What we're about

We meet on a monthly basis in London at the Senate House Library, near the British Museum; we typically meet at 7 pm on a Thursday. See our events section.

We hope to attract people who are interested in studying and, above all, practicing the philosophy of Stoicism, in an attempt to cultivate ‘virtue’ or 'excellence of character' to free oneself from a great deal of anxiety, the anxiety which arises from getting worked up about what is not within our control. One of the best summaries of what Stoicism is about comes from the Handbook of Epictetus:

“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed” (Enchiridion 1, trans Elizabeth Carter).

Little prior knowledge of Stoicism is required, during our meetings we will be discussing a prearranged theme (see the relevant event) and how it relates to Stoicism; for example, Work and Stoicism. You may bring a relevant passage with you if you so desire. Topics of related interest to Stoicism may include your meditative practises, in Stoic practice these involve critical reflection on your thoughts and conduct they include: morning/evening meditation, repetition of maxims, journaling, voluntary discomfort, ‘meditation on adversities’, ‘view from above’, ‘circles of Hierocles.’ You may also choose to discuss your life experience, the life experience of a prominent person helped by Stoicism (such as those Ryan Holiday writes of) or a school of therapy which is influenced by Stoicism, for example CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or REBT Rational Emotional Behavioural Therapy. Ultimately your point should tie in with Stoicism.

Members who are new to Stoicism are kindly invited to familiarise themselves with the primary sources, i.e. Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, Seneca's Letters and Essays and Epictetus' Enchiridion and Discourses and some of the following contemporary book in order to have an overview of the philosophy:

- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B. Irvine.

- Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, by Donald Robertson.

- How To Be a Stoic, by Massimo Pigliucci.

- The Practicing Stoic, by Wards Farnsworth (a sourcebook of common Stoic sayings)

- Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday (a sourcebook of common Stoic sayings applied to modern living, a page a day).

For a pretty extensive list of ancient and contemporary authors, not to mention blogs and videos, please check this page:
https://www.stoicfellowship.com/resources/

There are various Stoic groups on Facebook, one of the best for those who are new to Stoicism is the group moderated by Donald Robertson it’s called ‘Stoicism Group (stoic philosophy)’. We have our own group on Facebook too, ‘London Stoics.’

(“London Stoics” is part of the Stoic Fellowship, an international community whose aim is to foster the knowledge and practice of Stoicism through on-line and in-person activities throughout the world.)

We prohibit the use of recording equipment (audio, video) during our meetings.

Upcoming events (1)

Moral Letters to Lucilius - Letter 3, On True and False Friendship

Online event

£1.00

This month we will be discussing letter 3 of Seneca's Moral Letters to Lucilius. You can find the letter here:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_3

During our meeting, we will re-read the letter together and disuss the following points:

1) Are there people in your life you consider friends but from whom you hold things back?
2) What is your idea of friendship? What constitutes friendship in your opinion?
3) Do you ever try and stretch your comfort zone like Seneca suggests in the final part of the letter?

Instructions to attend:

- read letter before the session
- review the questions
- log in 5 minutes before start time
- turn your camera on

To meet the costs for Meetup and Zoom subscriptions a £1 fee is payable in advance. To minimise admin, the fee is non-refundable unless the meeting is cancelled or rescheduled.

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Donations to facilitate the running of London Stoics are very welcome, thank you: www.paypal.me/LondStoics

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