Thu, Oct 14|
Book of the Month: James Stockdale
An open discussion on Stockdale's essays on Stoicism and applying Epictetus' principles in times of war and hardship, recounting his experiences as a POW during the Vietnam Civil War.
Time & Location
Oct 14, 2021, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM GMT+2
About the Event
Greetings fellow Stoics!
Today we're hosting our third open review on our Book of the Month series. You can check out the page for our Book Series at https://www.berlinstoics.com/book-series but essentially, each month we recommend one book or a selection of books to read and at the culmination of that month we come together and discuss what we read. The books or texts (sometimes they may be journal articles or others) are focused on Stoicism and related topics.
For this month, we'll be reading a collection of three essays in the public domain by deceased former U.S. fighter jet pilot James Stockdale:
- Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior
- Stockdale on Stoicism I: The Stoic Warrior's Triad
- Stockdale on Stoicism II: Master of My Fate
Stockdale did indeed write a full-length book, but these three essays are freely available online and can allow many of us to access Stoic texts without needing to spend money. Furthermore, this month will be a well-needed reprieve from the usual classical Stoic text and instead focus on someone of modern character who has applied Stoicism in their life. James Stockdale was a fighter jet pilot for the U.S. Navy and while flying as part of a bombing raid over Vietnam during the Civil War, he was hit and went down, becoming a POW. He ultimately survived and ended up living until 81 when he died of Alzheimer's in 2005. He never exhausted himself recounting how his copy of Epictetus's "Enchiridion" stayed with him in his memory during inexplicably harsh trials and tribulations under torture, duress, and unimaginably near-death circumstances. He expounds further on Stoicism and its applications in wartime as well as for those in the world just surviving.
You do not need to have any knowledge or experience with Stoicism before having these essays. Stockdale doesn't assume the reader is an experienced Stoic or academic of any sort. Collectively the essays total more than 60 pages.
A couple of words: (1) If you haven't already, you can join our Telegram discussion group and our announcements channel by messaging the host that you'd like to receive an invitation link. (2) The link to this event will be active between around 10 minutes ahead of the start time, and we use https://meet.jit.si/ for our video conferencing. (3) Lastly, we have recently been streaming our events live on youtube and saving them on file, especially for those who cannot make particular events; at the start of each event, Steve will of course ask if everyone is okay or anyone has a problem with this. Furthermore, we only share recordings afterwards if we reach the threshold of 4 participants (other than the facilitator).
We look forward to seeing you there!