Thu, Aug 19|
Desire and Attachment, Level 2 Event
Detachment from externals and from those things which tether us unreasonably or immoderately is a central strategy to deter the passions and remain virtuous – wise, courageous, just, and temperate. We host an open discussion on the theory and in what ways we have personally experienced this.
Time & Location
Aug 19, 2021, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM GMT+2
About the Event
Greetings fellow Stoics!
Today we're hosting a discussion on the Stoic art of detaching oneself from desire and practicing aversion. In many ways the advice the Stoics gave is similar to that in Buddhism or Taoism. But it wasn't an assumption to ward off desire and detach oneself from external wants. Instead, for the Stoics this was a logical conclusion from their other more fundamental principles: that the dichotomy of control necessarily implies we have only control ultimately over our actions, thoughts, and behaviors, that because external objects of our desire are not directly under our control and we can never really ensure our expectations without a degree of uncertainty, we must detach ourselves from expecting our desires completely. The author Bill Irvine suggests that for Stoics, this implies we must, whenever we set ourselves goals, internalize our goals within the limits of our capabilities. We may strive to write and sell a book, but that is the only part of the process within our power; we may work with our publisher to market the book, but after its release we have no way of controlling how readers will receive it nor any way of ensuring people end up buying it.
We also discuss the difference between attachment and preference, a key Stoic dichotomy which results from their observation that while we must treat all externals as indifferent, there's a distinction between preferred and dispreferred indifferents, and perhaps those which we neither prefer nor disprefer. However, when discussing these concepts it's also important to dispel common myths associated with the Stoic concepts of apathy and indifference because of their modern connotations.
Lastly, we will of course be discussing how best to practice the Stoic art of detachment or aversion and how we have experienced these principles first hand.
This is a level 2 event, which means you must be familiar with some basic Stoic concepts and have some experience living Stoicism already in order to feel comfortable in this discussion. Please consult the details on what level 2 means here: https://www.berlinstoics.com/event-organization. However, anyone can attend.
There are various resources we ask you to use to get familiar with the topic at hand. You don't have to become an expert, just familiarize yourself with some of the texts published on the topic. I won't link blogs or general summaries this time around. If you prefer those, please conduct your own research. The following two sources are academic publications or university essays which will give you us a detailed introduction.
- The Meaning of Detachment in Daoism, Buddhism, and Stoicism by David B. Wong
- The Emotional Life of the Wise by John M. Cooper
Keep in mind that our current book of the month does a great job of discussing these concepts within the first few chapters. You can also post further recommended reading on the topic or related topics in our discussion forum: https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/recommendations/detachment.
Today's discussion will run 1.5 hours. We don't partition the time, but we will always connect the theory to practice. Please submit specific prompts you would like discussed either here in our forum https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/weekly-prompts/august-19-2021-detachment-prompts or in our Telegram group chat (more on this below). You can submit yours right up until the start of the event and the facilitator, Steve, will select a few to cover.
A couple of words: (1) If you haven't already, you can join our Telegram discussion group and our announcements channel by contacting us with your cell number and we'll add you. (2) The link to this event will be active between 20 and 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!