Frases de Ivan Illich

Ivan Illich Foto
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Ivan Illich

Fecha de nacimiento: 4. Septiembre 1926
Fecha de muerte: 2. Diciembre 2002

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Iván Illich fue un pensador austríaco polifacético y polémico, clasificado como anarquista, autor de una serie de críticas a las instituciones clave del progreso en la cultura moderna. Criticó la educación escolar, la medicina profesional y de patente, el trabajo ajeno y no creador, y el consumo voraz de energía necesaria para el desarrollo económico como una negación de la equidad y la justicia social, entre otros muchos temas.[1]​ Su obra se inscribe dentro de las corrientes antiindustriales.

Su esplendor surgió al conocerse sus primeras publicaciones en los años 70, para caer luego en un ciclo de reinterés y aparente olvido, pues su lectura están ligadas al surgimiento de diversos movimientos sociales .

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Frases Ivan Illich

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„Jesus was an anarchist savior. That's what the Gospels tell us.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: Jesus was an anarchist savior. That's what the Gospels tell us. Just before He started out on His public life, Jesus went to the desert. He fasted, and after 40 days he was hungry. At this point the diabolos, appeared to tempt Him. First he asked Him to turn stone into bread, then to prove himself in a magic flight, and finally the devil, diabolos, "divider," offered Him power. Listen carefully to the words of this last of the three temptations: (Luke 4,6:) "I give you all power and glory, because I have received them and I give them to those whom I choose. Adore me and the power will be yours." It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit, and sends the devilcumpower to Hell. Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as "devil" and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a "helping institution" that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it. The Educational enterprise in the Light of the Gospel (13 November 1988) http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/1988_Educational.html.

„Pupil, puppet, person, eye. It is not my mirror.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: I want to just go back to a great rabbinical and also, as you see, monastic, Christian development beyond what the Greeks like Plato or Cicero already knew about friendship. That it is from your eye that I find myself. There's a little thing there. They called it pupilla, a "puppet" of myself which I can see in your eye. The black thing in your eye. Pupil, puppet, person, eye. It is not my mirror. It is you making me the gift of that which Ivan is for you. That's the one who says "I" here. I'm purposely not saying, this is my person, this is my individuality, this is my ego. No. I'm saying this is the one who answers you here, whom you have given to him.

„This breaking of the limitations of hospitality to a small in-group, of offering it to the broadest possible in-group, and saying, you determine who your guest is, might be taken as the key message of Christianity.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: This breaking of the limitations of hospitality to a small in-group, of offering it to the broadest possible in-group, and saying, you determine who your guest is, might be taken as the key message of Christianity. Then in the year 300 and something, finally the Church got recognition. The bishops were made into something like magistrates. The first things those guys do, these new bishops, is create houses of hospitality, institutionalizing what was given to us as a vocation by Jesus, as a personal vocation, institutionalizing it, creating roofs, refuges, for foreigners. Immediately, very interesting, quite a few of the great Christian thinkers of that time, 1600 years ago (John Chrysostom is one), shout: "If you do that, if you institutionalize charity, if you make charity or hospitality into an act of a non-person, a community, Christians will cease to remain famous for what we are now famous for, for having always an extra mattress, a crust of old bread and a candle, for him who might knock at our door." But, for political reasons, the Church became, from the year 400 or 500 on, the main device for roughly a thousand years of proving that the State can be Christian by paying the Church to take care institutionally of small fractions of those who had needs, relieving the ordinary Christian household of the most uncomfortable duty of having a door, having a threshold open for him who might knock and whom I might not choose.

„Explicitly, corporeally, the central Christian celebration was understood as a co-breathing, a con-spiracy, the bringing about of a common atmosphere, a divine milieu.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The Latin osculum is neither very old nor frequent. It is one of three words that can be translated by the English, "kiss." In comparison with the affectionate basium and the lascivious suavium, osculum was a latecomer into classical Latin, and was used in only one circumstance as a ritual gesture: In the second century, it became the sign given by a departing soldier to a woman, thereby recognizing her expected child as his offspring. In the Christian liturgy of the first century, the osculum assumed a new function. It became one of two high points in the celebration of the Eucharist. Conspiratio, the mount-to-mouth kiss, became the solemn liturgical gesture by which participants in the cult-action shared their breath or spirit with one another. It came to signify their union in one Holy Spirit, the community that takes shape in God's breath. The ecclesia came to be through a public ritual action, the liturgy, and the soul of this liturgy was the conspiratio. Explicitly, corporeally, the central Christian celebration was understood as a co-breathing, a con-spiracy, the bringing about of a common atmosphere, a divine milieu.

„A transformation of the environment from a commons to a productive resource constitutes the most fundamental form of environmental degradation.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: A transformation of the environment from a commons to a productive resource constitutes the most fundamental form of environmental degradation. This degradation has a long history, which coincides with the history of capitalism but can in no way just be reduced to it. Unfortunately the importance of this transformation has been overlooked or belittled by political ecology so far. It needs to be recognized if we are to organize defense movements of what remains of the commons. This defense constitutes the crucial public task for political action during the eighties. The task must be undertaken urgently because commons can exist without police, but resources cannot. Just as traffic does, computers call for police, and for ever more of them, and in ever more subtle forms. By definition, resources call for defense by police. Once they are defended, their recovery as commons becomes increasingly difficult. This is a special reason for urgency.

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„The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. Addicted to being carried along, he has lost control over the physical, social, and psychic powers that reside in man's feet. The passenger has come to identify territory with the untouchable landscape through which he is rushed. He has become impotent to establish his domain, mark it with his imprint, and assert his sovereignty over it. He has lost confidence in his power to admit others into his presence and to share space consciously with them. He can no longer face the remote by himself. Left on his own, he feels immobile. The habitual passenger must adopt a new set of beliefs and expectations if he is to feel secure in the strange world where both liaisons and loneliness are products of conveyance. To "gather" for him means to be brought together by vehicles. He comes to believe that political power grows out of the capacity of a transportation system, and in its absence is the result of access to the television screen. He takes freedom of movement to be the same as one's claim on propulsion. He believes that the level of democratic process correlates to the power of transportation and communications systems. He has lost faith in the political power of the feet and of the tongue. As a result, what he wants is not more liberty as a citizen but better service as a client. He does not insist on his freedom to move and to speak to people but on his claim to be shipped and to be informed by media. He wants a better product rather than freedom from servitude to it. It is vital that he come to see that the acceleration he demands is self-defeating, and that it must result in a further decline of equity, leisure, and autonomy. "Energy and Equity" (1974).

„By definition, resources call for defense by police. Once they are defended, their recovery as commons becomes increasingly difficult. This is a special reason for urgency.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: A transformation of the environment from a commons to a productive resource constitutes the most fundamental form of environmental degradation. This degradation has a long history, which coincides with the history of capitalism but can in no way just be reduced to it. Unfortunately the importance of this transformation has been overlooked or belittled by political ecology so far. It needs to be recognized if we are to organize defense movements of what remains of the commons. This defense constitutes the crucial public task for political action during the eighties. The task must be undertaken urgently because commons can exist without police, but resources cannot. Just as traffic does, computers call for police, and for ever more of them, and in ever more subtle forms. By definition, resources call for defense by police. Once they are defended, their recovery as commons becomes increasingly difficult. This is a special reason for urgency.

„Peace as the commingling of soil and waters sounds cute to my ears; but peace as the result of conspiratio exacts a demanding, today almost unimaginable intimacy.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The other eminent moment of the celebration was, of course, the comestio, the communion in the flesh, the incorporation of the believer in the body of the Incarnate Word, but communio was theologically linked to the preceding con-spiratio. Conspiratio became the strongest, clearest and most unambiguously somatic expression for the entirely non-hierarchical creation of a fraternal spirit in preparation for the unifying meal. Through the act of eating, the fellow conspirators were transformed into a "we," a gathering which in Greek means ecclesia. Further, they believed that the "we" is also somebody's "I"; they were nourished by shading into the "I" of the Incarnate Word. The words and actions of the liturgy are not just mundane words and actions, but events occurring after the Word, that is, after the Incarnation. Peace as the commingling of soil and waters sounds cute to my ears; but peace as the result of conspiratio exacts a demanding, today almost unimaginable intimacy. The practice of the osculum did not go unchallenged; documents reveal that the conspiratio created scandal early on. The rigorist African Church Father, Tertullian, felt that a decent matron should not be subjected to possible embarrassment by this rite. The practice continued, but not its name; the ceremony required a euphemism. From the later third century on, the osculum pacis was referred to simply as pax, and the gesture was often watered down to some slight touch to signify the mutual spiritual union of the persons present through the creation of a fraternal atmosphere. Today, the pax before communion, called "the kiss of peace," is still integral to the Roman, Slavonic, Greek and Syrian Mass, although it is often reduced to a perfunctory handshake.

„Enclosure, once accepted, redefines community.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: Enclosure, once accepted, redefines community. Enclosure undermines the local autonomy of community. Enclosure of the commons is thus as much in the interest of professionals and of state bureaucrats as it is in the interest of capitalists. Enclosure allows the bureaucrats to define local community as impotent — "ei-ei schau-schau!!!" — to provide for its own survival. People become economic individuals that depend for their survival on commodities that are produced for them. Fundamentally, most citizens' movements represent a rebellion against this environmentally induced redefinition of people as consumers.

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„Discreet silence about the issue I am raising seemed preferable to creating a misunderstanding.
Then… I suddenly realized that there is indeed a very simple word that says what I cherished and tried to nourish, and that word is peace.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The impending loss of spirit, of soul, of what I call atmosphere, could go unnoticed. Only persons who face one another in trust can allow its emergence. The bouquet of friendship varies with each breath, but when it is there it needs no name. For a long time I believed that there was no one noun for it, and no verb for its creation. Each time I tried one, I was discouraged; all the synonyms for it were shanghaied by its synthetic counterfeits: mass-produced fashions and cleverly marketed moods, chic feelings, swank highs and trendy tastes. Starting in the seventies, group dynamics retreats and psychic training, all to generate "atmosphere," became major businesses. Discreet silence about the issue I am raising seemed preferable to creating a misunderstanding. Then… I suddenly realized that there is indeed a very simple word that says what I cherished and tried to nourish, and that word is peace. Peace, however, not in any of the many ways its cognates are used all over the world, but peace in its post-classical, European meaning. Peace, in this sense, is the one strong word with which the atmosphere of friendship created among equals has been appropriately named. But to embrace this, one has to come to understand the origin of this peace in the conspirator, a curious ritual behavior almost forgotten today.

„In the Christian liturgy of the first century, the osculum assumed a new function. It became one of two high points in the celebration of the Eucharist.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The Latin osculum is neither very old nor frequent. It is one of three words that can be translated by the English, "kiss." In comparison with the affectionate basium and the lascivious suavium, osculum was a latecomer into classical Latin, and was used in only one circumstance as a ritual gesture: In the second century, it became the sign given by a departing soldier to a woman, thereby recognizing her expected child as his offspring. In the Christian liturgy of the first century, the osculum assumed a new function. It became one of two high points in the celebration of the Eucharist. Conspiratio, the mount-to-mouth kiss, became the solemn liturgical gesture by which participants in the cult-action shared their breath or spirit with one another. It came to signify their union in one Holy Spirit, the community that takes shape in God's breath. The ecclesia came to be through a public ritual action, the liturgy, and the soul of this liturgy was the conspiratio. Explicitly, corporeally, the central Christian celebration was understood as a co-breathing, a con-spiracy, the bringing about of a common atmosphere, a divine milieu.

„Inevitably modern technology has polarized society. It has polluted the environment.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: Inevitably modern technology has polarized society. It has polluted the environment. It has disabled very simple native abilities and made people dependent on objects... Like an automobile which makes the world inaccessible, when actually in Latin "automobile" means "using your feet to get somewhere." The automobile makes it unthinkable. I was recently told, "You're a liar!" when I said to somebody I walked down the spine of the Andes. Every Spaniard in the sixteenth, seventeenth century did that. The idea that somebody could just walk! He can jog perhaps in the morning, but he can't walk anywhere! The world has become inaccessible because we drive there.

„The appropriation of the environment by the few was clearly recognized as an intolerable abuse.“

—  Ivan Illich
Context: The appropriation of the grassland by the lords was challenged, but the more fundamental transformation of grassland (or of roads) from commons to resource has happened, until recently, without being subjected to criticism. The appropriation of the environment by the few was clearly recognized as an intolerable abuse. By contrast, the even more degrading transformation of people into members of an industrial labour force and into consumers was taken, until recently, for granted. For almost a hundred years the majority of political parties has challenged the accumulation of environmental resources in private hands. However, the issue was argued in terms of the private utilization of these resources, not the distinction of commons. Thus anticapitalist politics so far have bolstered the legitimacy of transforming commons into resources.

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