oh. the man.
page from a be you book:
Thank you Thomas for introducing us to this mind/man.
– School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is, said Ivan Illich in 1970.
The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.—Ivan Illich
curiosity app – no?
-high recommend also Illich’s Tools for Conviviality
i believe that there is a little spark in the darkest of human beings.. it all depends on how we look on it..
institutions don’t look at you.. they don’t have keys
what we have now – specialized sitting
i can’t educate people to be more human -i can only provide them access to the resources
i’m not interested in the classroom, i want the kids to learn what they want to learn
teacher – find out if people want to listen to you
he’s totally saying.. school per choice
learning to read is a side product
would much rather people develop along the lines of which they have particular gifts
chapter 6 of deschooling society
Many teachers and pupils, taxpayers and employers, economists and policemen would prefer not to depend any longer on schools. What prevents their frustration from shaping new institutions is a lack not only of imagination but frequently also of appropriate language and of enlightened self-interest. They cannot visualize either a deschooled society or educational institutions in a society which has disestablished school
we can depend on self-motivated learning instead of employing teachers to bribe or compel the student to find the time and the will to learn; that we can provide the learner with new links to the world instead of continuing to funnel all educational programs through the teacher.
It can be persuasively argued that Ivan Illich ‘transgressed a cardinal rule’ about what discourses are acceptable within education (Gabbard 1993). He questioned the ‘messianic principle’ that schools as institutions can educate.
swimming in the compromise (written for original be you book)
Schools today are filled with people, lovely people. People that have no ill intentions. People doing their best to make things, to make life, better. However, most people are bound by policy. The policies the institution of school has birthed and bred, now hold many captive. The following speaks of teacher and student. We’re thinking it addresses a captivity most all of us are in or have been in, teacher, parent, admin, etc. This is us, each one of us, swimming in the compromise:
Defining children as full-time pupils permits the teacher to exercise a kind of power over their persons which is much less limited by constitutional restrictions than the over wielded by the guardians of other social enclaves. Their chronological age disqualifies children from safeguards which are routine for adults in a modern asylum – madhouse monastery or jail.
Classroom attendance removes children (teachers/admin) from the everyday world of Western culture and plunges them into an environment far more primitive, magical, and deadly serious. School could not create such and enclave within which the rules of ordinary reality are suspended, unless it physically incarcerated the young during many successive years on sacred territory. The attendance rule makes it possible for the schoolroom to serve as a magic womb, from which the child is delivered periodically at the school day’s and school year’s completion until he is finally expelled into adult life.
We are rather concerned to call attention to the fact that the ceremonial or ritual of schooling itself constitutes such a hidden curriculum. Even the best of teachers cannot entirely protect his pupils from it. Inevitably, this hidden curriculum of schooling adds prejudice and guilt to the discrimination which a society practices against some for its members and compounds the privilege of others with a new title to condescend to the majority. Just as inevitably, this hidden curriculum serves as a ritual of initiation into a growth-oriented consumer society for rich and poor alike. – Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
for more on calling into question how we spend the hours of our day: flavors of success
(via Matt Hern‘s Everywhere All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader):
Aaron Falbel – who knew both Holt and Illich – has a great write up (in Matt’s book) at the request of Illich to try to explain the difference between learning and education. bits of it: (p. 62-64)
I realize that education is a difficult word to pin down – some people may use it in the way that i use the world learning. But I believe that John Holt is right in saying that most people use education to refer to some kind of treatment. (Even self-education can reflect this: a self-administered treatment.) It is this usage that I am contrasting with learning, and this idea of people needing treatment, whether carried out in schools or homes or wherever, that I wish to call into question.
Learning is like breathing. It is a natural, human activity: it is part of being alive A person who is active, curious, who explores the world using all his or her sense, who meets life with energy and enthusiasm – as all babies do – is learning. Our ability to learn, like our ability to breathe, does not need to be improved or tampered with. It is utter nonsense, not to mention deeply insulting, to say that people need to be taught how to learn or how to think. We are born knowing how to do these things. All that is needed is an interesting, accessible, intelligible world, and a change to play a meaningful part in it.
If the air is polluted, then it can become difficult to breathe. ..Today our social environment is thoroughly polluted by education – a designed process in which one group of people (educators, social engineers, people shapers) tries to make another group (those who are to be educated) learn something, usually without their consent, because they (the educators) think it will be good for them. In other words, education is forced, seduced or coerced learning – except that you can’t really make another person learn something that he or she doesn’t want to learn, which is why education doesn’t work and has never worked.
(never worked for authentic learning, it’s worked to gain efficiency, it has an A+ for what it set out to do)
It is ironic that education, carried out by well-meaning people hoping to produce or enhance learning, ends up attacking learning. But this is precisely what happens, despite all the good intentions. In the climate of education, learning is cut off and disembedded from active life. It is
divorced from personal curiosity
and is thus profoundly
Learning shrivels as it becomes the result of a process controlled, manipulated, and governed by others.
personal on illich:
the man unsettles me. he makes me even more restless.
when did we decide we could judge others, validate them? that value is measured by man’s ability to consume?
[hygiene – make sure that everything that happens is planned by someone else..]
illich – a man who goes to school feels he is competing for equality, and how crazy to be obligated to compete for that. to compete for validity.
and .. in his section on regressive taxation.. that we decide to discriminate because of a man’s pedigree or curricular study, if a man used (via illich) $10000 more of public funds to reach some creditation, and yet is not necessarily any more competent to teach or model skills than the guy who speaks fluent french, why do we deem people better for things we don’t even believe in…
what are we thinking..?
thinking i might start sharing my detox videos on youtube. (thank you to Venessa. emergent by design. i’m emerging. take it in if you like.) i think i need to share more. i think i think i’m being humble by not sharing. i think others might think i’m ridiculous for sharing. that it’s a show. maybe it is. i don’t think so. but i guess i don’t care about that so much as i care about freeing people up. so i’m doing all i can. today.
to me… using our heads (and hearts) is a vital way to free us up. we have to start taking charge, choosing.
so – to me detox is huge to that. talking to ourselves.
this is the first one i did on my own laptop, (not in our little detox booth):
and this is the last one to date. as in i did it today, .. after the whole illich audio revisit suggested by thomas:
here’s the playlist for detox videos between the above two
system open enough – ness…
thus the weakening of institutionalized values would in iteself lead logically either to unproductive and undirected social chaos
unless.. tech grounds chaos.. no? which is the vision i get from Illich
third, Illich argues that the goal of social change is to transform institutions according to the criterion of “non-addictiveness,” or “left-conviviality.” however, since manipulation and addictiveness are not the sources of social decay their elimination offers no cure.
more important, Illich’s criterion explicitly accepts those basic economic institution which structure decision-making power, lead to the to the growth of corporate and welfare bureaucracies, and lie at the root of social decay. thus Illich’s criterion must be replaced by one of democratic, participatory, and rationally decentralized control over social outcomes in factory, office, community, schools, and media. the remainder of this essay will elucidate the alternative analysis and political strategy as focused on the particular case of the educational system.
by listing those sectors… and then to say focus on ed himself (Gintis).. seems his doing exactly what he’s claiming Illich did/didn’t do..?
the character of individual participation in these contexts – the defining roles one accepts as worker and community member and the way one relates to on’es environment – is a basic determinant of well-being and individual development.
these activity contexts, as i shall show, are structured in turn by the way people structure their productive relations.
red flag to me – productive ness – may not be our future.. well-being
the study of activity contexts in capitalist society must begin with an understaning ob the basic economic institutions which regulate their historical development.
the most important of these institutions are: 1) private ownership.. 2) market labor.. 3: a market land.. 4)income … 5) markets in essential commodities .. 6) control of the productive process….
because essential goods, services, and activity contexts are marketed, income is a prerequisite to social existence.
unless it’s not. unless we make it not..
unalienated production must be the result of the revolutionary transformation of the basic institutions which Illich implicitly accepts..
a community cannot thrive when it holds no effective power over the autonomous activities of profit-maximizing capitalists. rather, a true community is itself a creative, initiating , and synthesizing agent, with the power to determine the architectural unity of its living and working spaces and their coordination, the power to allocate community property to social uses such as participatory child-care and community recreation centers, and the power to insure the preservation and development of its natural ecological environment. this is not an idle utopian dream.
this analysis undermines Illich’s treatment of public service bureaucracies. Illich holds that service agencies (including schools) fail because they are manipulative, and expand because they are psychologically addictive in fact, they do not fail at all. and they expand because they exist as internal links in the larger institutional allocation of unequal power and income. Illich’s simplistic treatment of the is area is illustrated in his explanation for the expansion of military operations:
the boomerang effect in war is becoming more obvious; the higher the body count of dead vietnamese, the more enemies the us acquire around the world; likewise, the more the us must spend to create another manipulative institution – cynically dubbed “pacification’ – the futile effort to absorb the side effects of war. ds p 54
Illich’s theory of addiction as motivation proposes that, once begun, one thing naturally leads to another. actually, however, the purpose of the military is the maintenance of aggregate demand and high levels of employment, as well as aiding the expansion of international sources of resource supply and capital investment. expansion is not the result of addiction but a primary characteristic of the entire system.
whether or not Illich would agree with that… (i think he would).. addictionis the stronghold.. it’s got us not thinking for ourselves.
likewise from a systemic pov, penal, mental illness, and poverty agencies are meant to contain the dislocations arising from the fragmentation of work and community and the institutionally determined inequality in income and power. yet Illich argues only:
.. jail increases both the quality and the quantity of criminals, that, in fact, it often creates them out of mere nonconformists.. mental hospitals, nursing homes, and orphans asylums do much the same thing. these institution provide their clients with the destructive self-image of the psychotic, the overaged, or the waif, and provide a rationale for the existence of entire professions, just as jails produce income for warden. ds p 54
further, the cause of expansion of service agencies lies not in their addictive nature, but in their failure even to attempt to deal with the institutional sources of social problems. the normal operation of basic economic institutions progressively aggravates these problems, hence requiring increased response on the part of welfare agencies.
seems the addictive nature is the core.. keeping us from 2 needs. rather than ‘institutional sources of social problem..’ – i mean – assuming we’ve gotten that all wrong..
in conclusion, it is clear that the motivational basis of consumer behavior derives from the everyday observation and experience of individuals,
? – observation of individuals within our science of people who have been to school mentality..
.. and consumer values are not “aberrations” induced by manipulative socialization. certainly there is no reason to believe that individuals would consume or work much less were manipulative socialization removed.
aberrations – departure from what is normal, expected, usually undesired.
insofar as such socialization is required to stabilize commodity fetishist values, its elimination might lead to the overthrow of capitalist institutions – but that of course is quite outside Illich’s scheme.
not getting clearer/better for me. p. 13.. goes on to say this can’t be because of adctiveness… ie:
applied to commodities or welfare services, this criterion is perhaps sufficient. but applied to major contexts of social activities, it is inappropriate. it is not possible for individuals to treat their work, their communities, and their environment in a simply instrumental manner. for better or worse, these social spheres, by regulating the individual’s social activity, became a major determinant of his/her psychic development, and in an important sense define who he/she is.
indeed, the solution to the classical “problem of order” in society is solved only by the individual’s becoming “addicted” to his/her social forms by participating through them.
in remaking society, individuals do more than expand their freedom of choice. – the change who they are, their self-definition, in the process. the criticism of alienate social spheres is not simply that they deprive individuals of necessary instruments of activity, but that in so doing they tend to produce in all of us something less that we intend to be.
the irony of Illich’s analysis is that by erecting “addictiveness vs instrumentality” as the central welfare criterion, he himself assumes a commodity fetishist mentality. in essence, he posits the individual outside of society and using social forms as instruments in his/her preexisting ends. ….. in contrast, i would argue that work is necessarily addictive in the larger sense of determining who a man/woman is a s a human being.
and say deschooling is at the heart of what we need… because so too is to de-factory, de-office and even de-family (meaning get us back to family – which we’re far away from today).. these are the things that are no longer utopian. these are things we can do.
if we decide to. which is the opposite of a compulsarized, pluralistically ignorant addiction. no?
the addictive vs instrumental (or, equivalently, manipulative vs convivial) criterion is relevant only if we posit an essential “human nature” prior to social experience. manipulation can then be seen as the perversion of the natural essence of the individual, and the de-institutionalization of values allows the individual to return to his/her essential self for direction. but the concept of the individual prior to society is nonsense.
unless it’s not. networked individualism. et al.
all individuals are concrete persons, uniquely developed through their particular articulation with social life.
? what does that even mean..? concrete? social life – ? via who’s directive?
.. there is no reason to believe that ceding control of technological innovation and diffusion to a few, while rendering them subject to market criteria of success and failure, will produce desirable outcomes. .. citizens are reduced to passive consumer, picking and choosing among the technological alternatives a technological elite presents to them
spinach or rock ness.
in contrast, it seems clear to me that individual must exercise direct control over technology in structuring their various social environments, thereby developing and coming to understand their needs through their exercise of power. the control of technical and institutional forms must be vested directly in the group of individuals involved in a social activity, else the alienation of these individuals from one another becomes a postulate of the technical and institutional development of this social activity – be it in factory, office, school, or community.
so – what if school, work, community -as-is, et al, are the very tech that we have let a few determine how it is to be, to be used, etc.. Gintis has great arguments/observations.. but without zooming out – ie: beyond school, work, etc, himself.. he’s throwing us into an assumed plot.. no?
p. 17 – after some amazing quotes of Illich, Gintis writes..
again, however, it does not follow that schooling finds its predominant function in reproducing the social relations of consumption per se. rather, it is the social relations of production which are relevant to the form and function of modern schooling.
a production orientation to the analysis of schooling – that the “hidden curriculum” in mass education reproduces the social relations of production – is reinforced in several distinct bodies of current educational research. first, economists have shown that education, in its role of providing a properly trained labor force, takes it s place alongside capital accumulation and technological change as a major source of economic growth. level of educational attainment is the major non-ascriptive variable in furthering the economic position of individuals.
not sure that is true. (Taleb ness et al) but even if it is.. what if furthering the economic position of individuals isn’t our goal. what if it’s only our goal when we are under its addictive/compulsory curse.
second, research shows that the type of personal development produced through schooling and relevant to the individual’s productivity as a worker in a capitalist enterprise is primarily non-cognitive. that is, profit-maximizing firms find it remunerative to hire more highly educated workers at higher pay, essentially irrespective of differences among individuals in cognitive abilities or attainments.
again – written in 71 (unfortunately many still believe this) – but more today are calling bunk on it. no where near enough. it’s like a person is too far into the cycle to debunk it (ie: finally finished w/schooling), so it never gets authentic questioning. why do so many claim school didn’t work for them.. yet allow their kids to spend 12 yrs there.
and if that’s not enough – we could look at history. how much have we improved. suicide rate is up. incarceration is higher than anywhere else. 2008 ness. that’s plenty for me to question said research. no?
p. 19 – the most effectively indoctrinated students are the most valuable to the economic enterprise or state bureaucracy, and also the most successfully integrated into a particular stratum within the hierarchical educational process.
oh my. because they let the technology called school teach them to obey. so that they few can always be telling them what to do.
thus while Illich can describe the characteristics of contemporary education, his consumption orientation prevents him from understanding how the sytem came to be.
p. 20 – school sees students as receptors (consumption) – the individual as ppassive receptor replaces the indiviudal as active agent. but the articulation with the larger soceity is production rather than consumption.
if the sources of social problems lay in consumer manipulation of which schooling is both an exemplary instance and a crucial preparation for future manipulation, then a political movement for deschooling might be, as Illich says, “at the root of any movement for human liberation.” but if schooling is both itself an activity context and preparation for the more important activity context of work then personal consciousness arises not from the elimination of outside manipulation, but from the experience of solidarity and struggles in remolding a mode of social existence. such consciousness represents not a “return” to the self(essential human nature) but a restructuring of the self through new modes of social participation; this prepares the individual for itself.
interesting. previous page talked of history goals changing.. ie: industrial, agricultural.. and how at each turn.. there was open discussion on what society ,. and hence school, should be. i was a part of those open discussions in the 80s 90s… they were n’t open. they were – how can we tweak verbiage to sound new. again – i think Gintis et al words are coming from a time, perhaps, we didn’t have the means to change the entire system. (ie; that’s why i worked my rear off on tweaking what we had back then)
this might involve the development of a vital craft/artistic/technical/service sector in production organized along master-apprentice or group-control lines open to all individuals.
yes. city as school.
the development of unalienated work technologies might then articulate harmoniously with learning-web forms in the sphere of education.
how is this different than Illich?
ah. – if equality in social participatio is a “revolutionary ideal,” this dictates that all contribute equally toward the staffing of the socially necessary work roles. this is possible only if the hierarchical (as opposed to social) dividsion of labor is abolished in favor of the solidary cooperation and particiaption of workers in control of production. Illich’s anarchistic notion of learning webs doesn not seem conducive to the development of pwesonal characteristics for this type of social solidarity.
again – based on our blind sight – via the science of people
for instance, the elimination of boring, unhealthy, fragmented, uncreative, constraining, and otherwise alienated but socially necessary labor requires an extended process of technological change in a transitional phase.
socially necessary – who decides that?
as we have observed (from the science of people in schools, no?), the repressive application of technology toward the formation of occupational roles is not due to the intrinsic nature of physical science nor to the requisites of productive efficiency, but to the political imperative of stable control from the top in an enterprise. …
the social relations of unaliented education must evolve from conscious cooperation and struggle among educational administrators (managers), teachers (technicians), and students (workers), although admittedly in a context of radically redistributed power among the three.
the outcome of such a struggle is not only the positive development of education but the fostering of work – capacities in individuals adequate to the task of social transition in work and community life as well.
Illich argues the necessity of their (china and cuba) failure from the simple fact that they have not de-schooled. when it was quite evident that they were following new and historically unprecedented direction of social development. that they were essentially “de-schooled” before the revolution (with no appreciable social benefits ) does not faze him (Illich).
“each of us,” says Illich, “is personally responsible for his or her own de-schooling, and only we have the power to do it.” this is not true. schooling is legally obligatory, and it the major means of access to welfare-relevant activity contexts.
still, although schools neither can nor should be eliminated, the social relations of education can be altered through genuine struggle. moreover, the experience of both struggle and control prepares the student for a future of political activity in factory and office.
unless we have neither factory or office.
Very excited to release the link to our new film ‘Re-learning Hope: A Story of Unitierra’ https://t.co/yUBnvU8GE6
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/EnlivenedLearn/status/748906018105503746
also shared by Manish on fb message
New Film from the Ecoversities Network and Enlivened Learning
‘Re-learning Hope: A Story of Unitierra’
New documentary shows how an innovative university in the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico, is nurturing the strength and imagination of people choosing to live their lives autonomously, especially within a context of violence and adversity.
Re-learning Hope: A Story of Unitierra. (2016) 69min
RE-LEARNING HOPE is the story of Unitierra, an autonomous university in Oaxaca, Mexico that is immersed in, and has emerged from, the social and indigenous movements of the region. The film tells the story of this emergence of Unitierra and its powerful critique of traditional education and development. The film is a hopeful example of how communities are taking control of their own learning and shaping an ecological path for their communities amidst a context of violence.
The film, made by directors Udi Mandel and Kelly Teamey and in collaboration with participants in Unitierra, raises a host of important questions related to the purpose of education and what it takes to create a deep ecological consciousness and connection with our communities. As participants in Unitierra learn together and with local communities they re-weave the social fabric and ways of living that are more autonomous and in balance with their local ecologies.
‘Re-Learning Hope’ also explores how we can learn autonomy and community living from indigenous peoples. The 500-year struggles of indigenous peoples’ in Oaxaca and Chiapas against the imposition of other ways of life are inspirations Unitierra has taken to heart. Amidst the multiple crises we are all experiencing, in our economies, political institutions and communities, Unitierra is promoting ways of living and learning together that is inspiring, showing us that another world is indeed possible.
12 min – always postponing your future… like you’re always going forward to a future that’s not real
16 min – ed in mexico has been to .. de indian ize the indians
19 min – we can’t wait for govt.. we need to do something.. together..
25 min – Ivan Illich – friendship a key ingredient for the re weaving..
27 min – ivan: any person.. if he were to lose that sense of inferiority produced by school.. mental schooling..and say.. i’m going to get some friends together.. to discuss this and that.. and i’m opening a little cafe to do it…. is doing just what we do .. and that is actually happening now.. not in the capital cities.. of latin america.. but in many places..in small villages…….. but anyway.. i realized that my mistake with many others have made..was believing that through reform..of the schools.. we can change institutional productivity and distribution.. only much later did i realize that as long as school stays school.. it will have an un wanted by product that is much worse than its product.. under the best conditions.. that is.. children learning something.. because what can you say..
at school..the first thing a child learns is that learning is the result of an official process- of an official institutional process
he learns that year after year.. we become personally more valuable because we continue to accumulate new layers of a spiritual product.. an immaterial product..
we learn that what is worth learning.. what will be useful later.. or perhaps what will be useful for society later.. is what we get from a professional..
we learn that teaching, if not done by a professional instructor..is in some way less valuable..- ivan
let’s do this first: free art-ists.
john thackara (@johnthackara) tweeted at 6:04 AM – 5 Nov 2017 :
Illich wrote Energy & Equity in 1973. Pretty much all we need to know today is there https://t.co/qukqiMXsfrhttps://t.co/ehX65hv2Qm (http://twitter.com/johnthackara/status/927159733131317249?s=17)
speed stunned imagination
The product of the transportation industry is the habitual passenger. He has been boosted out of the world in which people still move on their own, and he has lost the sense that he stands at the center of his world. The habitual passenger is conscious of the exasperating time scarcity that results from daily recourse to the cars, trains, buses, subways,and elevators that force him to cover an average of twenty miles each day, frequently criss-crossing his path within a radius of less than five miles. He has been lifted off his feet. No matter if he goes by subway or jet plane, he feels slower and poorer than someone else and resents the shortcuts taken by the privileged few who can escape the frustrations of traffic. If he is cramped by the timetable of his commuter train, he dreams of a car. If he drives, exhausted by the rush hour, he envies the speed capitalist who drives against the traffic. If he must pay for his car out of his own pocket, he knows full well that the commanders of corporate fleets send the fuel bill to the company and write off the rented car as a business expense. The habitual passenger is caught at the wrong end of growing inequality, time scarcity, and personal impotence, but he can see no way out of this bind except to demand more of the same: more traffic by transport. He stands in wait for technical changes in the design of vehicles, roads, and schedules; or else he expects a revolution to produce mass rapid transport under public control. In neither case does he calculate the price of being hauled into a better future. He forgets that he is the one who will pay the bill, either in fares or in taxes. He overlooks the hidden costs of replacing private cars with equally rapid public transport.
The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. Addicted to being carried along, he has lost control over the physical, social, and psychic powers that reside in man’s feet. The passenger has come to identify territory with the untouchable landscape through which he is rushed. He has become impotent to establish his domain, mark it with his imprint, and assert his sovereignty over it. He has lost confidence in his power to admit others into his presence and to share space consciously with them. He can no longer face the remote by himself. Left on his own, he feels immobile.
The habitual passenger must adopt a new set of beliefs and expectations if he is to feel secure in the strange world where both liaisons and loneliness are products of conveyance. To “gather” for him means to be brought together by vehicles. He comes to believe that political power grows out of the capacity of a transportation system, and in its absence is the result of access to the television screen. He takes freedom of movement to be the same as one’s claim on propulsion. He believes that the level of democratic process correlates to the power of transportation and communications systems. He has lost faith in the political power of the feet and of the tongue. As a result, what he wants is not more liberty as a citizen but better service as a client. He does not insist on his freedom to move and to speak to people but on his claim to be shipped and to be informed by media. He wants a better product rather than freedom from servitude to it. It is vital that he come to see that the acceleration he demands is self-defeating, and that it must result in a further decline of equity, leisure, and autonomy.
2 min – the prophetic work of Ivan Ilich in the 70s.. his book – medical nemesis – wherein he said in a sense.. the more healthier we get the sicker we are likely to feel
Ivan Illich (/ɪˈvɑːn ˈɪlɪtʃ/; 4 September 1926 – 2 December 2002) was a Croatian-Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest, and critic of the institutions of modern Western culture, who addressed contemporary practices in education, medicine, work, energy use, transportation, and economic development.
The book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention was Deschooling Society (1971), a radical critical discourse on education as practised in “modern” economies. Giving examples of what he regards as the ineffectual nature of institutionalized education, Illich posited self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid informal arrangements:
..the institutionalization of education tends towards the institutionalization of society and that ideas for de-institutionalizing education may be a starting point for a de-institutionalized society.
The book is more than a critique—it contains suggestions for a reinvention of learning throughout society and lifetime. Particularly striking is his call (in 1971) for the use of advanced technology to support “learning webs.”
The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.— Ivan Illich
.. As he later asserted in After Deschooling, What? (1973): ‘We can disestablish schools, or we can deschool culture’. He actually opposed advocates of free-market education as “the most dangerous category of educational reformers.”
Tools for Conviviality (1973) was published only two years after Deschooling Society. In this new work Illich generalized the themes that he had previously applied to the field of education: the institutionalization of specialized knowledge, the dominant role of technocratic elites in industrial society, and the need to develop new instruments for the reconquest of practical knowledge by the average citizen. He wrote that “[e]lite professional groups . . . have come to exert a ‘radical monopoly’ on such basic human activities as health, agriculture, home-building, and learning, leading to a ‘war on subsistence’ that robs peasant societies of their vital skills and know-how. The result of much economic development is very often not human flourishing but ‘modernized poverty,’ dependency, and an out-of-control system in which the humans become worn-down mechanical parts.“..t..
from the people’s priest by @chasemadar
Illich proposed that we should “invert the present deep structure of tools” in order to “give people tools that guarantee their right to work with independent efficiency.”
In his Medical Nemesis, first published in 1975, also known as Limits to Medicine, Illich subjected contemporary Western medicine to detailed attack. He argued that the medicalization in recent decades of so many of life’s vicissitudes—birth and death, for example—frequently caused more harm than good and rendered many people in effect lifelong patients. He marshalled a body of statistics to show what he considered the shocking extent of post-operative side-effects and drug-induced illness in advanced industrial society. He introduced to a wider public the notion of iatrogenic disease, which had been scientifically established a century earlier by British nurse Florence Nightingale (1820–1910). Others have since voiced similar views.
- The main notion of Ivan Illich is the concept of counterproductivity: when institutions of modern industrial society impede their purported aims.
- Specific diseconomy
- Specific diseconomy is another term Illich used, as a measure of the degree of institutional counterproductivity that is occurring—referring to the exact degree to which, for example, the medical industry induces illness, educational institutions induce ignorance, the judicial system perpetuates injustice, or national defense may make a nation less secure. When specific diseconomy is on the increase, this means an institution or industry is increasingly counterproductive to its original intentions.
- Radical monopoly
- He invented the concept of radical monopoly: when a technical medium is or appears to be more effective, it creates a monopoly which denies access to other media. The mandatory consumption of a medium which uses a lot of energy (for example motorised transportation) narrows the fruition of use value (innate transit ability).
By “radical monopoly” I mean the dominance of one type of product rather than the dominance of one brand. I speak about radical monopoly when one industrial production process exercises an exclusive control over the satisfaction of a pressing need, and excludes nonindustrial activities from competition.— Ivan Illich,
- Illich worked to open new possibilities. Illich devotes a chapter of Deschooling Society to the proposal to the Rebirth of Epimethean Man. He argued that we need convivial tools as opposed to machines. A tool may have many applications, some very different from its original intended use. A tool may be thought of as an expression of its user. The opposite of this is the machine, where humans become its servants, their role consisting only of running the machine for a single purpose.
I choose the term “conviviality” to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man-made environment. I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value. I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain level, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively satisfy the needs it creates among society’s members.— Ivan Illich,
KevinHodgson (@dogtrax) tweeted at 4:21 AM – 9 May 2018 :
More than 120 annotations (in the form of commentary, push back and questions) in the #clmooc annotation activity for Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society, a sharp critique of school. You can join us in the margins, too. Please. Do. https://t.co/74N4vB8UWy #MarginalSyllabus https://t.co/vvt4P3xJ0y (http://twitter.com/dogtrax/status/994160426857435136?s=17)
Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) tweeted at 2:29 PM on Mon, Aug 19, 2019: