In my experience medical science rarely agrees with itself. Be carefull, and good luck. Euterpe: Go teachers! As for good ol' elusive "AS." thank you for your recognition of stoic "profoundness," though "if people think you amount to something, distrust yourself"--Epictetus. All of that aside, do you really have a logical proof for not just the existance of the soul-body, but an explanation of how the "intelligence" is the body's ally and at the same time the body's ability? I would love to read it. Personally, my veiw on the matter is strickly "earthly." I feel that the mind as it is in humans is a biological development or more likely an evolutionary variant. I do not believe in the "soul." Further more I would suggest, as others have, that the soul as we capitalize on it today, is not unearthly either. Take for example "love," as a function of the soul, (because we all know that it is never an intelligent thing). Technically, we, like every other creature, are intended to reproduce. That is what we are here for. So sex, attraction and "lust" are true facts. However, though the folks who enjoyed it the most passed on their behavioral or genetic traits, the folks who enjoy the most with other species did not pass their business on to offspring. An aversion, either cultural or biological, to other species was a population advantage. This allowed for conceit. Human beings have seperated ourselves from "animals" as much as possible. Our clothes are A-lined, our table manners are "civilized", and our sex is "love". I beleive that we cannot bear the idea that monkeys do the same thing. Just ask dear Mr. Scopes. So, enter Hallmark and suddenly "love" is perceived as a fact. I feel the souls fits the, "I am not an animal, I swear" bill too. I am very intrigued by the possibility of a soul-proof, however. Please do share. -N

Date:
10/8/99

In response to N. I would like to ask you how random clumps of cells become aware of themselves and say "I am " and learn to read and write and compose poetry and symphonies and do quantum physics and worship God. I've never seen a cell or cluster of cells do any of those thing named all by itself. If you have please tell the world about it, it is imperative.

-M

Date:
10/8/99

Hello, I would like to welcome myself to the International Stoic Society. Through the years a never ending battle of indifferences have changed the meaning and understanding, notice I did not use terminology, of Stoics.

OKTSHOTATMSN.COM

It has been a long journey.

PETER 10 8 99

Date:
10/10/99

Hello, I'm a philosophy student at Vanderbilt and I am very interested in Stoicism but, could someone help me out with the following...: if Epictetus did not believe in an afterlife why then does he state that "Death is nothing terrible"....these two really do not make any sense together. What exactly is the stoics/Epictetus' view on death??? If someone could help me reconcile these two opposing ideals I would appreciate it. I have left my e-mail below...thanks

radha.v.thakkarATvanderbilt.edu

Date:
10/10/99

M: You are a cluster of cells. If not, please tell your doctor about it, it is imperative. ~N

Date:
10/10/99

N- Aye, indeed we both are, but that's only half the story, my friend.M

Date:
10/12/99

Are Zenon and Zeno the same philosopher?

Editors comments : Yes and also know as Zeno or Zenon of Kitium, Kiteon or Citium

Date:
10/13/99

I need help. I am attempting to complete a midterm exam for a Legal Reasoning class, and do not have the answer to this question in my notes, nor can I find it in any on-line encyclopedia. The question is: Explain the basic structure of western law provided by the Stoics private law approach. Include 3 key concepts developed that still provide the basis of legal reasoning today as well as two important classes of legal issues resulting from this approach.

If anyone has any answers regarding this problem, please email me. I am not looking to use anyone else's answer, but I would like some input today if possible.

Thanks in advance, Kelley mkrenshawATearthlink.net

Date:
10/14/99

Hola soy estudioso de la filosofia y me gustaria establecer contacto con personas interesadas en el pensamiento estoico. Por favor escriban en español preferentemente o en ingles o portugues.Mi E-mail es : favila35AThotmail.com.mx

Date:
10/20/99

I REALLY NEED SOME INFO. ON EARLY STOICS, I DON'T HAVE A CLUE. CAN YOU PLEASE FORWARD ME SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. I AM TRYING TO TYPE A 3PG. PAPER ON THEM PLEASE SEND YOUR ASSISTANCE ALONG WITH SOME FACTS THANK YOU BCLAGGS25ATHOTMAIL.COM

Date:
10/23/99

Hi, I am doing research on Stoicism and am looking for a film or tv show which relates the stoic philosophy to modern society in North America. Do you know of any website or film/tv show? Please respond to diegorocaATsprint.ca

Thanx...Roxanne

Date:
10/25/99

Greetings from the mid-west. I am a college student and most recently an amateur neo-stoicist. I've been able to find all of the research material that I've needed, but have come short on one thing. Is there any symbol or sign that represents the Scoic school of thought? Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Please send to: wdelealATaol.com Thanks!

Date:
10/25/99

email: dahmpeele1ATaol.com

hiya. what d'you guys think of people saying Zeno was an anarchist? Are you (plural, I mean) anarchists? I don't mean that insultingly, I'm one myself, heh. Thanks, Mike

Date:
10/28/99

Greetings one and all and peace be upon you,

Lately, I've become somewhat interested in Zeno's possible semitic origins. As I've read more about Stoicism I have noticed strong similarities between stoic ideas and parts of the Bible. For example, many of the Psalms (particularly 139 and 104) can be compared with Cleanthes's Hymn to Zeus. I've found the Book of Job and the Book of Ecclesiastes to express some very Stoic ideas, And who can forget the Letter of James in the New Testament which stands by itself as an indictment against those of the Pauline sect who would shirk responsibilities for one's own actions "because they are forgiven by Christ."

I've seen many Christians writing letters to this forum proclaiming Christ to be the only way etc. etc. Christianity supersceded Stoicism as the Roman religion because it promoted an idea to the simple and uneducated with which Stoicism could not compete: a better life after death. Now that this has been shown to be the political sham that it always has been, I think that Stoicism as a philosophy and a religion can return, and virtue can be promoted as its own reward and vice as its own punishment.

I have a faith in God. Organized religion almost killed it. However, I could not help but be moved by the deep faith in God that the Ancient stoics always expressed. But this is was personal relationship with that piece of Zeus who dwells within, not with a temple, church, mosque, or syogogue.

A typical question which Christian witnesses ask these days is "Do you know where you're going after you die?" My answer is "Well that is neither for you or me to decide. That is in God's hands only; hence not my concern, and it should most certainly not be yours."

Sami ( s_samarraiAThotmail.com )

Date:
11/11/99

_imperious1ATexcite.com

Date:
11/15/99

Hi- I'm a LA High School teacher who became interested in the Stoics after reading A Man in Full, by Tom Wolfe. I have a somewhat strange request. I am an instructor in theatre and creative writing and I am interested in discussing if and how stoicism can be applied to the arts. If anyone would like to lecture me or has any leads on articles discussing this sort of thing---please write! LawrenceATndhs.org . 

Date:
11/15/99

Hi- Who has ideas about the way stoicism can be applied to the arts? Theatre-creative writing etc? Lecture me. Lawrenceb5ATyahoo.com

Date:
11/17/99

The world that Christ was born into was a world that knew Stoicism as a philosophy that encouraged all mankind to live in peace and harmony and avoid the temptations of the material world. The roots of Christianity, the words of Christ, as well as many of the early Christian writers were stoics who saw the beautiful stoic nature in Christ and felt the world would be a much more peaceful place if all people followed in his footsteps.

Zeno

Date:
11/17/99

Zeno, Indeed, parts of the New Testament do contain a stoic message. The problem which I have with Christianity is its deification of a mere man. How can one believe that the creator of the vast and infinite universe (or the vast universe itself, for I am a pantheist as were the ancient stoics) can be embodied in a single man and that the only access to this universe and its creator is through him, this is idololatry most crass. Yeshua himself tried his best to dissuade it. In fact the expected Jewish Messiah of the Old Testament was not a man-god at all (an idea repugnant to practicing Jews, for it compromises God's unity) but an adopted son of God, as were many figures of the Old Testament. He was to reestablish the Jewish Kingdom in a peaceful way in contrast to the original conquest of Canaan (See Isaiah and Jeremiah.) He was to be a chosen of God, but not his only begotten, and certainly not identical with God himself. Anyway, what does all this have to do with the modern stoic? Getting back to Zeno, I think that Stoicism may have contained elements of the Old Testament, esecially from the Wisdom Literature, but while it may be compatible with some of what Yeshua said, it doesn't strike me as being compatible with Christianity as it eventually developed and as it now exists.

As a teacher and a sage, Yeshua was a great man, especially his message as contained in the Gospel of Thomas but so was Epictetus, and Epictetus preached a pure stoicism. Christianity asks us to believe the impossible, that the infinite god became finite, that our only access to him is through this finite manifestation, that we have no access (contrary to the teachings of our stoic sages) to the divine ourselves but have to access it through this finite man-god, and that men rise from the dead in direct contradiction to the natural laws of divinity itself. Yeshua himself denied that he was God in several places of the Gospels, most notably in Mark 10:17-18 where someone says "Good teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" and Yeshua answers, "Why do you call me good, no one is good but God alone."

For all we know, Yeshua could have been a stoic sage, but his message is so mixed up with the super- stitious claptrap of the ancient mystery religions, that I think that we would be better sticking to those whom we know to be true stoics.

If I am to study stoicism and apply it to my life, it will be through those who promoted its pure and noble message free of superstition and idolatry. They taught a truly eternal message, for they did not ask us to believe in the impossible. Zeno promoted a religion/philosophy free from priests, atonement and even prayer. The best way to worship the divine was to live the virtuous life free from any expectation of reward or fear of punishment.

Sami ( s_samarraiAThotmail.com )

Date:
11/17/99

I am writing a paper for my class and could not understand: Do the Stoics believe in souls and life after death? and Why are Christians agains the idea of Stoics?

s97judyATaol.com

Date:
11/17/99

Are there any sites that contain Stoic poems.

s97judyATaol.com

Date:
11/18/99

According to my readings, Stoics were divided on life after death. Some believed as the Epicureans, and said that the self experiences complete extinction at death. Others believed that the soul survived after death for a short period but then dissipated after some time becoming absorbed into nature which was a synonym for God. None of them, to my knowledge, believed in an afterlife similar to that of Islam, Christianity, and Rabbinical Judaism which was probably borrowed by the Jews from the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism during the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Date:
11/26/99

dear stoics, It is excellent if we seek wisdom,but if in our "wisdom" we have excluded the Creator from the picture,our "wisdom" will be proven foolishness. Even as my own father was a Cypriot from cairo,and his name was Zenon,and even as I pursued Psychology,and I read and profited from Young,and Froyd,and at my younger years read passionately the Greek philosophers, to day I know that true wisdom commes only from God who say's:"God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;God chose the weak things of this world to put to shame the strong.He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him."(A.Cor.1:27). "Has not God made (Proven) foolish the wisdom of this world?"(A.Corinthians1:20) Pride always commes before the fall. May God bless us all with humility,with open and humble hearts not hesitant to say "Lord I am not convinced that you exist,but if it is true what believers in Christ say,then open my eyes to know you personally." Amen. Your brother,Stelios Fellas.BC.Canada. E-mail:< sifellasATtelus.net

Date:
11/28/99
Remote Name:
63.21.104.67

The Stoicsm

Stoicism was, at its time, the dominant philosophy of the west. The said founder of the Stoic school was Zeno known for the place of instruction Zenoians.Certain characteristics of Zeno are faintly described. Of the students at attendance in the school two are said to be the most influential Cleanthes and Chrysippus.For the Stoics the final goal in life was to live harmoniously with nature (physis)Cleanthes,insisted or rather ,ought one to live in harmony with ones own human nature? Most of the leading Stoic philosophers ,from Zeno onward , divided their philosophy into three parts ,logic, ethics, and physics. We will take a brief look at each of these sections and stress the particular points that are of much interest. Stoic philosophy, in a broad sense, has confronted challenges from different areas and contradiction is not an unfamiliar term to the subject. In this paper I have used various authors on the subject to show an unbiased view of the Stoics. Through translations from the many different languages that the Stoic traditions have evolved I hope, that from this paper, you obtain a clearer insight of some of the Stoic traits. The Stoic people were unique people to their own thinking and cultural habits. Some will agree with the Stoic logic and rhetoric, others do not. Between all the contradictions it is hard to determine who is correct and what the Stoics actually thought.I have consolidated a few thoughts of given experts to include Freud and Kedrow to unlock these "hidden logoss" and to expand our views on Stoicism. Much lies on the Stoics Logic to determine the causes of the Ethics and Physics.

LOGIC Stoic logic is commonly divided into two parts, the rhetoric and the dialectic. The basic definition of the two is that,&#8221; rhetoric is a science of speaking well and arguments set out in narrative form; and dialectic as &#8220;the science of what is true and false and what is neither the one or the other.&#8221; The Stoic school it was said, was weak in rhetoric and strong in logic.Cleanthes wrote an art of rhetoric and followed the well established division of rhetoric into deliberative , judicial and demonstrative , recognizing that the ends of public speaking are to sway the counsels of men , or to plead the cause of justice , or to put forward some person or thing as an object or praise or blame. Cleanthes advanced the Stoic rhetoric from its weakness needless to say that some claim the rhetoric is defective. It is possible that such a theory used by Cleanthes was induced by an Aristotle or similar logic type rhetoric. Some philosophers claim this Aristotle logic type rhetoric was also weak due to the fact that it included serious omissions and defects. This could possibly prove a point that Cleanthes Rhetoric is stronger than the Aristotle counterparts. Zeller explains the Aristotle defects as, &#8220; of induction, for example, he says that it consists in the collection from all the instances of a given class, of a proposition which expresses a universal law that which was true of all these particular cases . In truth, induction consists in inferring such proposition from all the cases known to us ;and in considering the principle on which the inductive method rests ,the main point is to inquire how we are justified in concluding from all the cases. Known to us, a law for all like cases.&#8221; Zeller claims that Aristotle is not the only person to blame for missing and self-contradictory theory. Zeller insists that Aristotle's proof of probability helps fill the gap of his induction phenomenon and tells us to adhere to and that we should first weigh all the objections suggested by the matter in hand before we decide. Stoic logic consisted of a basic type of reasoning such as: If A then B. But A. B. This type of logic is said to formulate a particular type of Stoic rule where truth can only be followed by truth; but falsehood may be followed by falsehood or truth. Stoics were not ignorant or stupid beings as a matter of fact a strong foundation was evidently transpired through the learning of the Stoics.

ETHICS

Stoic ethics according to Stock consisted of eight parts of the soul which included five senses . Rist claims there are three aspects to which Stoic ethics and moral actions abide.(1)That the Stoics stressed more than the Greek philosophers thus overriding importance for moral behaviour and human happiness of intention and motive rather than the content of the act as the ultimate criterion of moral action.(2) Most and possibly all Stoics were committed to a theory of moral progression whereby any human being might develop from infant or indeed adult turpitude or moral imperfection to perfect goodness;(3)Stoicism was regarded not only as a theoretical construct or system but also a practical philosophy by which an individual can be guided to happiness .From the beginning we get two different views and aspects of stoic ethnicity. Taking a brief glance of what Sandbach has to offer on Stoic ethnicity it would relate closer to Rist than Stock Sandbach claims Stoic ethics is "the view that what was morally perfect, virtue (arête in the narrow sense of the word) and acts and persons that were virtuous; belonged to a class of its own., incomparable with anything else that to be virtuous was the same as to be happy; that good was an absolute term applicable only to moral reflection."Both Sandbach and Rist contend That Stoic ethics of virtue and or goodness are the sole cause of happiness. In Amelie Oksenberg Rortys The Two Faces of Stoicism she compares and complains of false Stoic intellectualism by stating ,"but natural goodness is not yet virtue: the initial activities of self-preservation do not yet express what is distinctive or best in human nature." According to Stock passion and reason were not two things which could be kept separate ,in which case it might be hoped that reason would control passion but were two states of the same thing, a worse and a better .I believe this same methodology could be associated with that of the dialectic mentioned with Kedrow and Klause. If Klause did diagram and explain his perpetual thinking of the subjective dialectic, which is noted that he did not accept, it would be in line with the Stoic philosophy of passion and reason. This analysis of concentration is false and Kedrows terminology of and analysis of the concept of dialectics falls more in line and also shows that Stocks interpretation to be false. Passion and reason are two separate entities and should be regarded as such.Amelie in The Two Faces of Stoicism ,Freud sets himself the Stoics task of explaining the rationale -the hidden logos-of apparently irrational thought and action. The success of that task depends on his view that (with the exception of the prelogical activity of unconscious process) the operations of the mind are rationally, though often deviously, structured. Psychopatology is rigorously, though defectively, logical. The triparte functions of the soul, which in fact I believe Kidd had in mind when talking of the moral actions of ethics earlier, the ID, the superego and the ego-are unified through their libidinal sources, and each is, in its own complex, semantically jocular, cryptographically decipherable way, perfectly logical. So Freud, like the Stoic sage, he does-and does not-have passions; like the Stoic sage, he is-and is not detached from his impulses. He differs from the Stoic sage, and this I find the most intriguing and makes Stoics superior, in recognizing the inevitability-the necessity-of his own psychological conflicts, all the more troubling because they occur within a unified, cryptologically rational mind. How one can suggest that a "unified" mind can think rationale is beyond me. Kedrow has shown us, and tend to agree with him, that the superior mind is distinctly separate, and tend to believe that Klaus is in the same mind as Freud.

PHYSIC Generally speaking Stoic theory would require us to speak of one primal substance that will consist of two aspects, one of the aspects will be known as the active and the other aspect that is known as the passive. The first aspect or principle, active, is compared and related to logos or God and is considered the center core of the command structure. Logos according to the Stoics is the endowed mind, or the creative fire going and raving on methodically about the business of creation. Passive consists of unqualified matter and dependent on the command center or the active logos to define it-self. For instance a cloud filled with moisture this moisture then becomes water when it rains but not until it rains is it considered active. Even though the active is the control or command center each one is dependent on each other. So the two principles are actually dependent on each other; for the active is dependent upon the passive to formulate the active, but if the active ceased to exist the reason would be that there was no passive to define it. Zeno accepted the common view that there were four elemental substances, earth, water, air, and fire and also the common belief that these were mutable: earth could become water, water air, air fire, and as explained previously each aspect both passive and active being dependent on each other. This particular dependency does not necessitate that they are no longer independent they are as shown above in the Stoic Ethic paragraph with the dialectic procedure of Kedrow. Kedrow formulates a dialectic similar to Klaus but shows the independency theory that leads one to believe that Klaus was not so smart. The Stoics had a concept of total blending where such matter can exist together each holding its own form .One such terminology or qualities was one that was given consisting of the above mentioned elements "breaths" of the active air for instance was a common such terminology. In Sandbachs The Stoics ,"In the case of a living being ,this 'breath' was the particular combination of air and fire that was called psyche (or the life soul),and by penetrating all the tissues it made them live tissues." Contemplating thoughts and views of the 'breath' whether or not it is passive or active still subsides. Its active. Zeno argues that the psyche is the evidence and or the factor of the inner withdrawal of the death of a body. In Sandbachs," Zeno argued that the psyche must be the factor on whose withdrawal from the body an animal died; an animal died when the breath, with which it was born, was withdrawn; and so the psyche must be this breath. The breath was more than the air evidenced by its warmth, which showed that some fire to was contained in it. In the living animal this breath was nourished by exhalation from the blood, a doctrine for which Cleanthes found precedent for Heraclitus. One or the other compared the psyche&#8217;s permanence in change with that of a river, always the same river although its waters flow past and are ever new.&#8221; In Oksenbergs Two faces of Stoicism," It is an ontological given without demonstration that cosmic soul (psyche) is a subtle physical body-'breath' (pneuma, spiritus)-that pervades the whole of the cosmos. Although human beings are simple parts of this physical cosmos, they are never the less god-like ,capable of participating in "right reason," the orthos logos that represents the activity of an all pervading divinity. Human souls are part of the cosmic soul, are part that providentially can grasp (or reflectively understand: two metaphors are used) the logical structure of the world of which they are only a part. According to Cleanthes,"soul penetrates through the whole universe, and we by sharing in it as a part are ensouled." Although it is physically particular, a rational soul is capable of understanding its function in the whole," taking its own" self-preservation as properly determined by that of "the whole"." I tend to disagree with Oksenberg on the point that the 'breath' (she prefers soul for her own choosing) and how she interprets human souls become cosmic, this point of view was clarified above through the definition of the psyche given by Sandbach. Cleanthes is absolutely correct on her views of the psyche penetrating the universe ,but I would not go as far as Oksenburg as to say it is cosmic and figural speaking uncontrollable. Relating comparing and contrasting the logic of ethnics and the moral principle of practice to physics and visa versa according to Aristotle, who did have some defects as noted earlier comparing to Cleanthes, to these views as to the nature and the origin of knowledge, the arrangement of Aristotles theory of Scientific Knowledge-his analytics-corresponds. It is the function of science to explain the phenomena by their principles ,which must be sought for in the Universal causes and Laws. This deduction in turn forms a demonstration or science which establishes proof. These are explained by working upward from the phenomena ,where induction is arriving at the principles scientifically. Demonstrations and inductions are the two component parts of the scientific process. As we know from most philosophical readings that all knowledge relates to the essence of things. According to Zeller, conversingly, however, it is true that the Universal is only to be known through the individuals, the essence only through appearances ,and the causes only through their effects.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Edelstein,Ludwig The Meaning of Stoicism, published for Oberlin College by Harvard University Press 1966 Cambridge Massachusetts

DuVair,Guillaime Editor Rudolf Kirk The Moral Philosophies of The Stoic translated Thomas James 1951 Rutgers University Press NJ

Rorty,Amelie Oksenberg General Editor Editor John M. Rist The Stoics IG Kidd Moral actions and Rules in Stoic Ethics 1978 University of California Press

Rorty,Amelie Oksenberg The Two Faces of Stoicism: Rousseau and Freud The Journal Of The History of Philosophy 34 July 1996: 335-56

Sandbach,F.H. The Stoics WW Norton & Company Inc. NY 1975

  oktshotATmsn.com

Date:
11/29/99
Remote Name:
209.240.200.80

Comments

came here while working on a paper for phil 101, very interesting, will come back again. If anyone can direct me to other cool informative sites please do at tonyadeeAThotmail.com Am interested in knowing what view various groups have on retaining earthy knowledge after death, do we keep what we know or do we lose it when our souls disengage these shells? bye

Date:
11/29/99
Remote Name:
209.240.200.80

Comments

came here while working on a paper for phil 101, very interesting,will come back again. If anyone can direct me to other cool informative sites please do at tonyadeeAThotmail.com Am interested in knowing what view various groups have on retaining earthly knowledge after death, do we keep what we know or do we lose it when our souls disengage these shells?bye

Date:
11/29/99
Remote Name:
195.167.121.53

Comments

Trying to revive the ancient Greek religion, The religion that make people think freely, and producing Philosophy and Arts,Theater, Architecture, Athletics and all thease believes that the modern cosmos adore, we, the real Hellenes Religionists, not Jewish-Christians, are opponents of the dictatorship of the Anatolic (Eastern) Church of Greece, fighting openly against uor believes and thesis of cosmos, and refuse to recognize us as a different religion. If that is not a stoicism, waiting treir recognition, what is it? Please send a email to the minister of geligions of Greece standing by for our request. Liberal-minded kiertwnATotenet.gr

Date:
11/30/99
Remote Name:
205.188.199.145

Comments

Zeno, I liked your answer about the ball. How well would you take it if you lost your computer though? :) Lisa p.s. I'm not a stoic but i have to rewrite a test for Humanities I, and I have to justify the Roman Stoics as for Freedom or Determinism. This site helped me. I'd like to hear from you. Vamp1897ATaol.com

Date:
12/1/99
Remote Name:
152.163.207.62

Any good books on the subject?

JmtmbzATaol.com  

Date:
12/3/99
Remote Name:
205.188.198.48

Hi my name is Tracey and I am conducting a survey. Please email me your responses to:

Do you offten find yourself in a nervous reck when you are speaking to or in front of strangers? Do you avoid parties or social events because you are afraid of communicating with others?

Please email me your responses and what it is that you often do to calm you nerves. TraceySHATaol.com

Date:
12/3/99
Remote Name:
152.163.201.74

Comments

enivleATaol.com

please send me more information about how to participate in discussions.

Date:
12/10/99
Remote Name:
152.163.213.57

All right.... I am trying to find information to do a ten paged essay on the Stoic society. If ANYONE out there can help me, it would be GREATLY apreciated! Please help!

JasonLynsATaol.com

Date:
12/13/99
Remote Name:
128.164.65.88

hi, my name is damien, and i would like to practice stoicism, but there is one question, which for me is yet unanswered. is it possible to take collective action to save others from oppressors, or would that be too reactive and not within the stoic belief? this is the one point that hangs me up when thinking about stoicism, i have this need to help others who, by chance and circumstance are not in a postion to help themselves (slave labor for multinational corp.), am i to be concernec only with things that effect me. is there anything in stoicsim that runs contrary to this point? my email addy is bernacdATgwu.edu thanks!

Date:
12/14/99
Remote Name:
204.48.151.211

How are modern stoicism ideals practiced in todays society?

Please e-mail be with an answer. japanesexpressAThotmail.com

Date:
12/17/99
Remote Name:
205.211.11.254

Hello

My name is Randy Zondag, a second year history/philosophy student in Canada. I recently read Meditations and found some very worth while ideals contained in the Stoic Philosohy. I am a practising Christian, go to church weekly, and read the Bible regularly. My aim is also to live a vitruous life, like a stoic. Many of the methods of stoic thought parallel my own personal beliefs, but I do have a problem with a stoic view of man and his relationship to God and also to the afterlife. If anyone would like to discuss this with me, contact me at rzondagATyahoo.com

 

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