fbpx
Categories
Events History Stoicism

You are Invited to Join our Philosophy Cruise

In search of ancient wisdom: A Journey across Greece and the Mediterranean World

We have a very special announcement for our members… Tickets are now available to join me, Donald Robertson, for a once in a lifetime cruise, setting sail on March 24th and touring the Ancient Shores of Greece, Italy, and Sicily, until April 7th 2023.  Join us onboard the new expedition cruise ship Diana, for 12 nights, to discuss Greek philosophy.

SPACE IS LIMITED! 

The Swan Hellenic Diana only has so many cabins available at each price point… so you will have to act fast if you want to reserve your spot for the adventure of a lifetime.  Book now and you’ll also receive a signed copy of my graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius.

Beginning in Athens, whose acropolis is the crowning achievement of Classical Greece, we will explore the Bronze Age Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete, walk the streets of medieval Rhodes, and marvel at the Monastery of Chozoviotissa, clinging to the side of a cliff on Amorgos. From the Peloponnesian port of Gytheion, we will visit the Byzantine town of Mystra, before sailing north to the oldest oracular site in Greece at Dodoni and to Emperor Augustus’s city of Nikopolis, built to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Actium. We call in Saranda on the Adriatic coast for an excursion to Butrint, an archaeological site that spans nearly 2500 years from the neolithic to the 19th century, and then cross the Ionian Sea to discover the Baroque splendor of Gallipoli and Lecce. We end this journey into the past with a visit to Syracuse and the marvelous Greek and Roman ruins that still define its Old Town.

Throughout the voyage, I will be giving talks about the origins of Stoic thought, its focus on the art of living well, and its relationship to current modes of wellness and self-improvement.

Learn more about this exciting journey by downloading the full PDF brochure, for details of the itinerary and prices.  This offer is brought to you in collaboration with Classical Wisdom Weekly and Thalassa Journeys. If you’re looking for more specific details about the ship, itinerary or pricing, etc., please contact Thalassa Journeys directly on +1 866-633-3611 or email reservations@thalassajourneys.com.

Sincerely,

Donald Robertson Signature

Donald Robertson

Swan Hellenic Diana Cruise Ship
Categories
Stoicism

Podcast: Stoicism and Psychotherapy

Talking with Tanner Campbell on his Practical Stoicism Podcast

I recently had a pretty in-depth and original discussion about Stoicism, psychotherapy, and our graphic novel, with Tanner Campbell for his Practical Stoicism Podcast. You can listen via Apple, Spotify, or other podcast links available on Tanner’s website.

Categories
Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Verissimus

Marcus Aurelius: Spoiler Alert!

How we created a graphic novel about Stoicism

He dies at the end. Actually, he dies at the beginning. We borrowed that idea from How to Think Like a Roman Emperor when writing the script for Verissimus, because it made it much easier to structure the story of Marcus Aurelius’ life by embedding it within a framing story about his death. So this is how the book begins…

Verissimus was a labor of love. Our 260-page full-color graphic novel about the life and philosophy of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, was published in July 2022. It took a small team of us about two and a half years to create — normally you’re given about one year to write a conventional prose book. The project began when I was contacted by an award-winning illustrator, from Portugal, called Zé Nuno Fraga, who had recently published the graphic novel Assemblywomen, the ancient Greek satire by Aristophanes. A couple of major publishing houses were interested and before long we had a book deal with St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan.

Get Verissimus from Amazon

I’d never worked on a graphic novel before so I immediately plunged into reading books on the art of writing scripts for them, and illustrating them. The best is Scott Macleod’s fantastic Making Comics, which I read cover to cover 2-3 times — it became my Bible. I also sought advice from comic book enthusiasts who read the script and reviewed the draft illustrations. Before long I’d added Kasey Pierce, a freelance comic editor, to our team — a couple of years later we got married!

Click here to read the rest of this article on Substack!

Categories
Stoicism

Announcing: 365 Ways to be More Stoic

A new book on Stoicism by Tim LeBon and Kasey Pierce

Happiness, serenity, and fulfillment, according to Stoicism, are all within your control.

We’re delighted to announce the new book written by Tim LeBon, with editor Kasey Pierce, 365 WAYS TO BE MORE STOIC, published by John Murray Press, is now available for preorder from all good bookstores! Check out the listing on Amazon or visit the publisher’s website for other online retailers.

The hardback is due for publication in the UK on 10th November, and the ebook edition will also be released on that day in the UK, US, and internationally. (The US hardback can be pre-ordered now but will be released in 2023.)

The Amazon US Kindle edition is currently discounted by an amazing 65% — so don’t miss out on a bargain. You’ll also find discounts in other regions and bookstores. This book is eligible for Amazon’s preorder price guarantee, which basically means the sooner you order it the more likely you are to get it at an even better price!

“Spend a year with Tim LeBon learning ways to be more Stoic. It may change your life, for the better.” — Massimo Pigliucci, Prof. of Philosophy at the City College of New York, author of How to Be a Stoic

365 WAYS TO BE MORE STOIC is a full year’s worth of daily inspiration, tools, stories, actions, and rituals that will guide you to a meaningful life, filled with happiness. It is a simple, list-driven, practical guide that will allow you to immediately begin putting Stoic wisdom into practice in your daily life. Each short chapter makes Stoicism fun to read about and easily digestible, presenting ideas in engaging, bite-size chunks.

Immerse yourself in stoicism right from the first chapter, through prompts, concepts, challenges, inspiration, quotes, examples, quizzes and case-studies. You’ll learn to navigate through the controllable and inevitable. You’ll develop constructive ways to handle frustration, adversity and even your own mortality. You’ll learn habit-forming strategies, pick up helpful concepts, and uncover tips for lasting change. This fun and engaging manual will help you live like a Stoic in the modern world.

We’re pleased to see that it is currently #1 bestseller in the Amazon US Hot New Release category for Greek and Roman Philosophy.

365 WAYS TO BE MORE STOIC focuses on the small stuff you can do every day to live a happier and wiser life. Because when you get the little things right, the big things follow.

Want to learn more? Please feel free to contact Kasey with any questions.

Thanks for reading Stoicism: Philosophy as a Way of Life! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

Categories
Books Stoicism

Announcing: 365 Ways to be More Stoic

Happiness, serenity, and fulfillment, according to Stoicism, are all within your control.

We’re delighted to announce the new book written by Tim LeBon, with editor Kasey Pierce, 365 WAYS TO BE MORE STOIC, published by John Murray Press, is now available for preorder from all good bookstores! Check out the listing on Amazon or visit the publisher’s website for other online retailers.

Read the rest of this post on Substack…

Categories
Stoicism

Death, Love, Stoicism

The Ancient Stoic Philosophy of Death

This is a new audio recording of an article I published on Medium about the Stoic contemplation of death. The photo shows me outside the ruined Temple of Hades at the ancient site of Eleusis near Athens.

Categories
Podcasts Stoicism

Podcast: Death, Love, Stoicism

This is a new audio recording of an article I published on Medium about the Stoic contemplation of death. The photo shows me outside the ruined Temple of Hades at the ancient site of Eleusis near Athens.

This is a new audio recording of an article I published on Medium about the Stoic contemplation of death. The photo shows me outside the ruined Temple of Hades at the ancient site of Eleusis near Athens. Thank you for subscribing. Leave a comment or share this episode.
Categories
Stoicism

A Simple Guide to Stoic Anger-Management

What Marcus Aurelius Says in a Nutshell

I recently shared An Illustrated Guide to Stoic Anger Management on Medium, which describes in detail the ten cognitive strategies listed by Marcus Aurelius in the Meditations. The article includes original artwork illustrating each strategy from our graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius.

In this post, though, I’m going to provide a more concise outline of these anger-management strategies, which Marcus calls ten “gifts” from Apollo, the Greek god of healing, and patron of philosophy. I’ll summarize each one in plain English, in a more simplified form, but you can always read the original article if you want more.

Ten Gifts from Apollo

1. Remember that humans are social creatures

This is possibly the strategy Marcus employs most often, reminding himself to focus on our natural capacity for forming families and communities. Greek philosophers had long argued, like modern evolutionary theorists, that our ancestors survived primarily by working together, and eventually building cities for protection. Marcus tells himself that because we’re naturally designed for cooperation, we have a duty to fulfil our potential by forming alliances rather than creating enemies.

Thanks for reading Stoicism: Philosophy as a Way of Life! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

2. Consider their character as a whole

When we’re angry with someone we tend to focus selectively on the most annoying aspects of their behaviour. Marcus, however, had studied law and served for many years as a magistrate. He tells himself that in order to understand others we have to consider their whole character. Doing so often moderates our feelings of anger, by placing their behaviour in a wider context.

3. No man does evil willingly

This was a famous paradox of Socrates. Marcus tells himself that everyone naturally wants to grasp the truth, rather than fall into error. Likewise, we naturally want to do what’s rational, and in our interests. The Stoics argue that doing evil is against our true interests, which means that wrongdoing only occurs because of errors of judgment, about right and wrong. Of course, people commit crimes knowing that others consider them to be morally wrong but they don’t typically agree with that judgment — they believe what they’re doing is right and in their own self-interest. Marcus views this as an ethical mistake on their part rather than an act of genuine malice.

4. Realize that we all have similar flaws

Modern psychotherapists have often argued that anger is a form of “projection”, meaning that we get angry with other people for having flaws that we possess ourselves. Realizing that, though, can often moderate our feelings of anger, and it shifts the focus of attention on to the improvements we could make in our own character. Marcus tells himself to pause when becoming angry so as to ask himself whether he’s guilty, actually or potentially, of similar moral wrongdoing.

5. Keep an open mind about their motives

As a magistrate, Marcus knew that it’s often difficult to look into people’s hearts and ascertain their motives. People often do the right things for the wrong reasons, and vice versa. Some people are not even clear about their own motives, and may find them hard to articulate. When we become angry, though, we tend to jump to conclusions about what other people are thinking. Marcus tries to prevent himself from rushing to judgment, by pausing to consider whether he really understands why others have acted as they did.

6. Remember that you both must die

Reminding ourselves of the transience of material things in general, and even of our own lives, is a common Stoic strategy. When growing angry, Marcus also reminds himself that the other person will be dead before long, and shortly thereafter forgotten forever. The reason for the argument will likewise soon be lost in the mists of time. Focusing on the transience of these things can make getting very angry feel pointless.

7. It is your own opinions that anger you

This saying, derived from Epictetus, is the most famous Stoic psychological strategy of all, and the inspiration for modern cognitive psychotherapy: “It’s not things that upset us but rather our opinions about them.” Here Marcus specifically applies it to anger. We tend to say “He is making me angry” but Epictetus wants us to say “My opinions about him are making me angry”, because other individuals confronted by the same sort of behaviour might feel and respond very differently.

8. Anger hurts you more than the thing you’re angry about

Although less well-known today, this also seems to have been a common strategy in ancient Stoicism. For Stoics, all of our irrational “passions” (the pathological desires and emotions) do us more harm than the things they’re supposedly about. Fear does us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid, they say, and anger does us more harm than the people do with whom we’re angry. Focusing on the harmful consequences of anger, particularly the damage it does to our moral character, can help motivate us to change our response.

9. Kindness is the antidote to anger

This resembles a simple concept from modern behaviour therapy called the principle of reciprocal inhibition. Emotions that are genuine opposites, and mutually exclusive, can potentially be used to replace one another. You can remove anger, in other words, by focusing on cultivating its opposite. For Stoics, anger is typically the desire for revenge, i.e., the desire for others to be harmed or punished, because of some perceived injustice they’ve committed. In that regard, its opposite would be the desire to help others, which the Stoics call kindness. By making a conscious effort to respond with genuine kindness to others, instead of anger, we can create new habits, and eventually change our own character in a positive direction.

10. Realize the folly of expecting everyone to be wise

Marcus concludes with what he says is the most important strategy of all for coping with anger. The Stoics noticed that, paradoxically, when people are upset they usually talk as if they were shocked by events which are actually quite normal. “I can’t believe that traveling merchant lied to me about these magic beans!” We all know that people lie and steal every day, and seemingly foolish, vicious, behaviour, is very common. Reacting with surprise is quite irrational. A wise person cultivates a more philosophical attitude toward human behaviour, accepting in advance that people aren’t perfect, and that they often do things that seem unjust. Stoic philosophers try to view the wrongdoing of others calmly and dispassionately, as a natural phenomenon, like the behaviour of nonhuman animals. There’s a story that once when angry man attacked Socrates in the street, kicking him, an onlooker said the philosopher should sue him for assault. However, Socrates thought doing so would be ridiculous. He felt no more offended, he said, than if a donkey had kicked him.


Of course, you don’t need to master all ten of these strategies. You only need to find one of them that works for you in order to overcome feelings of anger. Most people, though, will find that they can relate to several, perhaps even most, of the Stoic strategies described by Marcus. If you want more vivid examples of how Marcus struggled with his own anger, until he learned to master it through Stoicism, please take a look at our graphic novel about his life, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, which was chosen by Amazon editors as an Editor’s Pick for Best History Book, and has just reached 150 reviews on Amazon US.

Regards,

Donald Robertson

Thank you for reading Stoicism: Philosophy as a Way of Life. This post is public so feel free to share it.

Share