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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stoic Week starting thoughts 

I have been interested in Stoicism for about 2 years since reading a review of "A guide to the good life" on boingboing. I had first come across Stoicism 20 plus years before then at uni as part of my environmental science degree. To be honest I remember Stoicism was mentioned in one environmental philosophy lecture but I tended to be very hung over in those lectures as they fell at 9am after a big student night in one of the clubs in the town.

I always had philosophy in general in the back of my head. Every now and then I would read a "pop philosophy" book of one sort or another. A few years ago I worked with a couple of people who were active members of a philosophy society in Bath (one of whom is now a philosophy lecturer) which got me reading and thinking a bit more than before.

Stoicism had an immediate appeal. It just seemed to make sense. The whole concept of virtue, indifferents etc. seemed to make a lot of sense straight away. I got a copy of the Meditations and devoured it (leant it to someone who didnt give it back...) Since then I have read Seneca, Epicetus and a few other secondary sources such as Sneddons course.

All this reading has deepened my thinking and understanding. I am not actually one for memorising quotes and precepts but I try to think how a Stoic sage would approach a given situation and behave accordingly. I have broadened my reading to Montaigne, Singer and other ethics secondary sources.

Last year I finally decided to see a therapist about my depression. I have suffered from this since my late teens off and on and I am currently on Prozac/fluoxitine and have been for a couple of years currently and have taken it in the past. I had a couple of sessions with the therapist and as I mentioned that I was actively studying stoicism, keeping a journal etc. she said that as she would advise CBT for me I might as well carry on with my Stoic practice and not worry about therapy or CBT. I find that stoic practices help a great deal with my depression. Mindfulness and the morning and evening meditations work well at focussing my mind. The whole only worry about things you can change is a big help... I don't obsess over things beyond my control any more.

Well thats a start.

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