Sat, Apr 03


Stoicism & Relationships

We draw from our knowledge on the passions, the Stoic mind and Stoic discipline, and peer deeper into Stoic thoughts on how one exercises interpersonal relationships.

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Stoicism & Relationships

Time & Location

Apr 03, 2021, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT+2

About the Event

Greetings fellow Stoics!

Today we will dive deeply into relationships and interpersonal connections. What did the Stoics think of human interpersonal relationships like friendship, family, (romantic) love, or sexual desire? How did they treat their own relationships to shed light on how they thought we should be exercising our efforts to forge interpersonal relationships? How can we place all of this in a modern context and ultimately what is our, as Berlin Stoics or Stoics in the 21st century, position on all this?

In our last few meetups we introduced and reviewed the passions, Stoic discipline and their metaphysical and psychological conception of the mind, and how we can use CBT and Stoic methods to ward off the passions, practice the virtues, and ultimately attain ataraxia. We drawn from this knowledge and experience and we add to our discussion a discovery of what Stoics traditionally think of relationships in general. Perhaps the best read I can find on this topic is actually an article which compares and contrasts the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies on friendship and love, found here:

Another nice few articles on Stoicism and relationships include a short piece from Daily Stoic and few articles covering Hierocles' Circles:

Epictetus wrote on these topics and from his Discourses, especially Books I and II, are where Stoicism derives most of its philosophy on human interpersonal relationships. You can find his works here:

You can also post further recommended reading on the topic or related topics in our discussion forum, with the hashtag #onanger here:

For today's forum we will run the two hours as a discussion of theory and application. We don't partition the time, but we will always connect the theory to practice. Please submit Leitfragen/prompts you would like discussed either here in our forum or in our Telegram group chat (more on this below). You can submit yours right up until the start of the meet and Steve will select a few to cover.

And continue practicing! Catch yourself whenever you become overwhelmed by an emotion or some passionate or emotional reaction. Especially anger as this is our point of discussion. And then:

  1. Reflect on your passion, that it is just a judgment, an opinion and nothing else external to you which you cannot control, that it is within your power to dictate that passion;
  2. Contemplate the sage, meditate on how the ideal Stoic – they who are perfectly wise, just, courageous, and tempered – would react and act in your situation;
  3. Reflect on why you are feeling the way you are. A note about this third one: do not overthink the cause of your passion, do not focus or ruminate so much on it that you become distressed about it.
  4. A helpful tip for doing this activity is to write while you do this, keep a daily journal to meditate on these more.
  5. Lastly, remember that not all emotions are passions. Some emotions the Stoics had allowed. Read which states: "Not all the psychological conditions we now call emotions or feelings will be found in the classes of passion below. You will not find the good feelings of the sage there: wish, caution, and joy. You will not find the preliminary impressions or pre-emotions (propatheia) to which even the wise person is subject. You will not find eros (sometimes translated as "sexual love," but in the wise person it does not include a desire for intercourse). Nor will you find physical pleasure or physical pain. These two phenomena are not passions according to the Stoa; they are indifferent values; the former is in accord with nature and the latter is contrary to nature."

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 posted between 20 and 10 minutes ahead of the start time, and we use 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.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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