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Frequently Asked Questions About Stoicism

What is Stoicism?

Stoicism is a philosophy that harmonizes every area of human life with the laws of Nature. Through the Virtues of Wisdom, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude, the individual feels and is able to utilize the very forces of Nature itself. Stoicism teaches the individual how to transform negative emotions into positive ones, how to deal with all situations with grace and competence, and how to enjoy rewarding friendships on all levels. It is the only way to know thyself.

Was Cicero a Stoic?

No. Cicero made it clear that he was not a Stoic. However, he is often thought to be a Stoic because he accurately wrote a great deal about Stoicism. We honor Cicero for his praiseworthy efforts to faithfully explain Stoic ideas to non-Stoics. It is praiseworthy and rare to find a man who faithfully follows audi alteram partem (hear the other side).

Is Stoicism emotionless?

No. Stoicism is the key to changing negative emotions into positive ones. Natural emotions are supposed to give you tremendous power to benefit yourself and those you love. Unfortunately, non-Stoics often find the tremendous power of their own emotions turned against themselves. This does harm to their mind, psyche, and body. Stoicism is the most effective and the most efficient way to transform your destructive emotions into emotions that Nature intended you to experience so you can wield the tremendous power of your emotions to benefit yourself and those around you. Learn how to benefit yourself from 23 centuries of accumulated wisdom.

Do I have to go through the Stoic School to be a Stoic?

No and yes. Anybody can learn and practice Stoicism. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius did not graduate from the Stoic School, yet he clearly practiced advanced Stoicism. Even a partially-trained Stoic is better than a person with no Stoic training, and a perfectly-trained Stoic is better than a partially-trained one. For example, the untrained blame others for their problems. The partially-trained blame themselves for their problems. The perfectly-trained blame neither others nor themselves. We have not found perfectly-trained Stoics except those who have benefited from the School.

 

Is the Stoic School really the oldest continuous organization in history?

Yes. The Stoic School was formally founded by Zeno in 300 BC. We have a continuous record of our activities from our founding until today. The leader of the School is the Scholarch. Each Scholarch has received the office directly from the previous Scholoarch in a formal ceremony. In this way, there is a record of the Scholarch Pedigree, or family tree, that traces our School directly back to Zeno the first Scholarch.

Is the Stoic School a "secret society?"

No. Our books, our website, and our public events indicate we are not a secret society. What has caused some confusion to those who have not gone through the School is our rites of initiation and our internal practices. Similar to the mysterious of initiation of many classical organizations and the early age of the Christian Church, it requires a person to actually go through the school to understand what it is like. One example is the Pythagorean School that required a good ability in geometry to understand what they were talking about. Another example is the early Church. In the Orthodox liturgy to this day, the Church recites the dismissal of all catechumens before the final part of the meeting. A final example is modern universities where meetings of the various departments are reserved for staff. Just as in any successful world-wide organization, the Stoic School has developed effective, efficient, and ethical practices since its creation (over 23 centuries ago) that only make sense to those who have practiced them. That is no secret.

What is the Stoic School's connection with Western civilization?

The Stoic School witnessed the birth of Western civilization, and we have been its mentor, tutor, and champion ever since. The Stoic School has been a major force in the development of Western civilization. We know intimately Western civilization and are sworn to train others to continue it and contribute to it, to teach others about its unrivaled excellence, and to defend it against all threats. 

Is it true that high officials of the Stoic School must take an oath of poverty?

Yes. Before assuming an influential office, any member of the School, must make legally binding Oaths, duly witnessed and put in a written contract, of Poverty, Virtue, and Obedience. The Oath of Poverty has proven to be the most effective method of any organization to eliminate bribery, profiteering, and corruption. It is the highest degree of financial scrutiny and transparency that Western civilization has developed as yet, and we are continuously advancing our scrutiny and enforcement in harmony with advancements in technology, law, and international accounting methods.

How are high officials selected?

Those seeking offices in the Stoic School must fulfill our Course of Offices (cursus honorum in Latin). The sequential progression through four offices is the most effective method known to Western civilization to find and elevate individuals of excellent competence and character. The cursus honorum has proven its ability to identify officers of exceptional ability and character in the areas of finances, hospitality, organization, leadership, and judgement. The cursus honorum has also proven its ability to sift out the less competent or less virtuous from consideration for higher office and identify how they can have the greatest happiness in life while benefiting the Nation to the greatest extent possible according to their nature.