Late in his reign, a friend stopped Marcus Aurelius as he was leaving the palace, carrying a stack of books. Finding this to be a surprising sight, the man asked where Marcus was going. He was off to attend a lecture on Stoicism, he said, for “learning is a good thing, even for one who is growing old. From Sextus the philosopher I shall learn what I do not yet know.”
That’s right, even as the most powerful man in the world, Marcus was still taking up his books and heading to class. In fact, Sextus was only one of his philosophy teachers. In Book 1 of Meditations, he lists the names and what he learned from six others, including one from a rival school and another, Rusticus, who Marcus thanks specifically “for introducing me to Epictetus’s lectures—and loaning me his own copy.”
You cannot find a Stoic who did not also treat their study of philosophy with this kind of lifelong seriousness. Zeno washed up in Athens and began studying under Crates, a well-known Athenian philosopher. Then, Cleanthes studied under Zeno, for decades. Cato was famous for his philosophical dinners, where invited the smartest and wisest minds of the ancient world to discuss the big philosophical questions he was struggling with. Even his last meal—before his famous suicide—he was debating the very implications of life and death, good and bad, with such teachers. Epictetus was taught philosophy by Musonius Rufus before becoming a teacher himself, of both the emperor Hadrian (directly) and Marcus Aurelius (indirectly).
Part of being a philosopher is being a lifelong learner. School is never out for summer or spring or winter break. You can never be too old or too good at what you do. No, school is for life. And life is school. Learning is a daily thing, wisdom an endless pursuit. You never arrive, you never fill up, you never graduate. Because the world is always revealing new lessons…even in the oldest texts.
Therefore, Seneca said, there is no one more foolish than one who stops learning. Even if you are one of the best at what you do, Seneca writes, “you should keep learning…to the end of your life.” He then points out one of the great things about learning—something that is overlooked. Wisdom is one of the few certainties in life in the sense that it is one of the few areas of growth we have control of. Money, titles, influence, authority, admiration—these are great but for the most part, they’re out of our control. But wisdom, learning, studying, Seneca says, do not fall upon us by chance. “‘How much progress shall I make?’ you ask. Just as much as you try to make. Why do you wait? Wisdom comes haphazard to no man.”
That’s why we created Stoicism 101: Ancient Philosophy For Your Actual Life!
Stoicism 101: Ancient Philosophy For Your Actual Life is a 14 day course designed to teach you what you do not yet know. Whether you’re a beginner at Stoicism or you’ve been studying it for years, there is something to be gained by getting up and going to “school”—because learning, as Marcus said, is a good thing. And to do that, we’re doing something we haven’t done with any of our past courses. Ryan Holiday—author of The Daily Stoic, Lives of the Stoics, and The Obstacle is the Way, to name a few of his bestselling books—will be your live instructor.
In 5 live video sessions—what we’re calling office hours—you will have the opportunity to learn from Ryan and ask him questions about the lessons thus far. It’s not quite college…but it’s better than reading by yourself.
In 14 custom emails delivered daily (~20,000 words of exclusive content), you’ll also learn about:
[*] The famous Stoics.
[*] The things a Stoic does.
[*] The things a Stoic doesn’t do.
[*] What sets Stoicism apart from other philosophies.
[*] The key components of a Stoic’s ideal day.
[*] The Stoic’s secrets to success
[*] The Stoic’s secrets to resilience
[*] The Stoic’s secrets to productivity
[*] How a Stoic masters their emotions.
And much, much more.
For far less than the tuition to even one “Intro to Philosophy” class at even a community college (to say nothing of the Ivy League!), as a participant in Daily Stoic’s Stoicism 101: Ancient Philosophy For Your Actual Life, you’ll not only learn all you need to know about Stoicism, you’ll learn it from one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life!
Again, this will be a live course. All participants will join the course together and move through together at the same pace.
Registration is now officially open.
Registration will close on Sunday, May 2 at 11:59 PM CST.
And the course will begin on May 3.
We’re really excited about this course. We think it’s going to be one of our best. We hope to have you join us!