Eat your Illich, kids!

Back in More red pills, I introduced Ivan Illich as an uncommonly clear-sighted person. The more I read of him, the more urgently I feel that others should, particularly those who are concerned about the impending changes to our societies as fossil fuels become increasingly expensive. He’s also got plenty of challenging things to say about health care and education.

The man is a prophet, I think, whose message transcends the particulars of the 1970s “developing” world in which he lived and wrote most seminally. There’s surely something to piss off almost anybody in his writings, but I keep coming back for more of the brilliant, humane, hopeful bits embedded in his sometimes difficult prose. It’s not much work to apply his thinking to current (and future!) events, and highly stimulating. I’ve been losing sleep on it, really.

Google now exposes more of Illich’s work than it did a few months ago. I spent many hours marking up Tools for Conviviality from a poorly scanned version I found online a while back, only to find that my efforts are redundant with, e.g., this archive compiled by David Tinapple.

I’ve added my copy under the “Worth reading” heading of this blog, where I suppose I’ll mine it for entry fodder over the coming months, link and annotate passages, and play with some techniques to make such long texts more manageable to read online. I have now added Energy and Equity in the same fashion.

If you’re not ready to dive in to the originals, here’s another introduction emphasizing contemporary relevance.

2 thoughts on “Eat your Illich, kids!”

  • Jim

    One of these rainy days, I have to commit myself to thoroughly reading E&E. I’ve tried, but it isn’t exactly a light read. His verbeage exhausts me within two sentences.

  • Stevenson Munro
    Stevenson Munro April 5, 2007 at 5:51 am

    Interesting that Illich should be so important to you. I read his books ten years ago in college, before I knew that there were alternatives to car culture, and it planted a seed of discontent in me that has influenced very dramatically where I have chosen to live, and how, ever since. But only in the last year have I reached the realization that I must ride my bike ALL the time, and in order to do so I need a small power assist motor like the Stokemonkey.

    Illich came first, the Xtracycle and Stokemonkey followed.

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