Bypassing Acuity

Tomorrow’s events:

  • Stoic Breath w/ Steve Beattie. Every Sunday @ 10:00 AM ET. RSVP here. 60 mins.

  • Family Constellations: Practice Session w/ Ole Bjerg and Viljami Lehtonen. May 2nd @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event. 180 mins.

  • Philosophical Life Coaching w/ Pamela J. Hobart. May 2nd @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

An event to get excited about:

  • Circling: Practice Session w/ Taylor Barratt. May 3rd @ 6:00 PM ET. Patreon event. 120 mins.

Taylor Barratt returns to The Stoa after delivering a homerun of a presentation on the practice of Circling last week (watch here). This was hands down the best presentation on Circling that has ever happened. Taylor will be facilitating a Patreon-exclusive Circling practice session this Monday. If you have not gotten a taste of Circling yet, this will be a great chance to do so.


May 1st, 2021

A bunch of readers really dug the tripartite bypassing model presented in yesterday’s entry: spiritual bypassing, psychotherapy bypassing, and self-help bypassing. I was using the bypassing phrase to refer to a general phenomenon: doing something else to avoid what really needs to be done. 

In response to that entry a reader forwarded me this video essay from James Jani on the toxic world of self-help, which got me watching some other videos from James, such as the one on multilevel marketing cults. This was funny because the ads that came up while I watched that video was from a multilevel marketing cult leader. 

This got me reflecting more on the bypassing thing, and it might be good to get a sense of other kinds of bypassing, in service of developing a bypassing acuity.

Let’s start with what Jules Evans calls “Stoic bypassing.” Jules, a former Stoic who was central in creating the Modern Stoicism movement, used this term to describe when somebody uses Stoicism to dismiss the wisdom of their emotions. 

This is when your conscious intellectual mind is committed to Stoicism, and you’re very adept at talking the Stoic talk, but your actual emotions and desires are just as unregenerate as ever.

You can use Stoicism, in this instance, as a means to shut down your own difficult emotions, dismiss them as ‘not rational’, dismiss even your own physical sensations, and retreat to the citadel of your intellect. Good luck with that.

Or you may encounter ‘Stoic bullshitting’, when a person cloaks their own selfish desires in Stoic language, and don’t admit that they’re angry or horny or offended or vengeful or whatever. They pretend they’re a perfectly rational computer while their emotions seethe beneath the surface.

It is probably clear for those reading these journals that Stoic bypassing is not the kind of Stoicism I am engaged in. My (maybe) Stoicism is a Weird Stoicism that would indeed encourage getting into the right relationship with one’s emotional landscape. 

Such modalities such as Doug Tataryn’s Bio-Emotive Framework and the acting method of Emotional Effector Patterns can definitely be in service towards this. Jules is indeed correct here though, and Stoic bypassing is something that often happens when people get into Stoicism.  

Political bypassing. I do not know who first coined this phrase, but this tweet from Hillary L McBride sums it up: 

Like spiritual bypassing (Welwood), I believe Political Bypassing is the use of politics (political thought, conversation, argument, or policy, the pursuit of ‘right’ political thinking) to sidestep, avoid, or dismiss unresolved issues, wounds, pain, individually, or collectively.

… aka the culture war, and all the trauma bonding that occurs on its battlefronts

Intellectual bypassing. I am a part of a few intellectual discussion groups, and I have no clue what the fuck people are talking about in them most of the time. A lot of it seems unnecessary to me. My inner Peterson often comes online in these spaces, and I am tempted to inquire: is your room even clean, brah?

Many really smart people are on this non-stop intellectual quest to construct a philosophy of everything, when really they should be deploying their intellectual prowess to more intrapersonal concerns.

I should not dunk too hard on this form of bypassing though, because The Stoa clearly engages in this, especially in how it shows up in the clearnet. I am hoping for this to change, and I have some very exciting “Stoa Experiences” currently being cooked up. 

Relational bypassing. Maybe “Authentic Relating bypassing” is a better term here. There are a lot of Circling and Authentic Relating junkies out there. After getting a taste of how good this way of relating can be, some people make it everything. Telling people what is most alive is not always the most alive thing one should be doing. 

What else? Hedonism bypassing, comfort bypassing, hustle bypassing, Mammonism bypassing, journal bypassing … 


I do journal sometimes when it does seem wiser to focus on something else. A daemonic flow happens for me when journaling, and it feels very pleasurable, especially when combined with my espresso fetish.

Okay. Now feels like a good time to stop potentially bypassing for today.


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