Recent essays, #21

Most of my original writings now appear over at Figs In Winter, my Patreon site devoted to practical philosophy. The most recent posts are behind a paywall (monthly subscription levels at $1, $3, and $5), but the majority of the material is free to read. Here are some of the most recent entries:

My first three (Stoic) steps. This past weekend my friend (and co-author) Greg Lopez and I run the fifth edition of Stoic Camp-New York. The general topic was Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations as a guide to Stoic practice. We had 19 students, and discussions were informative and constructive, with people having a great time socializing after sessions. During one of these social evenings I was asked how I got into Stoicism in the first place, so I did a bit of digging into my notes, and even on the internet, to reconstruct my initial steps. The first three are, I think, worth recounting, because they may be helpful to others who have found the Stoic way, or are considering it but are not sure what that entails and how to proceed. (continue to read)

Stoic advice: How do I date a single mom (or dad)? A. writes: I’m a reader of your work and a practitioner of Stoicism (thanks to your last handbook for new Stoics). I recently fell in love with a woman. The ‘thing’ is: she has a child, 8 years old. I wish to be my best with her, so I am seeking advice from a Stoic perspective about this kind of relationship (i.e., dating a single mother). I found some terrible article published by the “red pill” community (of which I knew nothing at the time). They used Stoicism to promote character, but at the same time they urge people not to date a single mom because it’s a trap made by women who cannot assume their own responsibilities. I admit I fell for it, because I was impressed by their apparent knowledge (for a layman like me) of Stoicism. I felt so bad that I talk about it with my girlfriend and I almost broke up with her. I’m into Stoicism, and I try to practice the dichotomy of control, but why then did I panic? Why can’t I enjoy my relationship as a preferred indifferent? Do you have some tips about dating a single mom and cultivating wisdom and virtue at the same time?

Let me start with the basics: it shouldn’t take the might of Stoic philosophy to realize that the red pill community is sick in the soul, and that it is insane to say that “women” spend their time springing traps at the expense of men, because they don’t want to take on their own responsibilities. The misogyny that motivates that sort of “thinking” ought to be obvious. (continue to read)

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

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