ASKESIS is ‘exercise’. Here it refers to mental training. It is the fundamental groundwork of our philosophy, more or less as physical exercises are the essence of sporting activities. In short, <askesis> means practice as a disciplined training to achieve virtue (<arete>). We use the word in a slightly different way than the English term ascetism. Nonetheless <askesis> and ascetism refer to behaviours of abstention from carnal satisfactions. We think that the common goal of ascetics and philosophers (in our way) is the attainment of ‘spiritual awareness’. Then, for us, ‘spiritual’ and ‘philosophical’ are synonyms. Ascetics may pull themselves out of the world for their practices or (less often) continue to be part of it. The same applies to our philosophers of life (who favors staying in the world). So a difference between our idea of <askesis> and traditional ascetism is that we tend to use renunciation in order to get stronger. But once ready, we face the battles of life. Instead, ascetism is most of the time a lasting, no-way-back choice.
<Askesis> is ‘exercise’. Indeed, the semantics of this word involves notions of effort, abstinence, continence and even suffering. It indicates a set of practices to forge and toughen the individual. This hardening was not (and still it is not) a mere display of resilience, In fact, it has the precise goal of freeing the individual from the dominance of passions, appetites and other stimuli. The final objective is in no way an unnatural and stubborn resistance in front of all form of pleasures. But actually it is a comeback to more natural behaviors (and pleasures) which are innately tempered and measured.