Last week, we held the first meeting for the MKE Stoic Fellowship! (For my readership that is out of town, "MKE" is the designation for Mitchell airport, here in Milwaukee, and in recent years has become a kind of code for the entire Greater Milwaukee area). This was a particularly important meeting, since it was devoted to determining what sorts of Stoicism-related activities we would plan for the year.
We also got to meet each other, as well as to discuss the interests and backgrounds the various members brought to the group. As one might expect, the member display strong interest in studying classical and contemporary Stoic sources, and about discussing in particular the application of Stoic resources to our lives, issues, and challenges. But it looks to be the case that we have a considerable pool of expertise to draw upon in the group as well - which works out particularly well for me, since it means that I'll be much more able to sit back, listen, and observe (as opposed to having to be more active as a leader or speaker).
We had ten people attend the first session, most of whom had learned about the MKE Stoic Fellowship through the Meetup online platform. Several others had seen the announcement at the library - the Shorewood Public Library is partnering with us to host the group - and came in to check it out. One participant - who I know from correspondence and got to meet at Stoicon 2016 - actually drove from Michigan! So for an initial session, this was quite a good turnout, hopefully an auspicious sign about the prospects for the community.
Although in the future, we may invite guest speakers, and draw upon the expertise of the group to have members provide short presentations, we've decided that for the time being, we'll focus heavily on discussion of key Stoic ideas and texts. We've decided to start with Epictetus' Enchridion, taking roughly 5 chapters at a time, and suggested two free online courses as resources. One of these is my own in-depth course on that very text - Epictetus' Enchiridion - Ancient Philosophy & Peace of Mind
- and the other is Massimo Pigluicci's course, Stoicism: The Very Basics.
So, if you're in the Greater Milwaukee area - or even inclined to drive over from the Madison area, up from the Chicagoland area, or down from the Fox cities - and you've got an interest in Stoicism, consider joining us for the next session - Thursday, February 23, 2017. We'll be happy to welcome you in and discuss some Stoic philosophy!