Minor Vices: Impatience

The Ars Moriendi is a spiritual meditation text produced in the first half of the 15th century. The second chapter is of great interest as it names five sins that beset the dying and offers spiritual exercises for how to overcome them: lack of faith, despair, impatience, spiritual pride and avarice. Ars Moriendi manuscripts appeared originally in a “long” form and then a very popular "short" form centered on woodcut prints.

A late 19th century reproduction and commentary gave the following account of the third temptation, impatience:

Minor Virtue: Punctuality, from efficiency to control.

“… the Victorians found in [the term] ‘earnest’ something that ‘serious’ lacked… Sincerity … But if the word ‘serious’ could be exiled to a sort of linguistic Purgatory, the objective ‘seriousness’ of modern life–reliability, respect for facts, professionalism, punctuality –remained of course as demanding as ever, and it’s here that ‘earnest’ realized its little semantic miracle: preserving the fundamental tonality of bourgeois existence … while endowing it with a sentimental-ethical significance.”

Minor Vices: Promiscuity

ADVISORY: This text is not about sexual relations. This text is about what is typically referred to these days, with glowing encouragement and good favor, as "networking." If we take human social relations as themselves merely neutral in worth, probably a universal fact of human existence, but only as much as for the apes or the ants, then the virtue of these relations is a moral and anthropological question. Or to put it another way, the question is how to govern these relations, as the Stoics would have told us.

Minor Vices: Disdain



I. Non-Entities.

Minor Vices: Disparagement (Rabinow)

Minor Vices: Disparagement
Paul Rabinow

Minor Vices: Vanity, Prevarication & Negligence (Stavrianakis)

Vanity, Prevarication and Negligence in Assisted Suicide.
Anthony Stavrianakis

Minor Vices: Forgetting morality at the sight of profit (Fearnley)

Forgetting morality at the sight of profit
Lyle Fearnley

Minor Vices: A Group Show

For quite some time, here at ARC, a conversation has been growing around “minor vices.” It began for a few of us with experience during fieldwork in synthetic biology, and soon became a theme that we could talk about among a larger group, which we noted was increasingly relevant to many domains, not least the university as an institution, scientific practice, as well as other domains in which claims to knowing and claims to truth are accompanied by accusations or observation of “vices.” We have been using the term vice in the sense of excess or deficiency in a way of doing something.