Hadot’s “Active” Stoic Exercises by Anitra Russell - Modern Stoicism - Deepstash

Keep reading for FREE

What Are The Stoic Exercises

The Stoics prescribed the use of “exercises” to strengthen and internalize our intellectual understanding of Stoic precepts, so that we are prepared to meet a range of misfortunes, whether minor irritations or serious adversities, with equanimity. 

This helps us to be more present in the world and to be better prepared to support those we love.

101

538 reads

Hadot's "Active" Three Stoic Exercises

The three exercises are- 

  1. Self Mastery 
  2. Accomplishment of duties 
  3. Indifference to indifferent things 

Hadot describes these as "practical exercises, intended to create habits." These exercises correspond perfectly to Epictetus’ three areas of Stoic practice, known in Stoic commentary as the “three disciplines.”

104

371 reads

1. Self Mastery (enkrateia)

To acheive self mastery we should desire nothing but moral virtue. On the other side of the coin, moral evil is all we should seek to avoid. Anything beyond these two spheres is not up to us, and to worry about it is therefore a waste of our time.

We have grown to believe that our desires are a part of us, an extension of our identity, hence we are dissapointed when things don't turn out our way. You should be aware of your power to detach yourself from your desires by taking up a distance from them.

It is only by accepting that we can stand alone, self-sufficient, wanting nothing but to be good, that we free ourselves of dependence on things outside of us, which we believe we “need” to be happy.

117

248 reads

EPICTETUS

"When you receive an impression of some pleasure, take care not to get carried away by it, as with impressions in general; but rather, make it wait for you, and allow yourself some slight delay."

EPICTETUS

107

325 reads

2. Accomplishment of duties (kathekonta)

This exercise depends on the people. It is key to recall the distinction between what depends on us and what does not, and to recognize that as we carry out our duties to others, what is up to us is our moral intention as we do it. The result of our efforts – how they are received, whether our relationship with the other person improves, whether their expectations are even higher in the future – this is not up to us.

We should live in accordance with our nature and play the role which is assigned to us- citizen, friend, parent. 

Rising above one's desire can help since if we are too self-absorbed and focused on getting what we want, it impedes ethical growth.

105

228 reads

epictetus

“Appropriate actions are measured on the whole by our social relationships. . . . ‘My brother is wronging me.’ Very well, maintain the relation that you have towards him; don’t look to what he is doing, but to what you must do if you are to keep your choice in harmony with nature.”

EPICTETUS

100

223 reads

3. Indifference to Indifferent Things

This exercise is the one that relies on our capacity for rationality, and is aligned with the Stoic topos of logic. Hadot describes logic as “the mastery of inner discourse.” By keeping a close watch on that inner discourse, we can see whether our logic is erroneous and thus conducive to emotional disturbances. Once you re-orient yourself, you realize the universe is vast and contains an infinite number of moving parts among which we should “make no difference”. 

This helps us to get an expanded view of the environment in which one lives and also encourages a refined focus on the one thing that is not indifferent: our moral intention.

This “engages human beings to modify themselves and their attitude with regard to the world.”

104

207 reads

epictetus

"With regard to everything that happens to you, remember to look inside yourself and see what capacity you have to enable you to deal with it. . . . And if you get into the habit of following this course, you won’t get swept away by your impressions."

EPICTETUS

102

215 reads

Conclusion

It is a pitfall of Stoicism that in attempting to understand the elaborate taxonomy of topoi, disciplines, cardinal virtues, and so on, we might forget to put philosophy into practice.  

It is by putting Stoicism into practice via philosophical exercises, however, that we don't lose sight of the transformative, ethical purpose of Stoicism: to lead virtuous lives and live up to our potential as rational humans and citizens of the world.

95

239 reads

MORE LIKE THIS

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro

stash-superman-illustration

Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas

Anywhere

Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.

Join

2 Million Stashers

4.8

Stars

5,740 Reviews

App Store

4.7

Stars

72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

samz905

Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

FAQ

Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro