Who is Ivan Illich?June 25, 2021
Ivan Illich, (1926-2002) Austrian philosopher and social critic. Contemporary western culture, institutions and education, working life, use of energy, economic development, health, etc. He has written critical reviews on the effects of
He was born in Vienna in 1926, the son of a Croatian father and a Sephardic-Jewish mother. Due to his father’s income, he had the opportunity to travel to many countries. While he knew Italian, French and German as his mother tongues, he later switched to Serbo-Croatian, Ancient Greek and Latin languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi etc. also added. He studied Histology and Crystallography at the University of Florence in Italy, theology and philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in the Vatican, and Medieval History in Salzburg. He was appointed vice president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. In 1961 he founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC, International Documentation of Center) in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The center’s research led to conflict with the Vatican and the CIA.
Although Illich was popular in the left intellectual circles in France in the 1970s, after the election of François Mitterrand in 1981, when the French left came to power, his influence in these circles decreased day by day as his views were found to be too pessimistic.
Later in his life, he contracted cancer and resorted to traditional methods instead of institutionalized medicine, which he criticized. He consulted a doctor about the tumor in the early stages of his illness, but was told that his ability to speak was very likely to be lost. He lived to the end of his life with the tumor he called “my mortality”.
from his works
(From The Festive Society)
The overdevelopment of tools threatens people in very new ways. While these threats are similar to traditional drudgery and unfair treatment, they form a new category. Because they are the same people who create them and their victims: those who both command and demand tools that know no bounds in destructiveness. In this game, although some win at the beginning, everyone loses everything in the end…
The cost of the demands of vehicles on people is increasing day by day. The increase in the cost of putting man in the service of his means is manifested in the shift of weight from goods to services in all production. In order to break the balance of life’s resistance to the dynamics of growing industries, man needs to be directed and controlled more and more. This referral takes the form of educational, medical and managerial treatment. Education creates competitive consumers; medicine enables them to survive in the directed environment they are beginning to need; bureaucracy reflects the necessity of exercising social control so that people can perform meaningless jobs. Parallel to this, the rise in the cost of maintaining new levels of privilege by the army, police, and security measures indicates that there are inevitably two types of slaves in the consumer society: those enslaved by indispensable habits and those enslaved by envy.
(From The Schoolless Society)
The school system today fulfills three functions that have historically held true for strong churches. The school is both the source of the myth of society, the institutionalization of the contradictions of this myth, and the ritual space that will reproduce and hide the discord between myth and reality… The view that a free society can be formed in a modern school is a paradoxical claim. Ensuring individual freedom is completely overlooked in a teacher’s engagement with her students. When the teacher combines his personality with the functions of judgment, ideology and doctor, the basic structure of society is diverted from its purpose by the process that needs to be prepared for life. Combining these three forces, a teacher further restricts the student’s rights than laws that create a student’s legal or economic underage status or restrict the right to free assembly. Bending the trees while they are wet is a sacred and unique duty that dear teachers sincerely fulfill.
(From The Extortion of Health)
Unfortunately, the medical service, which is not only beneficial but also harmless, is insignificant compared to the damage that the growing medical institution has done to today’s society. The pain, dysfunction, disability and pain caused by technical medical interventions have competed with traffic and work accidents and even war-related activities today, making the harms of medicine one of the fastest spreading epidemics of our time… The West, which has always insisted on keeping its power separate from law and religion. medicine, on the contrary, has now gone beyond them. In some industrial societies, social labeling is medicalized to the point where every deviance carries a medical label. Thus, the obscurity of the moral element of medical diagnosis endowed the authority of Asclepius with totalitarian power.