#13: Magic of Reality and Introduction to The Nous
PLUS: Big update on future Stoic Handbook content
Hello, practicing Stoic. 👋
Big news coming your way!
I’m thrilled to introduce The Nous. This weekly newsletter will serve as a conduit for tools, resources, podcasts, tactics, techniques, and snippets from my own life, adventures, and practices.
Envision it as an enriching blend of a journal entry and a toolkit, designed to prepare you for the week ahead.
The Nous represents the next chapter following Stoic Scroll, which many of you are familiar with from Substack.
While the Substack publication will continue, it will now focus on more in-depth, long-form articles.
I must admit, the name Stoic Scroll began to feel somewhat cliché over time. While Stoicism remains close to my heart, my interests aren't confined to it. I delve into psychology, Buddhism, and an array of practices. The Nous is where I'll bridge and share these worlds.
Think of The Nous as your central hub for all updates and an interactive platform for staying connected with my work. If the Stoic Scroll resonated with you, I'm confident The Nous will too.
What was previously Stoic Scroll will now be The Nous.
🧠 Introducing: The Nous
All other things partake in a portion of everything, while nous is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing, but is alone, itself by itself.
The word "nous" (pronounced "noose") originates from Ancient Greek and is usually translated into English as "mind" or "intellect". In philosophical contexts, it often refers to a higher kind of knowledge or intelligence that is more than mere reasoning – it's an intuitive intellect, insight, or direct apprehension of truth.
The Stoics, like many other Hellenistic philosophical traditions, inherited and integrated concepts from earlier Greek thought, including the concept of "nous." Stoicism places a strong emphasis on the rationality of the cosmos and the idea that humans, by virtue of sharing in this rational principle, can live in accordance with nature.
In summary, "nous" represents a higher intellect and the rational order of the cosmos. For a Stoic, understanding and aligning with this principle is crucial to living a good life. It bridges the connection between individual rationality and the rationality of the universe, reinforcing the Stoic idea of living in harmony with Nature.
To learn more you can watch a video where Jonathan Pageau talks bout the concept of the Nous here.
🔗 The Stoic Handbook Universe
To keep things simple, here is a quick rundown of the current setup for the Stoic Handbook content:
The Nous: Weekly newsletter featuring resources, tools, and anecdotes on practical wisdom.
The Stoic Handbook Podcast: Continues its regular release on all major podcast platforms.
Premium Audio Courses and Lessons: Dive deeper into premium courses either on Supercast or from within Apple Podcasts. stoichandbook.supercast.com or Apple Podcasts Premium.
Courses: Notably, the self-paced Stoic Anxiety Mastery.
Live Training: The unique 10-week Askesis live Stoic training via the 4885 system, held bi-annually. (Just reply to this email if you’d like to learn more.)
🏹 Stoic Wisdom Arrows
🪄 The Magic of Reality, A Guide to Stoic Awe: I created a video inspired by a lesson in my radical gratitude course. Stoicism is often seen as a very austere and cold philosophy of life, but they placed great importance on learning to cultivate joy and delight. Watch here.
🎲 All “Bad” Luck is Really Good Luck: In this podcast, I explore the idea of bad luck omens and how to navigate them using principles from Stoic philosophy. Listen here.
🧘♂️ Zen Teacher Henry Shukman on Koans, Enlightenment, and Healing: I was honored to sit down and spend over an hour conversing with this great teacher. Listen here.
⭕️ Insights from Coaching
In a heartfelt conversation, one of my clients shared that he seldom felt a strong attraction towards others. Strong polarizing physical attraction was uncommon for him.
It also emerged that during movies and TV shows, they would look away or skip past the kissing scenes. I found this unusual. They told me they just weren’t interested.
I thought about this. To make the effort to skip a kissing scene in a film, that doesn’t show a lack of interest, that shows a purposeful aversion. There are many parts of films or TV shows that I’m not that interested in, but I don’t skip past them.
The conversation almost went off in another direction. But I brought it back.
“How did your parents express love in front of you when you were growing up?”
“They didn’t. They weren’t very loving. And when they did express love, it make me angry. Almost jealous. I didn’t like it.”
And now were were on to something.
It never ceases to amaze me how our childhood experiences shape the person we are today and we assume that we are the way we are just because… that’s us, forgetting that we have been deeply shaped by our upbringing.
The question then is this:
How did you see expressions of love when you were growing up, and how did that inform or impact how you interpret love as an adult? What makes you squirm? What makes you bored? What makes you excited? What are the origins of these emotions?
I take my boy swimming 1-2 times per week and it’s beautiful to see his confidence grow in the water. As he grows in confidence it’s also important that he doesn’t get overconfident and take risks beyond his capabilities.
Finding this balance can be hard: to neither be neglectful nor overbearing.
Parents are leaders. Kings and Queens in their family. A quote comes to mind from Marcus’ Meditations:
“A king’s lot: Do good and be damned.”
Sometimes the good you try to do ends up resulting in you being damned by your child.
Keeping them safe can be seen as stopping them from having fun
Keeping them healthy can be seen as stopping them from eating nice food
Getting them to bed on time means preventing them from playing
Being damned when you are doing good can be difficult, but it’s also a great practice to use this experience to connect with your child, tap into empathy, and recognize that they are not actually wrong. Their experience is as sacred as yours, and while keeping them safe, healthy, and well-slept, you can also teach them something that is often overlooked:
How to handle being damned when you do good. What a lesson to teach a child, and it starts with your actions.
Every day presents an opportunity to teach your children how to handle challenges, especially when they are the source of those challenges.
What a gift to teach through example.
🌎 Featured Guided Meditation: Daily View From Above
This guided meditation is a profound journey of introspection and cosmic exploration. From the silent rhythm of your breath to the vast expanses of the cosmos, it invites you to deepen your self-awareness, embrace the interconnectedness of all beings, and realize the significance of your existence in the grand scheme of the universe.
You'll explore your physical presence, ascend to a birds-eye view of humanity, and even transcend to perceive Earth from the cosmos. This perspective is coupled with reflections on time's fleeting nature, encouraging a shift in values and priorities.
🧰 Tools of the Week
✅ TeuxDeux: I’ve tried a lot of different to-do list apps (Things, Todoist, Wunderlist, Trello, Notion, etc) but I love this one the most. TeuxDeux just helps me visualize the week and focus only on what is essential. I’ve consistently found that overcomplicating my productivity is just a form of procrastination.
🎧 Spotify Podcasts: In the UK (not sure about other countries) Spotify has just released audiobooks. You can listen to 15 hours a month on a premium account. I like this because you aren’t locked into a single book. I’m making my way through Marcus’ Meditations. I’m starting to view the classic Stoic texts more like active contemplations/meditations rather than books. I’m attempting to listen to a classic for 20 minutes a day and to reflect on the wisdom.
✍️ What I’m Building
🎙️ Stoic Handbook Podcast
The next 2 episodes will be focused on philosophical journalling and how to deal with doubters when you are aiming up in life.
I’m also in the process of creating more interviews. I’m planning to speak to Donald Robertson about Socrates, and I want to start a book club where I read a book and discuss not just what I learned but how I’m applying it to my life.
The first book will be Against Empathy by Paul Bloom.
💎 Stoic Handbook Premium
I’ve got multiple finished courses that I haven’t released yet on Stoic Handbook Premium. They include:
The Skeptic’s Guide to Self-Help
The Philosopher’s Guide to Death Anxiety
The Buddhist Compassion Mindhack
I’m creating a new course each month. If you’d like to get access to all of these courses, you can join my Supercast account here.
P.S. I deeply appreciate you being on this journey with me! Any questions, just ask. 🤗