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Sebastian Purcell to speak on Aztec vice management

LocationRockefeller Hall 300

How to Improve Without Getting Better: Aztec Vice Management

A basic problem in our lives is that some of our vices look to be intractable. In the “West” we are taught that we need to change our character to become better people. But what if that's not really feasible, or a goal too far off for what we need right now? Because the Aztecs did not conceive of good habits as the exclusive vehicle for living well, because they held that our friends, family, and ritual social practices play an integral role in helping us to lead better lives, they found a paradoxical solution to intractable vices. Maybe you don't have to become a better person to improve. Maybe you can just become a better vice manager.

The talk develops the techniques of vice management by looking to the way that young boys and girls were trained in their educational systems. It then develops their longer lists of vices that will help you to diagnose your ills and correct for them, without exactly eliminating them altogether.