Prepare to embark on a profound journey into the heart of human existence at our virtual symposium, The Art of Dying: Philosophy and Death on Saturday, Nov 18th at 12 pm EDT. This event invites you to explore the complex, deeply personal terrain of death through the illuminating lens of philosophy. We are honored to present leading authors and compassionate psychotherapists who will guide you through a transformative experience, offering wisdom for the graceful acceptance of mortality.
Note: There is no need to worry if you are unavailable on the day. A recording will be sent post event to all those who have registered.
We are pleased to announce that Plato’s Academy Centre will be donating 15% of the net revenue generated by donations from this event to the Hellenic Initiative, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian crisis aid and economic development programs throughout Greece.
Dr. Rachel Menzies, author of Mortals: How the Fear of Death Shaped Human Society
Dr. Kate Hammer, existential psychotherapist, author of study on Joyful Stoic Death Writing, and Kathryn Koromilas, creator of the 28 Days of Joyful Death Writing with the Stoics program
Dr. Scott Waltman, author of Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors and The Stoicism Workbook
Tim LeBon, author of Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology and 365 Ways to Be More Stoic
Timothy Freke, author of The Jesus Mysteries and Soul Story
And more speakers to be confirmed!
Hosted by Anya Leonard of Classical Wisdom and Donald Robertson.
Join us as we confront the mystery of death, a universal human experience that has both fascinated and frightened us. Through the wisdom of philosophy, we will seek answers and insights to help us navigate this uncharted territory.
Coping with Loss
Grief touches us all, but it doesn’t have to be faced alone. Our symposium will provide you with practical guidance and emotional support for navigating the complex terrain of loss, helping you find solace and resilience in the face of adversity.
Living a Life of Meaning
Discover how the profound contemplation of death can inspire a life of purpose and fulfillment. Learn from our experts how to live in such a way that death becomes not a feared end but a celebrated achievement, illuminating the path to a meaningful existence.
We invite you to join this virtual gathering of kindred spirits, seeking to explore the human condition and celebrate the art of living and dying. Together, we will embark on a profound and emotionally resonant exploration of life’s most profound questions.
Like all of our virtual events, it is free to register. However, you may donate an amount of your choosing.
We look forward to seeing you Saturday, November 18th!
In the vast tapestry of human history, there exist certain moments that transcend time, reaching across the ages to touch our hearts and stir our souls. One such poignant event is the untimely death of Seneca, the venerable Roman philosopher, statesman, and Stoic sage. As we traverse the labyrinth of our modern lives, let us pause to reflect on Seneca’s legacy and the profound relevance of his tragic end, drawing wisdom and inspiration from the teachings of this extraordinary thinker.
Seneca’s writings, like ancient letters whispering across time, offer us solace and strength. In “Letters to Lucilius,” he shares wisdom on embracing tranquility in the midst of turmoil, reminding us that our happiness is rooted in our own mind and how we respond to life’s challenges.
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”
On the Shortness of Life
The Shadows of Power: Navigating Ethical Storms
Seneca’s pivotal role as an advisor to the enigmatic Emperor Nero casts shadows upon the complexity of ethical dilemmas. In a world where the allure of power and influence can be intoxicating, Seneca’s life journey stands as a cautionary tale and a lesson for today’s leaders. It prompts us to introspect, to question our values, and to seek alignment between our principles and our actions. In a world longing for genuine leadership, Seneca’s steadfast dedication to virtue encourages us to be unwavering in our moral compass.
“Thus the wise man will not pity men, but will help them and be of service to them, seeing that he is born to be a help to all men and a public benefit, of which he will bestow a share upon every one. … Whenever he is able he will interpose between Fortune and her victims: for what better employment can he find for his wealth or his strength than in setting up again what chance has overthrown?”
Tragedy and Triumph: The Legacy of a Forced Farewell
The circumstances surrounding Seneca’s death reverberate with echoes of sorrow and courage, etching themselves into the annals of time. As fate forced him to choose between life and dignity, Seneca’s decision to meet his demise with bravery and poise testifies to the strength of the human spirit. His unwavering commitment to his philosophical principles amidst turmoil remains a symbol of hope and resilience for those grappling with adversity today.
“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”
On the Shortness of Life
Applying Seneca’s Wisdom to Nurture Our Contemporary Souls
Amidst the clamor of the 21st century, Seneca’s wisdom emerges as a soothing balm for our collective souls. His timeless advice to cultivate self-awareness, to cherish the present, and to seek contentment within our inner selves rings louder than ever. Seneca reminds us that we hold the power to shape our own destinies, to choose our responses to life’s tempests, and to forge our paths with integrity and compassion.
As we pay homage to Seneca’s memory, let us embrace the legacy of his teachings in our lives. Let us honor his life by becoming kinder, wiser, and more empathetic souls, fostering a world where the light of Stoic wisdom illuminates even the darkest of moments.
In this fleeting journey of life, may we find strength and inspiration in the echoes of Seneca’s timeless lessons, carrying his torch forward to illuminate our own lives and those of others.
Take advantage of this exceptional chance to acquire invaluable insights from Seneca’s wisdom and explore practical strategies for managing the emotions of anger, fear, and sadness that each one of us encounters.
Join us for On Seneca: Anger, Fear, and Sadness this Saturday, August 19th, and engage in enriching conversations with esteemed authors and academics—who will be answering live audience questions for 5-7 minutes post presentation—in Stoic philosophy and the teachings of Seneca, including:
David Fideler, author of Breakfast with Seneca and editor of the Stoic Insights website. Dr, Fideler will be speaking on “Seneca’s Philosophy as a Real World Pursuit”.
James Romm, Professor of Classics at Bard College, author of Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero. Prof. Romm will be speaking on “Anger and Madness: Seneca’s goals in On Anger and Medea”.
Christopher Star, Professor of Classics at Middlebury College, author of The Empire of the Self: Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronius. Prof. Star will be speaking on “Following Nature: Reading Seneca During the Climate Crisis”.
Lalya Lloyd, writer and classicist, Eton College, University College School. Lalya will be speaking on “Is Seneca’s Depression Just a Rich People Problem?”
Margaret Graver, Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, author of Stoicism and Emotion and Seneca: The Literary Philosopher. Prof. Graver will be speaking on “On Reading Seneca’s Letters”.
This event is FREE to register. You may also donate an amount of your choosing. Your generosity keeps us hosting these virtual events. Donations also go towards the development of a PAC on-site location near the original Plato’s Academy in Akadimia Platonos, Athens. There’s also no need to worry if you’re unavailable on the day. A recording will be sent to all pre-registrants post event.
We look forward to seeing all of you this Saturday, August 19th at 12 pm EDT!
We are thrilled to present to you the esteemed academics and authors who will be gracing our virtual event, On Seneca: Anger, Fear, and Sadness. Join us as we delve into the insightful works of Seneca and explore how his teachings can guide us in navigating our emotions in today’s ever-changing world.
David Fideler has worked as a college professor, editor and publisher, and the director of a humanities center. He studied ancient Greek philosophy and Mediterranean religions at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a PhD in philosophy. He is the author of Breakfast with Seneca and the editor of the Stoic Insights website.
Margaret Graver is the author of Stoicism and Emotion and Seneca: The Literary Philosopher. Prof. Graver is also theAaron Lawrence Professor in Classics. Her area of specialization is Hellenistic and Roman philosophy, especially the philosophy of mind and emotion. After completing her doctorate at Brown University, she taught briefly at Princeton University, then joined the faculty at Dartmouth College in 1996, where she offers a variety of courses on Greek and Roman philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Latin literature including Lucretius, Cicero, and Seneca, and on the Latin language.
Christopher Star is the author of The Empire of the Self: Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronus. His most recent book is Apocalypse and the Golden Age. He has received degrees in Classics from Bates College (BA), the University of Cambridge (MPhil) and the University of Chicago (PhD). Dr. Star has also studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin and his teaching and research focus on the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. His primary interest is in how the Romans dealt with the shift from freedom to autocracy, its impact on their self-concept, and its relevance in present-day discussions.
Lalya Lloyd is a writer and Classics specialist with ten years’ experience in education, at Eton College, University College School, and as a private tutor. An editor for Yale University Press, she has edited Donald Robertson’s forthcoming biographies on Marcus Aurelius and Socrates. She’s currently in production on a title about Seneca’s life and works to be announced later this year.
James S. Romm is an author of Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero. He’s also a reviewer and the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College in Annandale, NY. He specializes in ancient Greek and Roman culture and civilization. His reviews and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, the Daily Beast, and other venues.
Hosted by Anya Leonard of Classical Wisdom and Donald Robertson!
Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity to gain invaluable insights from these brilliant minds as they guide us through Seneca’s timeless wisdom, offering practical tools to embrace our emotions and thrive in the modern world, Saturday, August 19th at 12 pm EDT. There is no need to worry if you’re unavailable on the day. A recording will be sent to all registrants post event.
Donations not only enable us to keep hosting these events, but go towards the development of a PAC on-site location near the original Plato’s Academy in Akadimia Platonos, Athens.
If you happen to know someone who could benefit from gaining inner strength to confront and overcome emotional challenges, enabling them to lead a more fulfilling life even in difficult times, we kindly request you to share the event link below. Your support would be highly appreciated.
All those who preregister for this event are eligible to win. We will send a form to all registrants shortly after the event to obtain shipping information. Then, we will select THREE winners at random.
In Breakfast with Seneca, philosopher David Fideler mines Seneca’s classic works in a series of focused chapters, clearly explaining Seneca’s ideas without oversimplifying them. Best enjoyed as a daily ritual, like an energizing cup of coffee, Seneca’s wisdom provides us with a steady stream of time-tested advice about the human condition—which, as it turns out, hasn’t changed much over the past two thousand years.
[A] comprehensive guide to [Seneca’s] ideas… Fideler keeps things accessible and offers plenty of real-world examples for applying philosophy to one’s life, making for a great crash course. Philosophy newbies will find this a fine introduction.
― Publishers Weekly
David is an esteemed guest speaker at our upcoming On Seneca event and will be speaking on “Seneca’s Philosophy as a Real World Pursuit”.
There is no need to worry if you are unavailable on the day. A recording will be sent to all registrants post event.
We believe in making philosophy accessible to all. Which is why all our events are free to register. You may also donate an amount of your choosing. Your generosity keeps us hosting events like these. Donations also goes towards funding a PAC on-site location near the original Plato’s Academy in Akadimia Platonos, Athens.
How can we transform the energy of anger, fear, and sadness into actions that contribute to personal growth and the betterment of society?
Anger, fear, and sadness are emotions are deeply ingrained in our human nature and are experienced by everyone, across every culture and background. However, what we all share is the ability to navigate and manage these emotions. Seneca held that by embracing the concept of virtue, practicing self-reflection, and accepting the impermanence of external circumstances, we can find tranquility and maintain emotional equilibrium amidst the storms of life existence.
Accordingly, some wise men have said that anger is a brief Madness: for it’s no less lacking in self-control, forgetful of decency, unmindful of personal ties, unrelentingly intent on its goal, shut off from rational deliberation, stirred for no substantial reason, unsuited to discerning what’s fair and true, just like a collapsing building that’s reduced to rubble even as it crushes what it falls upon.
Seneca, On Anger
Seneca viewed anger as a useless emotion that accomplishes nothing. He stated that “No plague has cost the human race more” than anger, harming both the person who feels it and those who are subjected to it. He believed that the path to overcoming anger lies in cultivating virtue, particularly the virtues of patience, self-control, and forgiveness. He encouraged developing philosophical outlook on life that helps us rise above anger-inducing situations.
…we suffer more often in imagination than in reality….Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
Seneca, On Groundless Fear
Seneca recognized fear as a natural and instinctive emotion that arises in response to perceived threats or dangers. He also acknowledged that fear is a common human experience but believed that it can be managed and overcome through reason. True courage, he believed, is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to act in the face of fear. He encouraged confronting it and taking action despite its presence, as inaction only perpetuates and reinforces fear; realizing too that most of it comes from our own thoughts and interpretations of external events.
No one will bring back the years, no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take, and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly.
Seneca, On Consolation
Seneca held that living in the present moment was vital to our happiness and well-being, not allowing past or future events to burden us with sadness. He encouraged individuals to concentrate their attention on the here and now, rather than dwelling excessively on past regrets or uncertain future outcomes. Sadness should never be denied, he believed, but rather accepted and allowed to run its course; making constructive use of the time whilst deriving wisdom from the experience, becoming better people as a result.
Don’t miss this opportunity to gain invaluable insights from Seneca’s wisdom and discover practical approaches for managing the anger, fear, and sadness that every one of us experiences.
Engage in discussions with authors and academics in Stoic philosophy and the teachings of Seneca:
David Fideler, editor of the Stoic Insights website, author ofBreakfast with Seneca and Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence
Lalya Lloyd, writer and classicist, Eton College, University College School
Margaret Graver, Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, author of Stoicism and Emotion and Seneca: The Literary Philosophe
James S. Romm, James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College, author of Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero andeditor of How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life (Seneca)
Christopher Star, Associate Professor of Classics at Middlebury College, Vermont, author of Seneca and The Empire of the Self: Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca.
More to be announced!
Hosted by Donald Robertson and Anya Leonard of Classical Wisdom
This is event free to register. You may also donate an amount of your choosing. Your generosity keeps us hosting these events. Donations also go towards the development of an on-site PAC location near the original Plato’s Academy in Akadimia Platonos, Athens.
There is no need to worry if you are unavailable on the day. A recording post-event will be sent to all registered attendees.
Seneca’s philosophy offers invaluable guidance in managing the universal emotions of anger, fear, and sadness. By cultivating virtues like patience, self-control, courage and forgiveness, we can rise above and empower ourselves. Join the On Seneca: Anger, Fear, and Sadness virtual event to gain practical insights and discover effective ways to navigate these emotions.
This week we celebrate Prof. Nancy Sherman, her works and her valuable contribution to modern philosophy. We’re truly honored to have her on our board of advisors. PAC also wishes to celebrate the paperback release of Sherman’s Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience (Oxford University Press)—releasing June 1st, now available for preorder!
How do we find calm in times of stress and uncertainty? How do we cope with sudden losses or find meaning in a world that can easily rob us of what we most value? Drawing on the wisdom of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and others, Nancy Sherman’s Stoic Wisdom presents a compelling, modern Stoicism that teaches grit, resilience, and the importance of close relationships in addressing life’s biggest and smallest challenges.
A renowned expert in ancient and modern ethics, Sherman relates how Stoic methods of examining beliefs and perceptions can help us correct distortions in what we believe, see, and feel. Her study reveals a profound insight about the Stoics: They never believed, as Stoic popularizers often hold, that rugged self-reliance or indifference to the world around us is at the heart of living well. We are at home in the world, they insisted, when we are connected to each other in cooperative efforts. We build resilience and goodness through our deepest relationships. Bringing ancient ideas to bear on 21st century concerns―from workers facing stress and burnout to first responders in a pandemic, from soldiers on the battlefield to citizens fighting for racial justice―Sherman shows how Stoicism can help us fulfill the promise of our shared humanity. In nine lessons that combine ancient pithy quotes and daily exercises with contemporary ethics and psychology, Stoic Wisdom is a field manual for the art of living well.
Nancy Sherman goes far beyond the kind of ‘pen-and-ink philosophy’ that the Stoics had so little time for. In this book, she applies Stoicism where it is most needed–for our warriors and working people alike–and helps them become better and more resilient.
—Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Daily Stoic and Stillness is the Key
For practicing Stoics like Seneca, not yet wise but committed to moral progress, sharing in reason is equally an emotionally laden experience, exemplified in supportive friendships, including epistolary relationships. In the Letters on Ethics, we have a record. We read of Seneca’s excitement in sending off a letter and his eagerness in receiving a response, his consolations in grief, his disclosures of his own suffering, his reports of the trivia of the day, and his earnest aspirations to constancy and wisdom. We get a sense of solidarity and empathy meant to sustain each side in hard times.
Seneca writes these letters in the last few years of his life, in political retirement, with mortality and the enmity of Nero on his mind. Anxiety and the search for calm swirl on the pages. There is a retreat away from externals to the inner life. But it is done with a friend. “When I devote myself to friends, I do not even then withdraw from myself.”
Paragons from history are part of the support system. We needn’t restrict our friends to the living, insists Seneca. Inspiration comes from the giants of the past—Socrates demonstrating his steadfastness to his philosophical principles in his death, Cato’s cleaving to the path of virtue in the face of political ambition, Scipio and Cincinnatus in exemplary military leadership. The demigod Hercules cuts a more complicated figure, as we shall soon see. For although exceptional, his glory-seeking makes for a toxic and unstable mix, however arduous his struggles.
Seneca tells us that the sage rises only as often as the phoenix, every 500 years or so. For critics, a sage so rare is too daunting a model to be emulated. But a sage who shows emotions and who also can be clothed in concrete, historical detail is a way to make what’s godly earthly. And that is a part of the Stoic strategy for resilience—we are to visualize exemplary models, including divine ones, who can teach us how to face adversity.
This is just what Seneca’s contemporary Philo does in his Hellenistic commentary on the Old Testament. Once again, imagine the moment when Sarah nervously laughed to herself in learning that she would give birth to a child. How does surprise, and frankly fear and disbelief, at being able to conceive at such an old age move from trepidation to joy? Sarah, as Stoic matriarch, demonstrates how it’s possible to loosen the grip of emotions that make her “stagger and shake” and come to feel steadier ones that bring inner calm and joy. There are no pointers here about technique. What we get is an example of hope: how anxiety about a most improbable and dangerous birth can gradually shift to trust in a higher authority and equanimity. That is the Stoic Bible lesson.
Connections with real or allegorical figures from the past, and friendships in the present, are social elements in building Stoic grit. Seneca’s letters are addressed to his younger friend, Gaius Lucilius Iunior. The letters are undisguised moral counsel, but they do their work through rapport building. There are no known return letters from Lucilius. This is a literary art form. Still, Lucilius’s presence is on the page in questions and answers, news about him from mutual friends, a relationship built through the imagined to and fro of anticipated and received letters. “Every time a letter comes . . . I am with you.” Seneca has his eye on posterity here—merited praise that he has “been the cause of good” of others. If glory lives on through these letters, it’s in part in the record of how the Stoics teach through a relationship, and continue to do so.
Nancy Sherman, a prominent philosopher, author, and professor, holds a special place in the world of ethics, moral psychology, and Stoicism. Her profound contributions have illuminated the understanding and practicality of ancient Stoic philosophy in our modern lives, with a particular focus on military ethics and the profound moral dimensions of war.
Within the pages of her remarkable book, Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind published in 2005, Nancy Sherman delves into the profound connections between Stoic philosophy and the virtues essential to the military. In her exploration, she reveals how Stoic teachings possess the power to shape character, foster resilience, and guide ethical decision-making within the crucible of war and military service.
Yet, Nancy Sherman’s impact extends far beyond the confines of academia. Her extensive writings on moral injury, which encapsulates the psychological and moral anguish stemming from actions conflicting with one’s deeply held moral principles, have shed light on a critical aspect of human experience. In her poignant work, The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers, she delves into the profound moral and psychological challenges faced by soldiers in the aftermath of war, offering a glimmer of hope and the possibility of healing.
As a revered professor, Nancy Sherman has imparted her wisdom on philosophy and ethics to countless minds at Georgetown University, where she held the esteemed Distinguished Chair in Ethics. Furthermore, her invaluable service as a faculty member at the United States Naval Academy has allowed her to forge deep connections with military personnel, providing them with indispensable guidance and profound insights into the realms of moral resilience, moral injury, and military ethics.
Nancy Sherman’s remarkable contributions have solidified her as a revered figure within the realm of philosophy, leaving an indelible mark on the field. Her profound exploration of Stoic philosophy, particularly in relation to ethics and military virtues, has enriched our understanding of ancient wisdom and its practical application in modern life.
Through her extensive writings on moral injury and the psychological challenges faced by soldiers, Sherman has illuminated critical aspects of human experience, highlighting the profound moral dimensions of war and the path to healing. Her invaluable teachings and guidance have shaped the minds of countless individuals, fostering a deeper appreciation for philosophy’s role in shaping character, resilience, and ethical decision-making, solidifying her significance in the world of philosophy.
Thank you, Professor Sherman.
Nancy Sherman is a distinguished university professor and professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. She was also the inaugural Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the United States Naval Academy.
As the dust settles on our post pandemic world, it finds itself grappling with widespread social unrest and pervasive economic uncertainty, in conjunction with our everyday struggles as individuals. It is here that the marriage of ancient wisdom and therapy emerges as a guiding light, offering timeless insights into the human condition. By weaving together the principles of therapy and ancient philosophy, we can embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and emerge more resilient.
The Greek word “therapeia” (θεραπεία) is derived from the Greek verb “therapeuo” (θεραπεύω), which means “to serve” or “to attend to.” The ancient Greeks believed the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit, and therapy encompassed all aspects of holistic healing. Within Greek mythology, the gods themselves were often associated with therapeutic practices. For example, Apollo, the Greek god of healing, was often invoked for the restoration of physical and mental health. So, therapeia was sometimes used to describe the activities carried out in Apollo’s temples, where individuals sought healing through prayer, offerings, and ritual practices.
Therapy and ancient philosophy share a common goal: the pursuit of inner harmony and eudaimonia, or flourishing. Ancient philosophers believed that true happiness and fulfillment came not from external circumstances but from cultivating virtues and aligning one’s actions with one’s values. In a similar vein, therapy aims to help individuals find a sense of meaning and purpose, develop self-compassion, and build resilience in the face of life’s challenges.
Stoicism offers particularly relevant insights in the context of therapy. It teaches individuals to distinguish between what is within their control and what is not, and to focus their energy on the former. The philosophy also emphasizes the importance of accepting life’s uncertainties, managing emotions, and cultivating a sense of gratitude. These Stoic principles can be integrated into therapy to help individuals navigate difficulties, develop resilience, and foster a sense of tranquility amid the storms of life.
Stoicism and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Stoicism and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) share several similarities and have a significant relationship. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the connections between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, aiming to identify and modify negative patterns of thinking and behavior. Stoicism, on the other hand, is a philosophy of life and emphasizes the importance of reason, virtue, and acceptance of the things we cannot control. The main goal of Stoic-therapy is apatheia (ἀπάθεια) which is freedom from being bound to our irrational passions such as anger, fear, or sadness.
The relationship between Stoicism and CBT lies in their shared principles and practices. They both highlight the role of our thoughts in shaping our emotions and behaviors; and recognize that it is not external events themselves that cause distress, but rather our interpretation and perception of those events. Both approaches emphasize the power of examining and challenging our thoughts and beliefs to foster healthier emotional and behavioral responses.
For example, the Stoic notion of “cognitive distancing” encourages individuals to step back from their immediate reactions and consider alternative interpretations of events, which is similar to CBT’s technique of cognitive restructuring. Stoicism also encourages individuals to focus on what is within their control, while accepting that there are things outside their control, aligning with CBT’s emphasis on identifying and changing the aspects of a situation that can be influenced.
“Sometimes Stoicism can help dramatically. In 365 Ways, we give the example of one man whose life was turned around when he heard about the dichotomy of control and the Serenity Prayer. For the previous decade his life had been ruined by focusing on past misfortunates over which he had no control. The DOC helped him realize that he had a choice – to stay in the past or move forward.
People struggling with long-term health conditions can be helped by similar ideas. They can’t control the fact that they have a particular condition but they can control how they respond to it.
Seneca’s short work On Anger contains so many valuable ideas and memorable phrases. It’s common to hear people to say that you need anger to fight injustice. ‘No!’, reply Seneca and the Stoics, you need courage and wisdom to do this, not anger.
Perhaps the biggest impact though is with people suffering from anger and frustration. Seneca’s short work On Anger contains so many valuable ideas and memorable phrases. It’s common to hear people say that you need anger to fight injustice. No!, reply Seneca and the Stoics, you need courage and wisdom to do this, not anger. The red mist obscures your ability to see things properly and fairly. Or, as Seneca puts it
The sword of justice is ill-placed in the hands of an angry person
In this period of flux and unpredictability, CBT teaches a range of coping skills, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and stress management. These strategies help individuals develop healthier ways of dealing with stress and adversity, reducing the negative impact on their resilience. It also offers constructive strategies to overcome our limits and fears, rooted in false beliefs, that inhibit us from moving forward in life. Behavioral modification in CBT encourages individuals to engage in activities that promote well-being and build resilience. By gradually increasing exposure to challenging situations, individuals can develop confidence and adaptive responses, strengthening their resilience over time.
It is FREE to register. However, you also have the option of donating an amount of your choosing. Your generosity keeps us putting on these events. Donations also go towards the development of an on-site location near the original site of Plato’s Academy in Akademia Platonos, Athens.
Plato’s Library will consist of bi-weekly posts containing exclusive excerpts from recent and forthcoming books on ancient philosophy, and related subjects. We have carefully selected this passages in consultation with publishers to give you a taste of the high-value content written by leading experts in the field. Some of these passages are advance previews from books that are not yet published — so you get a sneak peek at forthcoming titles. The Plato’s Academy Centre have been able to arrange this especially for our Substack subscribers because of our strong links with senior figures in the publishing industry.
Full access to this column is for our paying subscribers only, but free subscribers will receive brief previews of the content. Below you’ll find links to three of the excerpts recently published. Please comment on Substack, letting us and the authors know what you think. Thank you, once again, for your support. The Plato’s Academy Centre is a nonprofit organization. We wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals without you, our loyal subscribers!
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Below you can read an exclusive excerpt courtesy of Princeton University Press from Michael Fontaine’s new book, How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor. Is it possible for jokes to win over a hostile room, a seemingly unwinnable argument, or even an election? According to Cicero, the answer is a resounding yes.
This is an excerpt from Plato’s Republic: A Ladybird Expert Book reproduced by kind permission of the author, Prof. Angie Hobbs, and her publisher, Penguin. Philosophers, sophists, and alternative facts Why is Plato so committed to the existence of knowledge? Why is he not prepared to countenance the possibility that humans might have to withhold judgement?
How would you like to learn to be more Stoic? The latest book from Tim LeBon, research director of Modern Stoicism and cognitive-behavioral therapist, is called 365 Ways to Be More Stoic. So, what, according to the Stoics, is under our direct control? Less than most of us think… The problem is we spend so much time trying to control other things.
Thanks to John Murray Press and Princeton University Press, we’re now offering more books in our giveaway for Saturday, May 20th’s Choose Not to Be Harmed: Philosophy & Resiliencethan any other event giveaway we’re hosted! There will now be FOUR lucky registered attendees that will receive hardback books!
(Please note: We will send a form to every email address after the event; and we will select winners at random to those who have provided valid email addresses)
Grand prize is an entire hardback set of the 365 series including
365 Ways to Develop Mental Toughness
365 Ways to Live Mindfully
365 Ways to Save the Planet
365 Ways to Have a Good Day
and the recently released and 5-star reviewed
365 Ways to Be More Stoic—written by one of our esteemed guest speakers, Tim LeBon!
“Spend a year with Tim LeBon learning ways to be more Stoic. It may change your life, for the better.”—Massimo Pigliucci, Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York, author of How to Be a Stoic
3 runner-up winners will receive a hardback copy of How to Grieve: An Ancient Guide to the Lost Art of Consolation!
Inspired by Marcus Tullius Cicero and translated by another one of our honored guest speakers, Michael Fontaine!
“[How to Grieve] offers an engaging read . . . and will certainly make this fascinating text easily accessible.” —Catherine Steel, Classics for All
Join our exclusive online event on philosophy and resilience, featuring a special program of renowned authors like Tim LeBon, Michael Fontaine, Nancy Sherman, Donald Robertson, Karen Duffy and more
During this event, each speaker will provide you with valuable knowledge and captivating insights into philosophy as a means to cultivate personal strength and resilience. You will learn from real-life examples, receive practical advice, and gain access to effective strategies that can help you build your own resilience. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn ways of tapping into the freedom that comes with choosing not to be harmed.
Hosted by Donald Robertson and Anya Leonard of Classical Wisdom Weekly.
Although we’ve made this event free to make it accessible to all, your donations keeps us hosting events like these. Your generosity also funds the development of an on-site location of Plato’s Academy Centre, near the original site of Plato’s Academy in Athens.
If your friends or loved ones are struggling with the disruptions of the world, including economic uncertainty and rising political polarization, and could use a healthy strategy to help cultivate resilience, please share the link below:
Plato’s Academy Centre is honored to welcome author William O. Stephens as a guest speaker at our event commemorating Marcus Aurelius’ birthday, Marcus Aurelius Anniversary on Wed, April 26th—featuring Donald Robertson and Dr. John Sellars. The event is a symposium that will examine, discuss, and celebrate the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, as well as its practical relevance in today’s world.
William O. Stephens holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Creighton University in Nebraska and specializes in various fields such as ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, ethics, animals, and the environment. He is an accomplished author with a focus on philosophy, having written several books including Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed, Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom, and Epictetus’s ‘Enchiridion’: A New Translation and Guide to Stoic Ethics. Additionally, he has an interest in Stoicism as a way of life, as well as Stoicism’s relationship with popular culture.
Plato’s Academy Centre invites all individuals to participate in a complimentary virtual event held on Wed April 26th in honor of Marcus Aurelius’ birthday. Even if you cannot attend the live event, you can register now and receive a link to the recorded video.
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While the event is free, donations to support the nonprofit Plato’s Academy Centre are welcome and greatly appreciated. Your contribution will aid in the organization and execution of similar events in the future.