Welcome to a free group for Stoicism in CT: Zenonians. Originally, the Stoics were called
Zenonians. Stoicism was the dominant philosophy of life in Greece and Rome, spanning some 500 years. It remains relevant to life today.
The gesture of holding a clenched fist with the left hand was used by Zeno of Citium — the founder of Stoicism — to represent knowledge (Cicero, The Academics, 2.145); this gesture was the logo of our group.
Zenonians was open to the public, and no prior knowledge of Stoicism was required. A variety of events were offered, including seminars, literature reviews, practicums, and philosophical walks. This group was a wonderful way to connect with others interested in this philosophy of life, of living in accord with nature.
This webpage tells the history of this small group that was active throughout the summer of 2019.
The most recent events are listed first.
What we do in life echoes in eternity.
How despicable a creature is man, unless he rise above the earth! What great thing can we do as long as we have to wrestle with our passions? Even if we prevail, we but conquer monsters. What cause have we to esteem ourselves because we are not quite so bad as the very worst? I can see no great reason for self-satisfaction because one’s strength is rather above the average of those in the same hospital.
Then is it wisdom, as it seems to me,
But they believe that the wise man neither mis-sees nor mishears nor, generally, makes a mistake when using any of his sense organs; for they believe that each of these depends on false assent. Nor does the wise man make conjectural interpretations, for a conjectural interpretation is in the class of assent to something which is not grasped. Nor do they suppose that the sensible man changes his mind, for changing one’s mind depends on false assent one had previously made a mistake. Nor does he change in any respect or shift his position or err. For all of these are characteristic of those who change their doctrines, and that is alien to the sensible man…— Arius Didymus cited by Stobaeus, Anthology, 2.7.11m.
physics as a spiritual exercise,a contemplation of the wider universe and our tiny place within it:
To watch the courses of the stars as if you revolved with them. To keep constantly in mind how the elements alter into one another. Thoughts like this wash off the mud of life below.— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.47
For this body of ours is a weight upon the soul and its penance; as the load presses down the soul is crushed and is in bondage, unless philosophy has come to its assistance and has bid it take fresh courage by contemplating the cosmos, and has turned it from things earthly to things divine.— Seneca, Epistle XCIX.
Zeno’s definition, then, is this:A perturbation’ (which he calls a [Greek: pathos])— Zeno of Citium, cited by Cicero in Tusculan Disputations, 4.6. Note that Cicero translated ‘pathos’ as a perturbation.is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason, and against nature.
If to sail well is good and to sail badly is bad, then to sail is neither good nor bad. And if to live well is good, and to live badly is bad, then to live is neither good nor bad.— Chrysippus.
what is to be chosen, avoided, and neither.Seneca (Epistle 87.29) wrote that
Temperance knows that the best measure of the appetites is not what you want to take, but what you ought to take.Ought we to take cherries? Why?
The gods, we may assume, need no proof of anything inasmuch as nothing to them lacks clearness or is obscure, and it is only in reference to obscurity that there is any need of proof. Man, however, must needs seek to find out that which is not plain nor self-evident through the medium of the plain and obvious. That is the function of proof. Take for example the proposition that pleasure is not a good. At first sight we do not recognize it as true, since in fact pleasure appeals to us as a good. But starting from the generally accepted premise that every good is desirable and adding to it a second equally accepted that some pleasures are not desirable, we succeed in proving that pleasure is not a good: that is we prove the unknown or unrecognized by means of the known or recognized. Or again, that toil is not an evil is not on the face of it a persuasive proposition, while its opposite, that toil is an evil, seems much more persuasive. But starting from the known and accepted premise that every evil is a thing to be avoided, and adding to it another obvious one, namely that many forms of toil are not in the category of things to be avoided, we conclude that toil is not an evil.
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