Musonius Rufus and Asceticism

While reading and researching Musonius Rufus for this post, I came across an interesting article by Richard Valantasis entitled “Musonius Rufus and Roman Ascetical Theory.” Valantasis is a scholar and Episcopal priest who has also written The Making of the Self: Ancient and Modern Asceticism and appears to be one of the most prominent living writers on ascetical…

Seneca on misfortune’s bright side

Seneca’s “On Providence” attempts to address the question of why bad things happen to brave, virtuous people. While some aspects of the essay are problematic, he does make a strong case for turning to philosophy now to learn to withstand adversity when it inevitably comes. Seneca highlights the basic Stoic precept that external events are indifferent,…

A Stoic Response to the Digital Onslaught

What I’m realizing lately is that it’s a good mental exercise to apply a Stoicism overlay to any theme: How would a Stoic react to [x]? I’ve enjoyed reading others analyze such diverse topics as suicide, waiting tables, and Angry Birds. In that spirit of discovery I thought I’d take on technology and our complex relationship to it. Technology…

Epictetus’ Handbook: Three Ways to Readjust your Thinking

Epictetus’ Handbook* is ancient wisdom for the modern attention span. I am perpetually juggling work and home responsibilities and tend to have ten half-read books on my nightstand. It is not a badge of honor, but a curse. I have read only a few of the Discourses but have actually read all of the Handbook. It spans…

Drive Like a Stoic

  This past weekend I spent eight hours in a car with my little boy. I had plenty of opportunities to practice virtue and temperance, but I could have done with fewer. It was at times a sweaty-palms, white-knuckles experience, but it made me think about Stoic philosophy and how driving is a metaphor for…