What Next after Week One?

You’ve made it.  You’ve finished the lesson for this week.  Now it’s time to start putting things into practice!

Remember, one of the most common mistakes people make is just to read self-help material without testing it out in practice.  The ancient Stoics constantly warn us against becoming lazy armchair philosophers.  There’s no better time to start changing things than right now.  The Stoic gauntlet has been thrown down before us.  It’s up to us whether we choose to pick it up or just stand and look at it.  It’s time for you to start engaging with the material, interacting with the rest of the community, and testing what you’ve been reading out in practice – in the laboratory of your own experience.

Your first step should be to visit the Comments section below, as soon as you’re ready, and post your thoughts on the question for this week:

What do you think would be the pros and cons of living a life in which you take excellence of character (Stoic “virtue”) to be the only thing that’s intrinsically good?

As you read this, think it over, and type your responses… do it with greater attention to the present moment and observe your own character, attitude, and actions.  What’s “up to you” about this training and what’s not?  What would it mean to approach the course itself with a more “philosophical” attitude and to make use of it wisely?

Here’s a second question for you to consider, and discuss, if you want:

How do you think Stoicism might be adapted to suit our modern world-view and way of life?

Go to the Comments section below now and post your response.  If there’s anything whatsoever you could use help with, either technical stuff or the course content, please don’t hesitate to contact the course facilitator.

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  1. Accepting responsibility for one’s emotions is definitely a pro, and believing this to be the only thing that’s intrinsically good should alleviate much of the pain gained from other people’s actions.

    With the fast paced always-connected social environment we’re quickly all being drawn into, I think Stoicism and it’s practices may not only be suited, but may actually be essential to health in this modern age. Children need to be taught how to distinguish the real value of things (the new iphone… etc..) and how not to concern themselves with things outside their control.

  2. I think applying the principles of Stoicism(pros) will allow me to cut off the things that are not important to my life. Like less time spent on social media, less time watching TV or youtube videos, allowing more time for exercise, books, planning my day, and accomplishing goals. It also will allow me to feel my emotions(and not ignore them like most people think of Stoicism), but instead not act on emotions that are unhealthy, and not being a slave to useless emotions. The cons could possibly be missing out on certain things that modern day people enjoy, such as drinking to excess, sex to excess, and other hedonistic things that a Stoic maintains his stance away from typically. So, partial isolation from normalcy in some respects. But a wise Stoic should be able to enjoy life and be the life of the party, just maybe not in the sense we typically think of.
    I apologize if that was long.

  3. Pros: that I am able to focus on the task at hand, not at the effect it may have on me emotinally.
    Cons: that life Looses some of the spontaneity, that I highly value as well
    – which Again may be a pro, since mindfullness allows me to enjoy more fully every and any incident in life.
    IN times of terrorism and voilence a stoic approach in life allows for actions, based on thoughtfulness and reasoning rather than stirred up emotions and anxiety. Providing the World with wise leaders and peoples, hopefully securing a better World for all, and at least a calmer response from me 😉

  4. Pros: Beter control over mental activity and emotions, less suffering, less useless atatchment.
    Cons: Becoming all virtuous can be difficult when lines between grey areas between what is virtuous and what is not, there are times when you may have to do things that are necessarly virtuous but promote you in the long run.

  5. I think becoming less self-pitying and more focused on virtuous action will help me procrastinate less and get more worthwhile things done in the world.
    Since discovering mindfulness several years ago, sitting zen for around three years, and practicing stoicism for the past year, I’ve noticed massive improvements in my own sense of wellbeing and ability to focus on the common good.
    I’ve found I’m less likely to feel overwhelmed and am more able to focus.

  6. In living a life of striving for excellence of character I can see the pros being more aware of your flaws and overcoming them. In addition to overcoming these character flaws and practicing virtues a person may come to be at peace with themselves.

    On the other end of the spectrum I can see the pursuit of virtue being overwhelming and consume the pursuer with the mindset of fighting against the endless tide.