Ivan Illich

Web site http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/~ira/illich/

Thanks to Lawrence Silverberg and Family L

 Deschooling Society (1973: 9):
"Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the
schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once
these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is,
the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is
thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with
education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say
something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of
value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the
improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise
for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning,
dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more
than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends,
and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the
management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question."

Social Effects of Motorized Transport http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/~ira/illich/facts/social_effects.html

"Illich is not against schools or hospitals as such, but once a certain threshold of institutionalization is reached, schools make people more stupid, while hospitals make them sick," wrote Matthias Finger and Jose Manuel Asu'n in "Adult Education at the Crossroads: Learning Our Way Out" (Zed Books, 2001).

Brief review of thoughts and works http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/04/obituaries/04ILLI.html

His Obituary:

Ivan Illich, 76, a noted sociologist who protested the institutionalization
of learning and religion, died Dec. 2 at his home in Bremen, Germany. The
cause of death was not reported.

Dr. Illich, who was best known for his 1971 publication "Deschooling
Society," had lectured in sociology at the University of Bremen for the past

Regarded as both a crank and a visionary, he railed against modern
technology, the education system and standardized health care. He maintained
that modern technology was oppressive, claiming, for example, that
automobiles enslaved society and that bicycles were a faster way to travel.

Dr. Illich, who was born in Vienna, Austria, was forced to leave school in
1941 under Nazi race laws because of his mother's Jewish ancestry. He went
to Italy and studied in Florence and at Rome's Gregorian University before
returning to Austria and obtaining a doctorate in history from the
University of Salzburg.

He entered the Roman Catholic priesthood and, from 1951 to 1956, served in
New York as an assistant pastor, championing the cause of Puerto Rican
immigrants. From 1956 until 1960, he was the deputy rector of the Catholic
University of Puerto Rico.

He became a familiar name in religious and educational circles after he
founded a training center in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1961. Part language
program, part think tank, the Intercultural Center of Documentation prepared
missionaries to work in Mexico and Latin America and attracted priests, nuns
and lay Catholics.

At the time he opened the center, Dr. Illich was a Catholic monsignor, but
from the first he challenged his students' assumptions about Western
superiority and religious patriarchy, which soon embroiled him in
ecclesiastical controversy. His view that the Catholic Church should
dissolve its bureaucracy did not help his standing with the Vatican.

In 1968, he was called to Rome to explain but refused to answer questions.
Thousands of dollars in church funds were withdrawn from his center, and he
severed ties between the center and religious institutions. A year later he
resigned from the priesthood. By then he had chosen the social causes that
occupied him for the rest of his life.

Reflecting his discomfort with organized religion, he argued that school
made people dumb, and the legal system, rather than providing people with
solutions, heightened their frustration. He argued that even science was
being strangled by institutionalization.