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  • ptypes
    Welcome, I founded the Stoic Practice group to provide a forum for those who wish to develop a Stoic practice based upon the theories of Pierre Hadot,
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 28, 2002
      Welcome,

      I founded the Stoic Practice group to provide a forum for those who
      wish to develop a Stoic practice based upon the theories of Pierre
      Hadot, especially upon his explanation of the Disciplines of Assent,
      Desire, and Action in "The Inner Citadel." The appeal of Pierre Hadot
      rests upon his total commitment to seeing philosophy as primarily an
      art of living and way of life.

      From Hadot's "The Inner Citadel" (35-36):

      "For the ancients in general, but particularly for the Stoics and for
      Marcus Aurelius, philosophy was, above all, a way of life...

      "Ordinary people are content to think in any old way, to act
      haphazardly, and to undergo grudgingly whatever befalls them. The good
      man, however, will try, insofar as he is able, to act justly in the
      service of other people, to accept serenely those events which do not
      depend on him, and to think with rectitude and veracity
      ([Meditations,] VII, 54):

      "Always and everywhere, it depends on you piously to be satisfied with
      the present conjunction of events,

      to conduct yourself justly toward whatever other people are present,
      and

      to apply the rules of discernment to the inner representation you are
      having now, so that nothing which is not objective may infiltrate its
      way into you."

      The core of Hadot's approach to the practice of Stoicism is
      represented by a spiritual exercise that he derives from Marcus
      Aurelius' Meditation XII, 3, which he calls "the exercise to
      circumscribe and delimit the self" (113) and translates as (112-13):

      "There are three things of which you are composed: your body, your
      vital breath, and your intellect (nous).
      The first two are yours only insofar as you must take care of them.
      Only the third is yours in the proper sense of the term.
      This is why, if you separate yourself from yourself,
      that is to say, from your thought (dianoia),
      --everything that others may say or do;
      --or again, everything that you yourself have said and done (in the
      past), as well as the things which trouble you because they are still
      to come;
      --and everything that happens to you , independently of your will,
      because of the body which surrounds you, or your innate vital breath;
      --and everything which stirs the waves of the violent sea which bathes
      you,
      in order that
      --raised above the interweavings of Fate,
      --pure,
      --free for itself,
      the living intellectual power
      --by doing what is right,
      --by willing everything that happens,
      --by telling the truth,
      -----if, I say, you separate from this guiding principle (hegemonikon)
      the things which have become attached to it, because it has become
      attached to them,
      and if you separate from time that which is beyond the present and
      that which is past,
      and if you make yourself like the Sphairos of Empedocles, "a pure orb,
      proud of its joyful uniqueness,"
      and if you strive to live only what you live--that is to say, the
      present,
      -----then you will be able to live the time that is left to you, up
      until your death, untroubled, benevolently and serenely with regard to
      your inner daimon."

      See pages 113-125 for Hadot's explanation of this exercise.

      This exercise places the practitioner in the position of constant
      attention (Discourses, IV, 12) and readiness to "make proper use of
      impressions":

      "This delimitation of the self, as a potential for liberty which
      transcends Destiny, is equivalent to the delimitation of the faculty I
      possess to judge, and either to give or to withhold my assent from my
      value-judgments" (121).

      I think that an adoption of Stoic practice can be initiated by
      entering into this spiritual exercise and never leaving it, or, as is
      more likely, re-entering it whenever you realize that you have left
      it.


      Dave Kelly
    • pdlanagan
      ... Assent, ... Dave, Like yourself, I am new to stoicism. I have found the degree of self awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct use
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 28, 2002
        --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:
        > Welcome,
        >
        > I founded the Stoic Practice group to provide a forum for those who
        > wish to develop a Stoic practice based upon the theories of Pierre
        > Hadot, especially upon his explanation of the Disciplines of
        Assent,
        > Desire, and Action in "The Inner Citadel."

        Dave,

        Like yourself, I am new to stoicism. I have found the degree of self
        awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct use
        of impressions and prevent loss of tranquility is more than I can
        currently muster. I was unaware of the existence of exercises to
        develop this ability until you established this group. I was also
        unaware of Hadot. I have ordered his book "The Inner Citadel" and
        when I have read it I hope to be able to contribute more to this
        group.

        Regards,

        Paul
      • ptypes
        Welcome aboard Paul, ... self ... That s a wise move. Elen Buzare has written an essay, Stoic Spiritual Exercises, for the Stoic Voice Journal which makes
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 29, 2002
          Welcome aboard Paul,

          --- In stoic_practice@y..., "pdlanagan" <pdlanagan@y...> wrote:
          > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:

          > Like yourself, I am new to stoicism. I have found the degree of
          self
          > awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct use
          > of impressions and prevent loss of tranquility is more than I can
          > currently muster. I was unaware of the existence of exercises to
          > develop this ability until you established this group. I was also
          > unaware of Hadot. I have ordered his book "The Inner Citadel" and
          > when I have read it I hope to be able to contribute more to this
          > group.


          That's a wise move.

          Elen Buzare has written an essay, "Stoic Spiritual Exercises," for
          the "Stoic Voice Journal" which makes extensive use of Hadot. The
          essay can be found in the Journal's archives in Volume 2, Number 12,
          January 2002.


          Best wishes,
          Dave
        • ptypes
          Paul, Here s the missing url for the Stoic Voice Journal. http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/ Dave ... use ... 12,
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 29, 2002
            Paul,

            Here's the missing url for the Stoic Voice Journal.
            http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/

            Dave


            --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:
            > Welcome aboard Paul,
            >
            > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "pdlanagan" <pdlanagan@y...> wrote:
            > > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:
            >
            > > Like yourself, I am new to stoicism. I have found the degree of
            > self
            > > awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct
            use
            > > of impressions and prevent loss of tranquility is more than I can
            > > currently muster. I was unaware of the existence of exercises to
            > > develop this ability until you established this group. I was also
            > > unaware of Hadot. I have ordered his book "The Inner Citadel" and
            > > when I have read it I hope to be able to contribute more to this
            > > group.
            >
            >
            > That's a wise move.
            >
            > Elen Buzare has written an essay, "Stoic Spiritual Exercises," for
            > the "Stoic Voice Journal" which makes extensive use of Hadot. The
            > essay can be found in the Journal's archives in Volume 2, Number
            12,
            > January 2002.
            >
            >
            > Best wishes,
            > Dave
          • Keith Seddon
            You can find Elen Buzare s Stoic Voice paper at http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/journal/0102/eb0102e1.htm Perhaps this should be added to the bookmarks
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 29, 2002
              You can find Elen Buzare's Stoic Voice paper at
              http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/journal/0102/eb0102e1.htm

              Perhaps this should be added to the bookmarks section on this forum? I will
              see if ordinary members can post bookmarks, and do it if I can!


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "ptypes" <ptypes@...>
              To: <stoic_practice@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, July 29, 2002 4:46 PM
              Subject: [stoic_practice] Re: Welcome [missing url]


              > Paul,
              >
              > Here's the missing url for the Stoic Voice Journal.
              > http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/
              >
              > Dave
              >
              >
              > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:
              > > Welcome aboard Paul,
              > >
              > > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "pdlanagan" <pdlanagan@y...> wrote:
              > > > --- In stoic_practice@y..., "ptypes" <ptypes@y...> wrote:
              > >
              > > > Like yourself, I am new to stoicism. I have found the degree of
              > > self
              > > > awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct
              > use
              > > > of impressions and prevent loss of tranquility is more than I can
              > > > currently muster. I was unaware of the existence of exercises to
              > > > develop this ability until you established this group. I was also
              > > > unaware of Hadot. I have ordered his book "The Inner Citadel" and
              > > > when I have read it I hope to be able to contribute more to this
              > > > group.
              > >
              > >
              > > That's a wise move.
              > >
              > > Elen Buzare has written an essay, "Stoic Spiritual Exercises," for
              > > the "Stoic Voice Journal" which makes extensive use of Hadot. The
              > > essay can be found in the Journal's archives in Volume 2, Number
              > 12,
              > > January 2002.
              > >
              > >
              > > Best wishes,
              > > Dave
              >
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > stoic_practice-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
              >
            • ptypes
              ... I will ... I m glad to see that all members can post bookmarks. I didn t include a direct link to Buzare s paper because the publisher requested that one
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 29, 2002
                --- In stoic_practice@y..., "Keith Seddon" <k.h.s@b...> wrote:
                > You can find Elen Buzare's Stoic Voice paper at
                > http://www.geocities.com/stoicvoice/journal/0102/eb0102e1.htm
                >
                > Perhaps this should be added to the bookmarks section on this forum?
                I will
                > see if ordinary members can post bookmarks, and do it if I can!
                >


                I'm glad to see that all members can post bookmarks.

                I didn't include a direct link to Buzare's paper because the publisher
                requested that one get permission to do so. I did seek and recieved
                permission to link to the paper on my own site.

                Thanks for the tip on the keywords. I'd noticed what you had done and
                I probably will do it. Please do treat this list as your own; any
                suggestions to improve it will be welcome.

                I had thought that I had set up things so that Stoic Practice would
                appear in the Directory but I haven't seen a sign of it. I'll have to
                look into that.
              • Keith Seddon
                ... This may take a couple of days to work thru. If you entered the details correctly, the directory listings should be updated soon. Or so I have found in the
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 29, 2002
                  > I had thought that I had set up things so that Stoic Practice would
                  > appear in the Directory but I haven't seen a sign of it. I'll have to
                  > look into that.

                  This may take a couple of days to work thru. If you entered the details
                  correctly, the directory listings should be updated soon. Or so I have found
                  in the past.
                • Keith Seddon
                  ... Hopefully you have been able to secure at least a degree of progress in the intervening weeks. For one thing, don t try to do too much all at once. Focus
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 15, 2002
                    Back in July, Paul wrote:
                     
                    >>>I have found the degree of self awareness and watchfulness that is required to make the correct use of impressions and prevent loss of tranquility is more than I can currently muster.<<<
                     
                    Hopefully you have been able to secure at least a degree of progress in the intervening weeks.
                     
                    For one thing, don't try to do too much all at once. Focus on small, everyday things. If you made a cup of coffee and did not get disturbed by accidentally spilling the water and making a mess, that is progress. Move onto the next thing. And be ready for what MIGHT disturb you. Possibly there will be a bill in the post that will stretch your finances: be prepared for that, and know in advance that that is nothing to be worried about.
                     
                    I stumbled into two Epictetus quotes quite by accident (there are probably better quotes than this for my purpose, and when I find them I will note them down):
                    Where then is progress [prokope]? If any of you, withdrawing himself from externals, turns to his own will [prohairesis] to exercise it and to improve it by labour, so as to make it conformable to nature, elevated, free, unrestrained, unimpeded, faithful, modest; and if he has learned that he who desires or avoids the things which are not in his power can neither be faithful nor free, but of necessity he must change with them and be tossed about with them as in a tempest, and of necessity must subject himself to others who have the power to procure or prevent what he desires or would avoid; finally, when he rises in the morning, if he observes and keeps these rules, bathes as a man of fidelity [pistos], eats as a modest [aidemon] man; in like manner, if in every matter that occurs he works out his chief principles as the runner does with reference to running, and the trainer of the voice with reference to the voice -- this is the man who truly makes progress [prokopton], and this is the man who has not travelled in vain. (Discourses 1.4.18-21; trans. George Long)

                    We should be satisfied with doing the acts which are conformable [to our duties]: . . . Today I have employed my action as it is taught by the philosophers; I have not employed any desire; I have used avoidance only with respect to things which are within the power of my will [prohairesis]; I have not been afraid of such a person, I have not been prevailed upon by the entreaties of another; I have exercised my patience, my abstinence, my co-operation with others; and so we should thank God for what we ought to thank Him. (Discourses 4.4.17-18; trans. George Long)

                    The first quotation outlines what we must do to make progress. The second quote shows the prokopton reporting back to themselves what they have accomplished that day in terms of satisfying what their training requires. Seneca advocates this procedure in On Anger -- that of going over in our minds at the end of the day all the things that have happened in order to assess our responses, and to decide how well we did as Stoics. This exercise can be made more formal by actually writing up our assessment in a journal. The one obvious benefit from doing this formally is that we can review our past efforts, and being able able to flick back thru days, weeks and months of entiries we may be able to gain a better insight into how our progress can be improved.
                     
                    Better still would be having to read our journal entries to a critical audience! If we knew we would have to do this, the next time we were about to be overcome by a disturbing emotion, or about to reveal by our actions that we valued an indifferent thing as if it were really good, we might be better able to correct ourselves before the deed is done.
                     
                    The more we practise this, the more we will make it a habit.
                     
                    Live with honour,
                     
                    Keith
                    Visit the Stoic Foundation
                    http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
                     
                     
                     
                     
                  • pdlanagan
                    ... progress in the intervening weeks. ... Keith, Yes, I have found that with practice it is becoming easier to exercise self control and avoid frustration. I
                    Message 9 of 9 , Sep 16, 2002
                      --- In stoic_practice@y..., "Keith Seddon" <k.h.s@b...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hopefully you have been able to secure at least a degree of
                      progress in the intervening weeks.
                      >

                      Keith,

                      Yes, I have found that with practice it is becoming easier to
                      exercise self control and avoid frustration. I have been doing quite
                      a bit of reading: Hadot's Inner Citadel, Long's new book on
                      Epictetus, and at the moment I am a short way into the Discourses. I
                      am mindful of Epictetus' admonishment that it is important to put
                      stoicism into practice and not just study itas a theoretical
                      philosophy.

                      > For one thing, don't try to do too much all at once.

                      Thanks for the encouragement and practical advice. I think you are
                      right in saying that dealing wiht the small things helps prepare for
                      dealing with the large things.

                      A journal is an excellent way of practicing, but I have trouble
                      making regular entries. I have split my journal in two, one on the
                      computer and the other in a notebook. This is not really satisfactory
                      and I must decide which one I will maintain.

                      I find there is a tension in practicing the discipline of desire
                      while avoiding an attitude of resignation. Hadot mentions this
                      problem in his book, saying that when we play dice we can't control
                      how the dice fall, but that nevertheless we must play the game
                      skillfully. Perhaps in life this comes down to self-awareness: we
                      must be aware of why we are taking any action, so that if we meet
                      with opposition we can decide if we should continue to pursue our aim
                      or just to be resigned to fate and practice the discipline of desire.

                      I have found that membership of a community service group is an
                      excellent way of practising the discipline of impulse. My particular
                      group is Lions International, but others would include Rotary, Apex
                      etc. For me, these non-sectarian groups, which are dedicated to
                      serving the community, align very closely with the stoic impulse to
                      serve the community and act in accordance with human nature.

                      Regards,

                      Paul
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