What we're about

Testing the waters here as an organizer to see what interest there may be in a Stoic Philosophy Meetup in Mundelein, IL. I have gotten into Stoicism over the past couple of years and the philosophy has really resonated with me as a highly practical means to live a happier, more fulfilling life even thousands of years after it came about. I would like to meet with others who share an interest in discussing how we can practice Stoic principles in our daily lives. The intention is to support each other, grow and socialize. My idea is that we would have certain topics which would loosely guide our discussion for each meeting. We would focus mostly on practical, usable ideas here and not esoteric, rhetorical ones. Though the Stoics sometimes mention "the gods", this will be a secular meetup so please refrain from taking the discussions into religious territory.

The core principles of Stoicism are:

• Some things are within your control, others are not. You should focus your energy on the things that are within your control and "pay no mind" to those things that are not.

• Look at your life and the events that happen with a detached, objective view. Pretend your life is happening to a friend and think of what advice you would give them. See also Carl Sagan on the Pale Blue Dot: http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

• Think of what could possibly go wrong in your life, both small things and large. "Nothing happens to the wise man that is against his expectation". Remember that you will eventually be separated from everything in your life, including your loved ones. This is not to be morbid but to allow you to appreciate what you have.

• Re-frame negative events. When you are alone, imagine that you are "with the gods". When in a large crowd, that you are at a festival. You don't know what is going on in the lives of people you run into throughout the day. Assume the guy who cut you off in traffic is on the way to the hospital. When someone does something you disagree with, think "it seemed right to him".

• Be mindful. Take time throughout the day to describe what you are feeling and seeing objectively. Take a step back from stressful events and describe them objectively too.

• Keep your emotions in check. Try to avoid strong emotional states, even if justified.

• To want things to be different than they are is to be dissatisfied. Don't live "out of accordance with nature". Want your desires to be in line with reality, not reality in line with your desires.

• Have a "reserve clause". When doing anything (which could go wrong) think "fate willing".

• Practice going without. Dress a little too cool for the weather. Turn the shower to cold for a bit at the end. Try fasting. This will help your self-discipline and confidence and prepare you for hardships.

• Virtue is the "highest good". The Stoics talk a lot about "virtue". No matter what your situation is, you can practice virtue. This means deciding what it means to you to be virtuous (e.g. courageous, kind, helpful, wise) and striving to always be so.

• People are meant to be social. We should strive to get along with each other, commune and help each other.

Recommended Reading

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

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5617966-a-guide-to-the-good-life

The Practicing Stoic by Ward Farnsworth

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37886498-the-practicing-stoic

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Enchiridion by Epictetus

Seneca's Letters

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