Zitate von Ivan Illich

(04.09.1926 Wien - 02.12.2002 Bremen)

Als 68er war mir Ivan Illich schon mit seinen frühen Veröffentlichungen aufgefallen. Seine höchst unkonventionellen, anarchistischen Ideen begeisterten mich. Meine Wertschätzung wuchs, als ich 1973 längere Zeit die USA bereiste und mir zur Theorie den Selbst-Praxisunterricht gab. Illichs Sicht vom "Bildungsgeflecht" versus dem üblichen "Bildungstrichter" sprach vom "web", als das Internet noch unbekannt war. Er schlug Modelle vor, die den heutigen des cyber space ähneln, aber ohne die negativen Aspekte der Vereinzelung: ihm schwebte ein Netzwerk vor, das als "interaktiv" zu bezeichnen ein Pleonasmus wäre.
Er zeigte nicht nur eine Sprachempfindsamkeit, sondern auch gesellschafltich verantwortliche Wachheit, als er die Mechanismen der Abhängigkeitsproduktion durch Betreuung bzw. Behandlung darlegte, den Verdinglichungsaspekt klärte, kurz, all jene Massnahmen und Programme kritisierte, die die Einzelnen mehr verwalten und in Abhängigkeit halten, anstatt zu emanzipieren. Seine Sichten galten und gelten für die hochentwickelte Welt wie für die davon stark abhängige, sogenannte Dritte. Er zeigte auf, wie das Gleichheitskredo zum Terror wird, ohne aber in die resignierende Ohnmacht zu verfallen.

Heute, einige seiner Schriften wiederlesend bzw. Schlussfolgerungen aus den gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen ziehend wünschte ich, wir hätten mehr solche Geister und ich selbst vermöchte mehr zu wirken als ich es vermag. Es geht nicht um Rechthaben oder Schadenfreude, es geht nicht um Prophetie oder beckmesserisches Besserwissen hintennach. Es geht um eine Reflexion, ein Bedenken und, vor allem, ein Handeln, das sich kritischer Prüfung zu unterziehen vermag. Also geht es um ein fröhliches Ernstnehmen der Aufklärung.

Ivan Illich verstarb am 2. Dezember 2002 im Alter von 76 Jahren in Bremen.

Born in Vienna in 1926, Illich grew up in south-central Europe. He studied natural science, philosophy, theology, and history. During the 1950s he worked as a parish priest among Puerto Ricans in New York City, then served as vice-rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. During the 1960s he founded centers for cross- cultural studies, first in Puerto Rico then in Cuernavaca, Mexico. During the 1970s his Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC) became an internationally respected focus for intellectual discussion. Since the 1980s he has divided his time between Mexico, the United States, and Germany. He currently holds an appointment as Visiting Professor of Philosophy and of Science, Technology, and Society at Penn State. He also teaches at the University of Bremen.
(From the Penn State University Ivan Illich Homepage)

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue's responsibility until it engulfs his pupils' lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.
(From the introduction of DESCHOOLING SOCIETY (1970) (deutsch 1972 Kösel-Verlag München, 1973 rororo 6826)

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 endeavor 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.
I will show that the institutionalization of values leads inevitably to physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence: three dimensions in a process of global degradation and modernized misery. I will explain how this process of degradation is accelerated when nonmaterial needs are transformed into demands for commodities; when health, education, personal mobility, welfare, or psychological healing are defined as the result of services or "treatments."
(Deschooling Society)

Few countries today remain victims of classical poverty, which was stable and less disabling. Most countries in Latin America have reached the "take-off" point toward economic development and competitive consumption, and thereby toward modernized poverty: their citizens have learned to think rich and live poor. Their laws make six to ten years of school obligatory. Not only in Argentina but also in Mexico or Brazil the average citizen defines an adequate education by North American standards, even though the chance of getting such prolonged schooling is limited to a tiny minority. In these countries the majority is already hooked on school, that is, they are schooled in a sense of inferiority toward the better-schooled. Their fanaticism in favor of school makes it possible to exploit them doubly: it permits increasing allocation of public funds for the education of a few and increasing acceptance of social control by the many.
(Deschooling Society)

All over the world the school has an anti-educational effect on society: school is recognized as the institution which specializes in education. The failures of school are taken by most people as a proof that education is a very costly, very complex, always arcane, and frequently almost impossible task.
(Deschooling Society)

Obligatory schooling inevitably polarizes a society; it also grades the nations of the world according to an international caste system. Countries are rated like castes whose educational dignity is determined by the average years of schooling of its citizens, a rating which is closely related to per capita gross national product, and much more painful.
(Deschooling Society)

The escalation of the schools is as destructive as the escalation of weapons but less visibly so. Everywhere in the world school costs have risen faster than enrollments and faster than the GNP; everywhere expenditures on school fall even further behind the expectations of parents, teachers, and pupils. Everywhere this situation discourages both the motivation and the financing for large-scale planning for nonschooled learning. The United States is proving to the world that no country can be rich enough to afford a school system that meets the demands this same system creates simply by existing, because a successful school system schools parents and pupils to the supreme value of a larger school system, the cost of which increases disproportionately as higher grades are in demand and become scarce.
(Deschooling Society)

Two centuries ago the United States led the world in a movement to disestablish the monopoly of a single church. Now we need the constitutional disestablishment of the monopoly of the school, and thereby of a system which legally combines prejudice with discrimination. The first article of a bill of rights for a modern, humanist society would correspond to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "The State shall make no law with respect to the establishment of education." There shall be no ritual obligatory for all. (...)
To detach competence from curriculum, inquiries into a man's learning history must be made taboo, like inquiries into his political affiliation, church attendance, lineage, sex habits, or racial background. Laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of prior schooling must be enacted. Laws, of course, cannot stop prejudice against the unschooled-nor are they meant to force anyone to intermarry with an autodidact but they can discourage unjustified discrimination.
(Deschooling Society)

Hay que reconocer que la incorporación de algo más de un cierto quantum de energía por unidad de un producto industrial inevitablemente tiene efectos destructores, tanto en el ambiente sociopolítico como en el ambiente biofísico... más allá de cierto nivel de uso per capita de energía física, el ambiente de una sociedad deja de funcionar como nicho de su población...
Frecuentemente nos olvidamos que la aceleración de los viajes es un hecho muy nuevo. Valery tenía razón afirmando que Napoleón aún se movía a la lentitud de César...
Tanto los pobres como los ricos deberán superar la ilusión de que más energía es mejor...
Energía y equidad

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
Tools for Conviviality

A just society would be one in which liberty for one person is constrained only by the demands created by equal liberty for another.
Tools for Conviviality

This new impotence-producing poverty must not be confused with the widening gap between the consumption of rich and poor in a world where basic needs are increasingly shaped by industrial commodities. That gap is the form traditional poverty assumes in an industrial society, and the conventional terms of class struggle appropriately reveal and reduce it. I further distinguish modernized poverty from the burdensome price exacted by the externalities which increased levels of production spew into the environment. It is clear that these kinds of pollution, stress, and taxation are unequally imposed. Correspondingly, defenses against such depredations are unequally distributed. But like the new gaps in access, such inequities in social costs are aspects of industrialized poverty for which economic indicators and objective verification can be found. Such is not true for the industrialized impotence which affects both rich and poor. Where this kind of poverty reigns, life without addictive access to commodities is rendered either impossible or criminal. Making do without consumption becomes impossible, not just for the average consumer but even for the poor. All forms of welfare, from affirmative action to environmental action, are of no help. The liberty to design and craft one's own distinctive dwelling is abolished in favor of the bureaucratic provision of standardized housing, as in the United States, Cuba or Sweden. The organization of employment, skills, building resources, rules, and credit favor shelter as a commodity rather than as an activity. Whether the product is provided by an entrepreneur or an apparatchik, the effective result is the same: citizen impotence, our specifically modern experience of poverty.
Toward a History of Needs


Zum ersten Todestag Ivan Illichs findet unter dem Titel "Philia - im Freien Denken" ein Internationales Symposion an der Universität Bremen statt (5. - 7. Dezember 2003). Informationen: Prof. Dr. Johannes Beck, Universität Bremen, FB 12, Institut für Kulturforschung und Bildung, www.pudel.uni-bremen.de

Au fil de mes lectures par Gilles G. Jobin: citations de Ivan Illich

Circle for Research on Proportionality (CROP) Kreis mit und um Ivan Illich an der Uni Bremen, wo lllich auch lehrt: Hier findet ihr Notizen, Manuskripte und Schriften einer Reihe von Freunden um Ivan Illich, und natürlich auch von Ivan Illich selber. (deutsch und englisch)

Dans le miroir du passé, Conférences et discours, 1978-1990. Ivan Illich Traduit de l'anglais par M. Sissung et M. Duchamp

"informel education" (infed.org) explores key aspects of Ivan Illich's theory and his continuing relevance for informal education and lifelong learning

Ivan Illich Org (Mexiko; in Spanisch)

Ivan Illich: Taught Mother Tongue and Nation State, 3:25 min (has Audiofile)

Ivan Illich: Vernacular values

Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown. We the People, KPFA - March 22, 1996 (transcript)

IVAN ILLICH in association with Matthias Rieger: THE WISDOM OF LEOPOLD KOHR

Ivan Illich interviewed by David Cayley: The Rise of Homo Economicus, 3:27 min (has Audiofile)

L'Enzyclopédie de l'Agora: Biographie en résumé de Ivan Illich (incl. oeuvres de Ivan Illich)

The Ivan Illich Archive (by Ira Woodhead / Frank Keller)

Zu Ivan Illich im Co-Forum

Le Monde Diplomatique Januar 2003