Published by and for New Stoa, the
Stoic community, since May 2007
Stoicus communitas : Stoikos koinoniaa
October 2010: Issue #36
Staff writers: Guillaume Andrieu and Chris Krause / Editor: Erik Wiegardt
New Stoa News
This month . . . . we have 22 new members and are fast-approaching the 400 member mark. The Registry
Report has done its part in this accomplishment. You will see how in the editorial that follows the New
Sumaira Ashraf (1988- ) is a Student in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. “I really want to practice Stoic
philosophy. It will be a great help to me to fix my life and look for deeper meaning to life. This will help me
to let go of things that are beyond my control, and I am hoping I will learn self control and to be reasonable.”
John Bruce (1954- ) is a Lawyer in Wisconsin, USA. “I've known of Stoicism for many years. In about the last
10 years, though, I've come to appreciate it as a way of life.”
Jelle Dikken (1979- ) writes from The Netherlands, “Stoic philosophy is my way of life.”
Ryan Ferguson (1990- ) is a Student in the US who writes, “I had always been a critical thinker, but after
spending years and years trying to perfect my own ethics and judgments about nature, I've finally found a
philosophy that had already established my ideas with words better than my own: Stoicism. I just discovered
Stoicism, but I've practiced it, unknowingly, for years.”
Kimberly Hickey (1969- ) is in Government Service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. “I found a book on
Epictetus in my father's library when I was 14. I bought my own later in my teens, and I've always returned to
it during times of turbulence in my life. It was often one of the only reasonable things around during those
Brian Kilgore (1952- ) Somersworth, New Hampshire, USA.
Mark Lechevet (1960- ) is in Supply Chain Management in Buffalo, New York. "[I read] A Guide to the Good
Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William Irvine, mentioned in Derek Sivers blog. Read the Wikipedia page,
and before long realized I have always been a Stoic."
Johnnie Knapp (1972- ) works in Tech Support in Anchorage, Alaska. “I started studying Stoic philosophy
about 4 years ago.”
Phillip McKay (1969- ) is an Artist, Youth Worker, and Philosopher living in Australia. “Stoic Philosophy has my
attention. It is perhaps always inviting when you meet yourself.”
John Moses (1969- ) writes from New York City. “I started reading Stoic philosophy when I picked up Marcus
Aurelius's Mediations back in 2000 after seeing the "Gladiator" movie. I also was studying eastern philosophy
for ten years (Taoism and Buddhism). Stoicism is Taoism with the Ethics to me. A mix of East and West, a
Patrick Murphy (1954- ) is an Attorney and Adjunct Faculty in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. “I was born a Stoic,
at least from what I was told. Self-discipline and examination, honor, ethics, virtue, all were important to me
from an early age. When I discovered Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius in college I was hooked. Even
Bruno Bauer, my favorite obscure hero, was a Stoic of sorts.”
Justin Olsen (1978- ) is a Systems Engineer in Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania, USA. “I discovered Stoicism through
a quote by Marcus Aurelius which was posted on my friend's Facebook page. After reading through
Meditations and other various works, I found that I was already following a path very similar to the Stoics.”
Thomas Parrish (1969- ) is a Network Engineer living in Vancouver, Washington, USA. “I saw an episode of
Law and Order many years ago that included a reference to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. I looked and found
something that works for me.”
Anatolie Porojan (1983- ) is in Banking, Insurance, and Finance in Chisinau, Moldova. “I learned about
Stoicism back in high school, but it was a brief experience since I was more interested in girls than in studying
philosophy. As time passed and I grew wiser, I stumbled upon William B Irvine's book, A Guide to the Good Life
that hooked me. Stoicism, it seems, is mirroring my own ideas and reflections about how I should live my life
to achieve durable fulfillment.”
Jonathan Roberts (1961- ) is an Oncologic, Endocrine & General Surgeon in the City of Jefferson, Missouri,
USA. “It started with Epictetus. The Enchiridion and Arrian's Discourses pretty much cured a bout of
depression. They are a fascinating window into the intellectual milieu of the Roman Empire at the time. It's
obvious, reading Epictetus, that Paul wasn't original as I had been taught in Sunday School, but rehashed ideas
that were already around at the time.”
Thomas Rounds (1980- ) works in the Health Care field in Wamego, Kansas, USA. “I was introduced to
Stoicism through friend who served in the military and found it useful back in 2000.”
Victor Tirumalai (1967- ) is an “Aspiring Patent Agent” in Chicago, Illinois, USA. “I was born into a Hindu
Brahmin family in India. I rebelled against the Caste System in India and do not consider myself a practicing
Hindu anymore. While searching for a more inclusive brand of philosophy of life I was initially attracted to
Reform Judaism. I went through the conversion classes and have been seriously considering converting. But
what I was still looking for was a version of philosophy of life removed from religious consideration. I
discovered Stoicism recently after reading Irving. I found this group on Google, and here I am.”
Robbin Trumble (1957- ) is a Psychotherapist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. “I facilitate groups for
soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, focusing on resiliency and post traumatic growth. I
have been introducing these young men to Stoic Philosophy (from a limited knowledge base) and want to learn
more so these groups will be more effective.”
Brett Wheat-Simms (1975- ) is a Project Manager for Sodexo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. “I've been a
practicing Stoic for about 10 years and am striving each day to live out 'a life according to Nature' as best I
Michael Yonkers (1950- ) is a Marketing Executive in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA. “I had been a Zen Buddhist
practitioner for several years. While I found that practice worthwhile, I was always looking for ways in which
Zen Buddhism connected with Western thought and culture. When I reread Marcus Aurelius, the light bulb
went on! Ditto for Epictetus and Seneca. Stoicism seems to articulate (at least for me) many of the insights
of Zen in a way I found most understandable and approachable.”
Christina Zeek (1978- ) is a Student and Mother in Lake Forest, California. “I discovered Stoic philosophy
through an art history course. We were studying an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. My professor
described his gaze as "stoic". I didn't know what that meant, so I Googled it! I went and bought Marcus
Aurelius' Meditations and was hooked. Stoic philosophy has gotten me through the death of my husband,
breakups, school stress and personal issues. I love it.”
Tom Zamora (1957- ) is an Electrical Designer and Professional Golfer residing in Midlothian, Virginia, USA. “I
always thought of myself as stoic. In looking up a more definitive explanation, I found the Stoic philosophy. It
has been less than a week now since my first finding on Wikipedia. I don't recall or ever hearing about
Stoicism. Most of the Stoic philosophies I am reading about are pretty much how I am currently living my life.
Upon finding this website, it appears I can develop and nurture my Stoicism.”
Spotlight on the Registry Report
“The Great Awakening”
a final editorial by Erik Wiegardt
In MAY of 2007, I wrote an email to all members of our Stoic community. We
had barely 100 members listed in the Registry, but only 36 had email
addresses that were still valid. I was concerned. After eleven years, was
that all the active members we had remaining? What happened here? As an
organization we were not healthy and growing; we were dying. This is an
excerpt of what I wrote to the 36 addresses I had:
As a tribe, the Piraha natives of the Amazon are described as being nearly
extinct. They have between 250 and 350 members, depending on who's
counting, and their numbers are decreasing. That's more than twice the
membership of our tribe, the Stoic community, and our numbers are also
decreasing. So, can we be described as being even more nearly extinct;
Erik Wiegardt, Editor and, does that really matter? Do we care?
The Stoic community was founded on 08 MAY 96, eleven years ago. After an enthusiastic beginning, the
years went by, and fewer new Stoics came to be counted. Then, gradually, many drifted away — about a
third, maybe more. I stopped counting. . . .
At one time or another I've communicated with each member. Some of you returned my e-mails; some
did not. Based upon eleven years of experience, I've come to believe that most contemporary Stoics just
prefer to be left alone. I could be wrong. It may just be that no one has directly asked you what you
want. What do you want? What does the Stoic community need to grow and be strong? Please don't just
ignore this question. Let me know what you think, and I will pass your suggestion(s) along to the other
members in a follow-up e-mail.
Of the 36 emails sent, nine members responded. Just nine. Six of these gave suggestions, one had no
suggestion, one told me to advertise his company, and one requested his name be removed from the
Registry. Now we had 35. Of those who gave suggestions the most common was for an e-mail newsletter.
I sent out another email asking if anyone would volunteer to write our newsletter. No one answered, and
that's how I became the founding Editor of the Registry Report.
After more than three years and 36 issues published, I have decided to retire as Editor. A new staff will
be coming in and taking over the very next issue. The new Editor will be Guillaume Andrieu, a bright
young man from the south of France. You probably read the interview he wrote in the last issue, and you
may also remember the interview I wrote about him in last April's issue (#30). He is certainly well
qualified: he has a Master's Degree in Scientific Journalism from the University of Paris VII and is a recent
graduate of our College of Stoic Philosophers. You will like him. But, I'm not going to write any more
about the new staff.
As always, I have another matter that is burning hotly before me. Actually, it's the same one I wrote
about in May of 2007. We have nearly 400 members today, but there is so much more to be done. There
are so many more people we need to reach. And you can help. I have a radical proposal for you, my final
request as Editor of your eMagazine, a way that you can get involved in increasing our membership even
more, and it was inspired by what I suspect may be a new form of advertising.
a brilliant idea
A few days ago, I received a forwarded email, marked urgent, from a member of my family. It was about
a new product, Bayer Crystal Aspirin. I'd never heard of it. Have you? Apparently we are supposed to take
two of these so-called crystal aspirin at the first signs of a heart attack. The email went on to say that I
should drop everything and go buy two bottles, one for my night stand and one for my car's glove
compartment, then I should forward this great information to ten people I know. Right now!
My first thought was that Bayer had hit upon a brilliant advertising campaign to promote a new kind of
aspirin. By harnessing the power of the Internet, the whole world could be made aware of their new
product in a day. Virtually free. (Some might even go out and buy two bottles as recommended.) You and
I would do the work for them—sending their urgent promo to ten people we know, then those people
would send it to ten people they know, and so on, and on. Brilliant.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Let's do it! We now have nearly four times as many members in the
Stoic community as we had just three years ago, but we should have 40 X 4. Isn't our philosophy even
better than a couple of aspirin? Classical Stoics always said Stoicism was medicine for the human soul.
What Bayer produces to alleviate pains in the body, we offer to alleviate pains in the heart and mind.
What could be more urgent?
We can do this! Right now, cut and paste the following message and send it to 10 people in your email
address book. Send it to your local media—newspaper, TV, radio. Or do both. We can tell the whole
Internet World about Stoic philosophy in a day. Let's do this together. Think of it as a Christo artistic
event, a Burning Man Celebration, or the Great Stoic Awakening. Do it now. Right now! Cut and paste the
following and send it out into the world. Where you send it is up to you. Fate will do the rest.
SUBJECT: The Great Awakening
For 2300 years a small number of us have known about the greatest living philosophy in the history of the
world: Stoicism. But after the downfall of the Roman Empire fewer and fewer heard about our
philosophy, and those who had heard of it were usually misinformed by our detractors. No more! This is a
worldwide event, a great awakening to the true meaning and value of Stoic philosophy, the philosophy to
live by for everyman—and every woman.
The foundation of your life should be based upon a great philosophy, one that has withstood millenia. It
should be the rudder that guides you in every momentous moment you will encounter. Stoic philosophy
does just that. It gives you the reasons for your greatness as a human being. And, it is never outdated or
unreasonable because it is based upon our motto: Live in agreement with Nature.
Please help us with this Great Awakening by forwarding this email to 10 friends or to your local media.
We are not asking you to become a Stoic, just to know that we exist and what we believe. You don't have
to agree or disagree. That's not the point. We just want everyone in the Internet world to know we exist
and where they can find out more about us. If they want to. We are the original and oldest Stoic
community, and we can be found at www.newstoa.com.
Won't you please help us with our Great Awakening event by forwarding this email to 10 friends or
relatives and/or to your local media. It will cost you nothing; it will only take a few minutes of your
time; and, you will have taken a stand for freedom of speech and thought and belief and nature.
The community of New Stoa.
Thank you, readers. It has been an honor and a privilege to be your editor, and most of the time it was a
lot of fun.