Manual of Reformed Stoicism
by Piotr Stankiewicz (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Stoicism has been surging in popularity, for the simple reason that this ancient Greco-Roman philosophy has helped countless people in times of turmoil, social upheaval, or simply with the standard vicissitudes of human existence. However, a philosophy that was first articulated 24 centuries ago may be in need of some kind of update, to take into consideration modern sensitivities, not to mention advancements in both science and philosophy. Piotr Stankiewicz offers just one such update, what he calls "reformed" Stoicism, a term inspired by the similarly intentioned reformed Christianity and Judaism. It's a bold attempt, which will no doubt be controversial and inspire rebuttals, improvements, and alternative offerings. Which has been in the spirit of Stoicism from the very beginning. Philosophies are not judged by whether they are "true," but by whether they are coherent and -- especially -- useful. Let the discussion begin!
Prof. Dr. Massimo Pigliucci
The Graduate Center, CUNY
This book is a manifesto of reformed Stoicism. It proposes a system of life which is bullet-proof, universal, viable and effective in every cosmic setting. It holds in every possible universe, under any government and within any economic system. We can be reformed Stoics no matter what we believe in.
Reformed Stoicism is about enjoying and exercising our agency. In other words, it’s about the flow of making autonomous and right decisions, and about celebrating our ability to make them.
With no reliance on nature, with the recalibration of metaphysical positions, with skepticism towards grand discourses and universal answers, with an emphasis on the usefulness instead of truthfulness of narratives, with no reference to the vanity argument, with criticism of both conservative and ascetic misinterpretations of Stoicism, with an overall softer and more empathic approach, we can no longer be defined by the generic term “Stoicism”. Our time, in short, calls for a fresh interpretation of Stoicism. It is time for a new generation of Stoics. Thus: reformed Stoicism.
Part one. Prime matters
Chapter 1 It’s all about narratives
Chapter 2 Get rid of useless narratives
Chapter 3 Things within and not within our power
Chapter 4 Focus on things within your power
Part two. Here and now or the principles of conduct
Chapter 5 Act deliberately
Chapter 6 Live the present day
Chapter 7 Focus on the present action
Chapter 8 Your lifetime will suffice
Chapter 9 Define proper alternatives
Part three. Do not be afraid!
Chapter 10 Anticipate mishap
Chapter 11 Don’t dwell on counterfactual scenarios
Chapter 12 Don’t desire acclaim
Chapter 13 Adversities are challenges
Chapter 14 Beware of treacherous constancy
Chapter 15 You are never alone
Part four. You in this playground
Chapter 16 There is no point in flouting the rules of a game
Chapter 17 There are other games to play
Part five. Others in this playground
Chapter 18 Be autonomous
Chapter 19 To each their own mistakes
Chapter 20 Don’t ascribe intent
Part six. All else matters
Chapter 21 Whatever the world is like – be a Stoic
Chapter 22 Follow good examples
Chapter 23 Practice regularly
Chapter 24 Be happy – it’s simple
Conclusions and discussions
Piotr Stankiewicz PhD (b. 1983) is a philosopher, author and teacher specializing in Stoicism. He writes in English and in Polish, he is captivated by the idea that Stoicism is not only a school of philosophy from a Classics textbook, but a viable philosophy of life for modern times. Stankiewicz has a background in both philosophy and science. He is a member of the “Modern Stoicism” team, an international network of scholars and authors promoting Stoic philosophy. In 2019 he published another book on Stoicism with Vernon Press – “Does Happiness Write Blank Pages? On Stoicism and Artistic Creativity”. He is based in Warsaw, Poland.
Stoicism, modern Stoicism, neostoicism, poststoicism, philosophy of life, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Musonius Rufus, Old Stoa, Roman Stoics, ethics, virtue ethics, personal development, self help, personal growth, secular spirituality, self-management, good life, stress management, reformed Stoicism, reformed Stoics