Fruits of the Forest

Thanks to everyone who got up for 10.30am on a Monday morning  to talk about the Life of the Stoic at Forest Hill Library. What I didn’t tell you is that I realised on the bus there that I’d left all my notes and the hand-outs at home. Luckily I’d also emailed them to myself, but then it turned out that the public computers had all gone down temporarily, and for a moment I wondered if the Fates were conspiring against me.

Forest Hill Library

Forest Hill Library

What this provided me with was an excellent opportunity to ask the question, what would Epictetus have done? What I’m sure he would not do is to complain about it. For a start, a slave at birth, he would have suffered far worse than a little anxiety over  paperwork. As I mentioned in the session, he was once beaten so badly by his master, that he was crippled for life, and yet could still say, “No one suffers misfortune because of the actions of another” .

His words which have come down to us, give us more than a clue as to how he dealt with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune:

I must die; so must I die groaning too? I must be imprisoned; so must I grieve at that too? I must depart into exile; so can anyone prevent me from setting off with a smile, cheerfully and serenely?

I’ll be posting more about the ideas of the Stoics in the coming days and nights, so do check back. Or, click on the Follow button, to receive an email update every time the page is updated.

Meanwhile, please put any questions or feedback in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

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Stoics in the Library

Epictetus illustration

Our next bibliotherapeutic outing is on Monday 1st September, 10:30am at Forest Hill Library. We will be talking about the Stoic philosophers, especially Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. In particular the session will look at their ethical ideas: what makes a life goes well.

The session is hosted by the Lively Minds group, aimed at people aged 55+. But if you’re younger in body as well as in spirit, I’m sure they won’t ID check you! No previous knowledge required. Just bring your curiosity and willingness to question your own assumptions. Oh, and your library card if you have one.

Admission Free

Monday 1 September 10.30AM to 12 noon  

Forest Hill Library

Forest Hill Library
Dartmouth Road
London SE23 3HZ

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