Zitate von Ivan Illich

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Ivan Illich

Geburtstag: 4. September 1926
Todesdatum: 2. Dezember 2002

Ivan Illich war ein austroamerikanischer Autor, Philosoph, Theologe und römisch-katholischer Priester.

Zitate Ivan Illich

„The Latin osculum is neither very old nor frequent. It is one of three words that can be translated by the English, "kiss."“

—  Ivan Illich

The Cultivation of Conspiracy (1998)
Kontext: 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.

„While once friendship in our western tradition was the supreme flower of politics, I think that if community life exists at all today, it is in some way the consequence of friendship cultivated by each one who initiates it.“

—  Ivan Illich

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: While once friendship in our western tradition was the supreme flower of politics, I think that if community life exists at all today, it is in some way the consequence of friendship cultivated by each one who initiates it. This goes beyond anything which people usually talk about, saying each one of you is responsible for the friendships he/she can develop, because society will only be as good as the political result of these friendships.

„Community in our European tradition is not the outcome of an act of authoritative foundation, nor a gift from nature or its gods, nor the result of management, planning and design, but the consequence of a conspiracy, a deliberate, mutual, somatic and gratuitous gift to each other.“

—  Ivan Illich

The Cultivation of Conspiracy (1998)
Kontext: Community in our European tradition is not the outcome of an act of authoritative foundation, nor a gift from nature or its gods, nor the result of management, planning and design, but the consequence of a conspiracy, a deliberate, mutual, somatic and gratuitous gift to each other. The prototype of that conspiracy lies in the celebration of the early Christian liturgy in which, no matter their origin, men and women, Greeks and Jews, slaves and citizens, engender a physical reality that transcends them. The shared breath, the con-spiratio are the "peace" understood as the community that arises from it.

„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

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: 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.

„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, buch Energy and Equity

"Energy and Equity" (1974).
Kontext: 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.

„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

Silence is a Commons (1982)
Kontext: 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.

„Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and that such machines force people to behave like machines. The new electronic devices do indeed have the power to force people to "communicate" with them and with each other on the terms of the machine. Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use.“

—  Ivan Illich

Silence is a Commons (1982)
Kontext: Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and that such machines force people to behave like machines. The new electronic devices do indeed have the power to force people to "communicate" with them and with each other on the terms of the machine. Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use.
The machine-like behaviour of people chained to electronics constitutes a degradation of their well-being and of their dignity which, for most people in the long run, becomes intolerable. Observations of the sickening effect of programmed environments show that people in them become indolent, impotent, narcissistic and apolitical. The political process breaks down, because people cease to be able to govern themselves; they demand to be managed.

„Enclosure, once accepted, redefines community.“

—  Ivan Illich

Silence is a Commons (1982)
Kontext: 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.

„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

The Cultivation of Conspiracy (1998)
Kontext: 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

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: 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.

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

—  Ivan Illich

Silence is a Commons (1982)
Kontext: 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.

„Friendship in the Greek tradition, in the Roman tradition, in the old tradition, was always viewed as the highest point which virtue can reach.“

—  Ivan Illich

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: Friendship in the Greek tradition, in the Roman tradition, in the old tradition, was always viewed as the highest point which virtue can reach. Virtue, meaning here, "the habitual facility of doing the good thing," which is fostered by what the Greeks called politaea, political life, community life. I know it was a political life in which I wouldn't have liked to participate, with the slaves around and with the women excluded, but I still have to go to Plato or to Cicero. They conceived of friendship as a supreme flowering, of the interaction which happens in a good political society.

„Here is the right word. Hospitality was a condition consequent on a good society in politics, politaea, and by now might be the starting point of politaea, of politics. But this is difficult because hospitality requires a threshold over which I can lead you — and TV, internet, newspaper, the idea of communication, abolished the walls and therefore also the friendship, the possibility of leading somebody over the door.“

—  Ivan Illich

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: Here is the right word. Hospitality was a condition consequent on a good society in politics, politaea, and by now might be the starting point of politaea, of politics. But this is difficult because hospitality requires a threshold over which I can lead you — and TV, internet, newspaper, the idea of communication, abolished the walls and therefore also the friendship, the possibility of leading somebody over the door. Hospitality requires a table around which you can sit and if people get tired they can sleep. You have to belong to a subculture to say, we have a few mattresses here. It's still considered highly improper to conceive of this as the ideal moments in a day or a year. Hospitality is deeply threatened by the idea of personality, of scholastic status. I do think that if I had to choose one word to which hope can be tied it is hospitality. A practice of hospitality— recovering threshold, table, patience, listening, and from there generating seedbeds for virtue and friendship on the one hand — on the other hand radiating out for possible community, for rebirth of community.

„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.“

—  Ivan Illich

The Cultivation of Conspiracy (1998)
Kontext: 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.

„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“

—  Ivan Illich

The Educational enterprise in the Light of the Gospel (13 November 1988) http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/1988_Educational.html.
Kontext: 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 shared breath, the con-spiratio are the "peace" understood as the community that arises from it.“

—  Ivan Illich

The Cultivation of Conspiracy (1998)
Kontext: Community in our European tradition is not the outcome of an act of authoritative foundation, nor a gift from nature or its gods, nor the result of management, planning and design, but the consequence of a conspiracy, a deliberate, mutual, somatic and gratuitous gift to each other. The prototype of that conspiracy lies in the celebration of the early Christian liturgy in which, no matter their origin, men and women, Greeks and Jews, slaves and citizens, engender a physical reality that transcends them. The shared breath, the con-spiratio are the "peace" understood as the community that arises from it.

„Homo economicus was surreptitiously taken as the emblem and analogue for all living beings. A mechanistic anthropomorphism has gained currency.“

—  Ivan Illich

"Brave New Biocracy: Health Care from Womb to Tomb" NPQ: New Perspectives Quarterly, Vol. 11, Issue 1 (Winter 1994) http://brandon.multics.org/library/Ivan%20Illich/against_life.html.
Kontext: Homo economicus was surreptitiously taken as the emblem and analogue for all living beings. A mechanistic anthropomorphism has gained currency. Bacteria are imagined to mimic "economic" behavior and to engage in internecine competition for the scarce oxygen available in their environment. A cosmic struggle among ever more complex forms of life has become the anthropic foundational myth of the scientific age.

„Churches also have their problems with a Jesus whose only economics are jokes.“

—  Ivan Illich

The Educational enterprise in the Light of the Gospel (13 November 1988).
Kontext: Churches also have their problems with a Jesus whose only economics are jokes. A savior undermines the foundations of any social doctrine of the Church. But that is what He does, whenever He is faced with money matters. According to Mark 12:13 there was a group of Herodians who wanted to catch Him in His own words. They ask "Must we pay tribute to Caesar?" You know His answer: "Give me a coin – tell me whose profile is on it!." Of course they answer "Caesar's."
The drachma is a weight of silver marked with Caesar's effigy.
A Roman coin was no impersonal silver dollar; there was none of that "trust in God" or adornment with a presidential portrait. A denarius was a piece of precious metal branded, as it were, like a heifer, with the sign of the personal owner. Not the Treasury, but Caesar coins and owns the currency. Only if this characteristic of Roman currency is understood, one grasps the analogy between the answer to the devil who tempted Him with power and to the Herodians who tempt Him with money. His response is clear: abandon all that which has been branded by Caesar; but then, enjoy the knowledge that everything, everything else is God's, and therefore is to be used by you.
The message is so simple: Jesus jokes about Caesar. He shrugs off his control. And not only at that one instance… Remember the occasion at the Lake of Capharnaum, when Peter is asked to pay a twopenny tax. Jesus sends him to throw a line into the lake and pick the coin he needs from the mouth of the first fish that bites. Oriental stories up to the time of Thousand Nights and One Night are full of beggars who catch the fish that has swallowed a piece of gold. His gesture is that of a clown; it shows that this miracle is not meant to prove him omnipotent but indifferent to matters of money. Who wants power submits to the Devil and who wants denarri submits to the Caesar.

„Traditionally the gaze was conceived as a way of fingering, of touching. The old Greeks spoke about looking as a way of sending out my psychopodia, my soul's limbs, to touch your face and establish a relationship between the two of us.“

—  Ivan Illich

We the People interview (1996)
Kontext: Traditionally the gaze was conceived as a way of fingering, of touching. The old Greeks spoke about looking as a way of sending out my psychopodia, my soul's limbs, to touch your face and establish a relationship between the two of us. This relationship was called vision. Then, after Galileo, the idea developed that the eyes are receptors into which light brings something from the outside, keeping you separate from me even when I look at you. People began to conceive of their eyes as some kind of camera obscura. In our age people conceive of their eyes and actually use them as if they were part of a machinery. They speak about interface. Anybody who says to me, "I want to have an interface with you," I say, "please go somewhere else, to a toilet or wherever you want, to a mirror." Anybody who says, "I want to communicate with you," I say, "Can't you talk? Can't you speak? Can't you recognize that there's a deep otherness between me and you, so deep that it would be offensive for me to be programmed in the same way you are."

„Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting.“

—  Ivan Illich, buch Deschooling Society

Ritualization of Progress.
Deschooling Society (1971)
Kontext: Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being "with it," yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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