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Stoics Care Conference

The first Stoics Care Conference was held on April 23, 2022. The event included Stoics from all over the world--scholars, teachers, community volunteers, and people from all walks of life–who are committed to helping others. We learned about the theoretical basis for social and environmental care in Stoicism. We heard practical advice to improve our lives and communities. We experienced a keynote address from Donald Robertson, talks on compassion, sustainability, self care, and more. 

The entire Stoics Care conference is available for viewing in the video above. See the conference program below. 

Conference Program 

 

10:00     Brittany Polat & Adam Piercey - Welcome & Introduction

 

10:15     Will Johncock - Caring for the Self by Caring for Others

Stoic philosophy is fundamentally preoccupied with social or communal ends and our codependent natures. I accordingly intend to discuss how for the Stoics our thoughts and actions must primarily direct toward interests and outcomes that serve other people and our communities, not simply toward what seems to benefit us personally. Stoicism holds that it is only by being conscious of our connections with other people and the world around us, and by living in service of those connections, that we can experience any personal wellbeing from the philosophy. The insight we will here raise is that to care for the self via Stoic philosophy requires firstly caring for what is shared and kindred between ourselves and others.

 

10:45     Meredith Kunz - Compassionate Stoicism

Compassion and Stoicism—inexhaustible inner resources that anyone can cultivate—are extremely powerful when combined. Both offer time-tested ways of coping with pain, loss, and disappointment, and both emphasize our common humanity. When you become a compassionate Stoic, you can grow the strength within to support others during tough times and to “be there” for yourself, no matter what you encounter. Compassionate Stoicism can help you fight emotional burnout, create more satisfying relationships, build a sense of resilience, and stay motivated despite setbacks. It’s also a great approach to share with kids and teens, who can learn to be compassionate towards others and can benefit from a healthy dose of self-compassion in today's competitive world.

 

11:15     Quick Shares 

Short presentations from Stoics in all walks of life who care for others in a personal or professional role. Areas of interest include the legal profession, prison work, parenting, teaching, mentoring, volunteering, and neurodiversity.

  • Andy Small - prison work 

  • David Press - neurodiversity

  • Kellys Rodriguez - community volunteering

  • Kevin Murphy - legal profession 

  • Leah Goldrick - parenting

  • Nona Maiorano - mentoring

  • Ryan Racine - teaching 

 

11:45     Break

 

12:00     StoicDan - Guided Meditation

12:15     Kai Whiting - The Environment as a Circle of Concern

In 2018 Kai Whiting, Leonidas Konstantakos, and other colleagues introduced the “environment” or “Earth” to Hierocles' circles of concern. In his presentation for Stoics Care, Kai will briefly discuss why he and his team introduced the circle into Stoic philosophy, the Stoic theological basis for doing so and what it means for our Stoic journey. Kai will also propose some practical tips and advice to consider as we strive to look after people, animals, plants, and the planet in a virtuous and sustainable manner.

 

12:45     Paul Wilson - Stoic Self Care: Using Ancient Philosophy to Boost Your Wellbeing

Stoic philosophy is one of the oldest forms of self-care. It offers timeless perspectives and simple practices that help us lead positive, purposeful lives, even during times of great uncertainty and rapid change. This talk is for anyone interested in adding a new dimension to their self-care knowledge and boosting their wellbeing, through a combination of ancient wisdom and modern science. 


1:30       Donald Robertson (Keynote) - Stoicism, Love, & Friendship

How can we care about others while remaining emotionally resilient? Donald will discuss what the Stoics would mean by caring for others and how this relates to the larger themes of love and friendship in their philosophy.


2:15       Brittany Polat & Adam Piercey - Closing

 

 

Organizer Information

 

The Stoics Care conference was a collaboration between Stoicare, Modern Stoicism, and The Stoic Fellowship, in affiliation with The Aurelius Foundation and Stoics in Action.

Conference Organizer: Brittany Polat

Conference Hosts: Brittany Polat & Adam Piercey

Technical Director: Phil Yanov

Special thanks to Greg Sadler for assisting with video compilation

Speaker Bios

Adam Piercey is an engineering technologist living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, working in the industrial, medical, and space industries. Adam has been implementing Stoic practice into his career for over 8 years, has authored articles on Stoic practice, and is also the host of the Modern Stoicism Podcast, the official podcast of Modern Stoicism.

Andy Small joined HM Prison Service in 1992 as a Prison Officer, aged 21. Since 2002 he has worked as a physical education officer at HM Young Offender Institute Huntercombe. Andy first became interested in Stoic philosophy as a modality to help a friend. He later developed a 16 session Stoic philosophy course for prisoners which commenced at Huntercombe in 2016. The course and Stoic teachings have helped hundreds of prisoners cope with their time in prison and after release. The course has been adopted by other prisons in the estate.

Brittany Polat, Ph.D., is a writer and researcher on Stoicism as a way of life. She is co-founder of Stoicare, a nonprofit which seeks to establish the usefulness of Stoicism in caring roles and professions around the world. She is also a steering committee member of Modern Stoicism and a board member of The Stoic Fellowship. Read her thoughts on moral psychology and humanist Stoicism at Living in Agreement.

Dan Lampert (StoicDan) is the organizer of 7 philosophy meetups, including Orlando Stoics. He is also a public speaker on Stoicism, Minimalism, and American Transcendentalism, and he often connects these topics with civil discourse, common ground, and women in philosophy. He's presented at 5 Stoicon conferences and interviewed 16 Stoic scholars for the Stoic Fellowship quarterly newsletter. His YouTube channel is 'StoicDan' and contains 200+ philosophy videos.

David Press lives with his family in Bloomington, Indiana. He is working on a book about how comic books and philosophy helped him through life with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Anxiety and Depression. He uses his Stoic practice to work with developmentally disabled adults and teenagers as a mental health Skills Clinician. A lifelong New Yorker, he taught writing at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks and has published fiction, nonfiction, and comic books with journals and organizations like The Alembic, North Country Living, and The National Science Foundation. You can find out more about him at davidpress.net

Donald Robertson is a writer, cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, trainer, and founder of Plato's Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. He specializes in teaching evidence-based psychological skills, and is known as an expert on the relationship between modern psychotherapy (CBT) and classical Greek and Roman philosophy. Donald is the author of many books and articles on philosophy, psychotherapy, and psychological skills training, including How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. His forthcoming graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, will be released in June 2022.

Kai Whiting is a Stoicism and sustainability researcher and university lecturer based at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He is also the co-author of Being Better: Stoicism for a World Worth Living In. In Being Better and elsewhere he discusses how we might approach many contemporary issues, including education, socioeconomic inequality, and climate breakdown, from a Stoic perspective. Kai aims to make Stoicism accessible to everyone interested in a living a life worthy of being lived, regardless of socioeconomic background, nationality, political or religious belief.

Kellys A. Rodríguez is founder of Stoa Madrid, a school for Stoic Philosophy and Applied Ethics in Spain. Since 2018 she has coordinated and facilitated activities to promote the study and practice of Stoicism in the Spanish-speaking world. Kellys has organized more than 500 meetings and talks on Stoic philosophy, as well as social volunteering activities. Over the last three years Stoa Madrid has brought together an active group of people in constant cultivation and practice of the cardinal virtues.

Kevin C. Murphy is the President of Murphy Jones APC, a boutique law firm dedicated to protecting professional license holders (such as doctors, nurses, teachers, and real estate professionals) in professional license disciplinary actions, in both California and Nevada. Most recently, Kevin founded StoicAttorneys.com to establish a forum for legal professionals to dialogue and collaborate about issues impacting a law practitioner’s character, quality of life and happiness, given the unique challenges of representing clients’ interests while adhering to the four Stoic virtues.

 

Leah Goldrick is a librarian, writer and editor. She holds dual BA degrees in Philosophy and History, and an MLIS degree from Rutgers University. She became interested in Stoicism from her ongoing inquiry into the Western wisdom traditions. She is also a wife and a mother of two children. Her website is Common Sense Ethics.

Meredith A. Kunz is a writer and editor who has worked in journalism, higher education, and the technology industry. In 2016, she created The Stoic Mom blog (www.thestoicmom.com), exploring the many ways that caregivers and kids can benefit from practicing Stoic life philosophy. She is a contributing editor for The STOIC magazine and has shared her writing, talks, and interviews on the Stoicism Today blog, podcasts, NPR-affiliate radio, and conferences. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and master’s degree from Stanford University. Follow her on Twitter @thestoicwoman.

Nona Maiorano is the Secretary of New England Stoics and runs a monthly Woman's Philosopher's Cafe through Meetup.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology as well as a minor in Philosophy.  Her life's work and legacy is training, teaching, and mentoring through the art of dressage (of which she is FEI qualified) and encouraging the personal best of self carriage in humans as well as horses. At present she is a Freelance Instructor who travels throughout New England and also is the Resident Instructor at Broad Places LLC in Rehoboth, MA.  

Paul Wilson is a former head of community mental health services and strategic lead for the prevention of mental health issues and the promotion of wellbeing in disadvantaged communities. One of his mental health services won a national award while others were recognised in the UK parliament. Paul now works as the head of staff wellbeing at a UK university, where he promotes preventative practice, psychological safety, self-care and a culture of wellbeing. Stoicism is his preferred form of self-care.  

Ryan Racine is a high school school teacher and college instructor from Canada. He received his Masters of Arts in English in 2017 and has published in magazines such as PACEThe Ekphrastic Review, and University Affairs. His first book, The Stoic Teacher: Ancient Mind Hacks to Help Educators Foster Resiliency, Optimism, and Inner Calm, will be released by Alphabet Publishing in the coming year.

Will Johncock (PhD) is the author of the books Stoic Philosophy and Social Theory (2020), and Naturally Late: Synchronization in Socially Constructed Times (2019). His forthcoming book Beyond the Individual: Community and Collectivism in Stoic Philosophy explores how Stoicism is a philosophy concerned with what is shared and interconnected between us all, and that prioritizes our roles in social and collective outcomes. He has lectured at UNSW Sydney. Contact via www.willjohncock.com or w.johncock@unsw.edu.au.

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