Monthly Archives: July 2021

Ivan Illich and the Coming Cultural Revolution

Ivan Illich

Do educational institutions make people stupid? Do medical institutions make people sick?

Such questions may at first glance seem preposterous, but they were raised in all seriousness a few decades ago by Ivan Illich, and strongly argued in his books, Deschooling Society (1971) and Medical Nemesis (1975). In both cases his arguments stem from his overarching belief that as institutions become too large and too centralized they end up doing the exact opposite of what they are intended to do. Over the subsequent decades, we’ve seen mounting evidence that Illich was correct in his assessments. In our attempts to improve efficiency, eliminate uncertainty, and get more done in less time, we have allowed everything to become too big, too rigid, too fast, and too centrally controlled. In the process the individual has become ever more helpless and alienated and more dependent on impersonal institutions that are being corrupted by their power and inherent conflicts of interest. As Illich argues, we have become slaves to our institutions and our myths about who we are and how the world works. George Bernard Shaw spoke similarly in declaring that all professions are “conspiracies against the laity.”

Ivan Illich (1926–2002) was a Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher, and social critic, who became famous in the 1970s and 80s, and although his fame may have faded a bit in recent years, his ideas and works have been, and remain highly influential and are now more relevant than ever. Notable in this regard are such resources as The International Journal of Illich Studies, the upcoming, The Philosophy of Ivan Illich: An 8-Week Course, being offered by Nina Power, PhD, and a brand new book by noted journalist and broadcaster, David Cayley, titled, Ivan Illich:An Intellectual Journey (2021).

Cayley has followed the work of Illich since the 1960s, and in 1989 he visited Penn State University where Illich was then teaching, to record a series of interviews that were then used in a five part series in Cayley’s Ideas program that aired on CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Company). That series titled, “Part Moon, Part Travelling Salesman: Conversations with Ivan Illich,” was comprised of one hour segments that included biographical information and comments about Illich and his ideas by others who knew him. The series is now available online and can be accessed here.

I became an instant admirer of Illich and his work in the early 1980s after reading both of the above mentioned books, as well as his prescriptive work, Tools for Conviviality (1973). In the latter he points out what Wikipedia calls “the institutionalization of specialized knowledge,” and “the dominant role of technocratic elites in industrial society.” Illich argues in favor of “appropriate technology” and the reacquisition of practical knowledge and simple tools that empower people and help to build community. In short, he calls for a general deinstitutionalization of society and a reconceptualization of what it means to be human.We have, by and large, internalized the belief that we are, in Illich’s words, “poor, sick and ignorant,” and in need of institutional services to remedy that situation.

In August of 1989 I had the honor of welcoming Illich to give a presentation at the 8th Assembly of the Fourth World and Decentralist Congress that was held in Toronto, Canada. As President at that time of the School of Living, the sponsoring organization, I served as moderator of the event which also included presentations by such insightful thinkers and activists as Leopold Kohr and John Papworth.  

Both Cayley and I have taken Illich’s insights to heart in our personal responses to the ongoing crisis of civilization and to its latest manifestation, the “pandemic” and official reactions to it. Cayley’s sentiments are expressed in his recent post, Concerning Life, in which he delves deeply into Iliich’s expressions of what the word “life” actually means and what Illich meant when he said that life has become “an idol” and “a fetish.” He and I seem to share the view that the concept of life has been distorted in the public mind as Christendom, and religious institutions in general, have tried to accommodate with a materialistic civilization that is now unraveling.

For me it comes down to this: Life is more than breath and pulse, flesh and blood, muscle and bone. The fear of death inhibits true life which is more than physical, it is spiritual– free, adventuresome, and spontaneous and open to unknown possibilities. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). And this, from a more secular point of view states the same essential truth: Life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die. –W.H. Auden.

God grant that I might find the courage to push through my fear whenever it arises, to embrace my destiny, and choose to truly live.  

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The Great Asset Grab

One does not need to scratch very deep beneath the surface to see what is actually going on in the world or why it is being done. Look around, which companies have been thriving through the “pandemic,” which business have been shut down or forced into bankruptcy, who is buying up residential real estate in every city, who is the biggest owner of farmland in the United States?

In a recent interview with Greg Hunter, my friend and long time correspondent Catherine Austin Fitts clearly and concisely explains what I’m calling The Great Asset Grab  This brief excerpt sums it up.

Investment advisor and former Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts contends CV19 and vaccines to cure it are all part of the “Going Direct Reset.”  Fitts explains, “This is so simple at the root.  The central bankers are using the government to shut down the main street economy, and then they are going direct and injecting money into the private equity firms and Wall Street who are running around the country buying things.  Think of this as a leverage buyout of the world.  We are being purchased with our own money.  Also, we are liable.  If you look at all the debt the government is issuing, our assets are liable for that debt.  This is a continuation and consolidation of the financial coup that we have been taking about.”

It is all part of the Great Reset that World Economic Forum founder and its mainstay, Klaus Schwab has been promoting, and gives real credibility to his contention that, in the New World Order, “you will own nothing…,” adding, “and you will be happy.” Well, I will not be happy living as a powerless farm animal or house pet. Will you?

Fitts and her team have also provided some forms to help you resist demands that violate your rights. Visit Solari.com and/or click the links below.  

Employer & School Disclosure Forms for Covid-19 Injections

Form for Employees Whose Employers Are Requiring Covid-19 Injections

Form for Students Attending Colleges or Universities Requiring Covid-19 Injections

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Upcoming Presentation — Solar Dollars

This presentation was recorded and can now be viewed on the Zero Carbon Lab website at http://zerocarbonlab.com/rzcc-2021/videos/ThomasGreco.html or here.

On Monday July 12, 2021, I will be presenting my proposal for a currency based on, and redeemable for renewable energy. My presentation titled, Solar Dollars: Unblocking Multi-dimensional Mega-crisis with Complementary Currency Obtained from the Sun, will be part of a two day virtual conference titled Pathways to Resilient Zero Carbon Cities organized by Zero Carbon Lab, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire (UK). My presentation is scheduled for 16:15 – 16:45 GMT (11:15-11:45 EDT; 08:15-08:45 PDT and Arizona time), You can register for the conference via this link – please book early as the number of registrations is limited.