This is a wonderful page of tributes to Illich who died in Bremen, Germany on December 2, 2002. He was 76. I have been deeply influenced by Illich. His book, Deschooling Society was important to me in the early 70’s in setting up “four Avenues – School Without Walls”. At the time I sis not want to call it a school at all, but a Community Participation Project. I was persuaded for practical reasons to go with the word “school” – I do not have the absolute devotion to principle of Ivan Illich. It actually got a lot worse and was renamed “Four Avenues Alternative School” – which strangely did not bother me too much because by then that is what it had become.
What do Illich’s ideas mean for psychotherapy? I imagine the ideas would highlight the sickness of institutions that enshroud it.
I recommend this page! Worth reading & easy to read, a good intro to Illich – another valuable er, outsider. Here are some paragraphs from the section by Jerry Brown:
Among the serious thinkers I have had the privilege to meet, Ivan Illich alone embodied in his personal life as well as in his work, a radical distancing from the imperatives of modern society. From Deschooling Society (1971) to In the Vineyard of the Text (1993), he bore witness to the destructive power of modern institutions that ‘create needs faster than they can create satisfaction, and in the process of trying to meet the needs they generate, they consume the earth.’
Ivan Illich was the rarest of human beings: erudite, yet possessed of aliveness and sensitivity. He savored the ordinary pleasures of life even as he cheerfully embraced its inevitable suffering. Steeped in an authentic Catholic tradition, he observed with detachment and as a pilgrim the unforgiving allure of science and progress. With acute clarity and a sense of humor, he undermined, in all that he wrote, the uncontested certitudes of modern society.
I have some earlier Illich posts on this blog: