Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thought of Ivan Illich

In a short, just-released collection of four Illich essays, Beyond Economics and Ecology (Marion Boyars Publishers) Governor Brown writes in the preface that Illich “questioned the very premises of modern life and traced its many institutional excesses to developments in the early and Medieval Church.” In the 12th century and after, the Church and later the nation-state began to appropriate for themselves Christ’s narratives about salvation and the sacred, and put them to decidedly more secular, worldly use.

This has culminated in the profound alienation of modern times, in Illich’s view. As Governor Brown writes, Illich “saw in modern life and its pervasive dependence on commodities and services of professionals a threat to what it is to be human. He cut through the illusions and allurements to better ground us in what it means to be alive. He was joyful but he didn’t turn his gaze from human suffering.” - David Bollier
Introduction to the book:
Illich’s theories on the effectiveness of cars, air travel, and energy showed that industrial progress actually hampers the speed and effectiveness we have as people who were born capable of walking to our desired destinations. Roads, airports, stations, traffic jams, all take away the benefits of using complicated engineered methods of travel, and make our actual travel times longer.

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