I seem to have completely missed it last year, but it seems there is such a thing as a 'Live Like A Stoic' week, and it will take place from the 25th of November, until 1 December. The organizers of the event have created it to encourage everyone who is interested in Stoicism, or who practices it today, to get involved in an event or activity, and help spread the word. Last year, Stoic Week attracted participants in schools, universities and philosophy clubs around the world, and generated articles in the Guardian, Independent, The Philosopher’s Magazine and the Huffington Post. 

Live Like A Stoic Week is an opportunity to to share your philosophical ideology with the world--through any medium available to you--or to attend events, read blogs and books, and do your own research into the subject. If ever you wanted to learn more about Stoicism, or spread the word, the Live Like A Stoic Week is your chance. The organizers have some ideas on how you can participate:

"We’d love it if, once again, Stoic Week events take place all over the world. This could be as simple as organizing a discussion on Stoicism in your local cafe or pub. It could mean local clubs, schools or philosophy departments organizing a debate on a Stoic question or theme, such as ‘can philosophy be a form of therapy?’ or ‘is virtue sufficient for happiness?’ If you’re a teacher or a lecturer, you might get your class to discuss Stoicism and to consider some of the Stoics’ practical techniques for changing our emotions.

We’re organizing a public event in London on Saturday November 30, ‘Stoicism for Everyday Life’. You can find more details here on the event’s website, and book. Places are filling up quickly, so book early so as to avoid disappointment.

It would be great if any bloggers interested in Stoicism used the week as an opportunity to share their own experience of Stoicism. Has it helped you? Do you think it has relevance in modern life? Which ideas or exercises have you found particularly helpful? Write a blog post or make a YouTube video, and be sure to mention Stoic Week and to help spread the word. Send Patrick Ussher or another project member the link, and we’ll share it with our followers.

You can also get involved in our annual study of the practical effects of Stoic techniques and ethics. This year, the handbook will be constructed as a ‘Journey into Stoicism’, which each day focusing on a key Stoic idea and exercises to go with it.  If taking part, fill in the Stoic questionnaire we provide, and send it back to us. You might also want to share your experience more informally via a blog or YouTube video."

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a person of moral and intellectual perfection, would not suffer such emotions. Stoic doctrine was popular with a following in ancient Hellas and throughout the Roman Empire until the closing of all pagan philosophy schools in 529 AD by order of the Emperor Justinian I, who perceived their pagan character as being at odds with the Catholic Christian faith.

Stoicism teaches a very clear core tennet: a person who lives a virtuous life can never be unhappy, as his (or her) happiness is no longer dependent upon outside forces. A person completely happy with themselves cannot be made unhappy by any outside force. In order to reach this level of contentment, Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason.

Stoicism doesn't just teach ethics and virtues but extends into other areas of life, like science and religion. Stoid physics and cosmology are quite destinct, and part of the Stoic school of thought.

I am not a Stoic, although if I had to pick any school of Hellenistic philosophical thought, it would most certainly be Stoicism. I have incorporated much of the school into my life--finding it part of my default character--but am too religious to fully accept the thinking of a school formed from Socrates' ideology. I might join in for at least a part of the week, though, and post about Stoicism at least once in the week to come. If you are interested in Stoicism, I encourage you to start a discussion about it as well on any medium available to you, or to join mine. If you are looking to join the week, there are a few questionares you should fill out, and other preparations to make. Check here for an overview of the required--or at least recommended--preparations.

In the spirit of Stoicism, remember the words of Stoic philosopher Epictetus (Ἐπίκτητος) as you go about your day today: "Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well."