Stoicism is making a comeback, writes Joe Gelonesi, who explores ‘Stoic Week’, a university exercise which challenges participants to apply the advice of the ancient Stoics to their daily lives. Now in its third year, it's an experiment with a growing international following.
Joe Gelonesi at the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Starching the upper lip is back in vogue. Not that it ever went away. Stoicism has gone in and out of fashion since its foundations were laid by the Cypriot Zeno, sometime around 300BCE.
Although the original Hellenic school left few fragments, the great Roman Stoics, via Cicero, did a good deal to grow and magnify the tradition. Much of the modern Stoic urge is based on the ideas of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and the slave-turned sage Epictetus.
The idea of staring down the world in a Stoic glare runs deep in our cultural veins, but its more theory than practice. To adopt an authentic Stoic life amidst the daunting surplus of pleasure and experience in the modern west seems curiously out of tempo. Yet an experiment with a handful of university students has been exported to a global audience seemingly hungry to learn the ways of the Stoic.