Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ivan Illich illustrated: Deschooling Society

Quotes from Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich  

art by Emma Holister

An artist's perspective in pictures

"If we add those engaged in full time teaching to those in full time attendance, we realize that this so-called superstructure has become society's major employer.   In the United States sixty-two million are in school and eighty million at work elsewhere . . .

The New Alienation


"Only if school is understood as an industry can revolutionary strategy be planned realistically  . . . 

Alienation, in the traditional scheme, was a direct consequence of work's becoming wage-labor which deprived man of the opportunity to create and be recreated. ... 

Now young people are prealienated by schools that isolate them while they pretend to be both producers and consumers of their own knowledge, which is conceived of as a commodity put on the market in school. 

School makes alienation preparatory to life, thus depriving education of reality and work of creativity.  

School prepares for the alienating institutionalization of life by teaching the need to be taught.

Once this lesson is learned, people lose their incentive to grow in independence; they no longer find relatedness attractive, and close themselves off to the surprises which life offers when it is not predetermined by institutional definition. 

And school directly or indirectly employs a major portion of the population.  

School either keeps people for life or makes sure that they will fit into some institution.

The New World Church is the knowledge industry, both purveyor of opium and the workbench during an increasing number of the years of an individual's life.  

Deschooling is, therefore, at the root of any movement for human liberation.

Rebirth of Epimethean Man


"Our society resembles the ultimate machine which I once saw in a New York toy shop . . . 

. . . It was a metal casket which, when you touched a switch, snapped open to reveal a mechanical hand . . . 

. . . Chromed fingers reached out for the lid, pulled it down, and locked it from the inside.  

It was a box; you expected to be able to take something out of it; yet all it contained was a mechanism for closing the cover. 

This contraption is the opposite of Pandora's 'box'.

The original Pandora, the All-Giver, was an Earth goddess in prehistoric matriarchal Greece.  She let all ills escape from her amphora (pythos).  But she closed the lid before Hope could escape.

The history of modern man begins with the degradation of Pandora's myth and comes to an end in the self-sealing casket.

It is the history of the Promethean endeavor to forge institutions in order to corral each of the rampant ills. 

It is the history of fading hope and rising expectations . . . 

To understand what this means we must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation. 

Hope, in its strong sense, means trusting faith in the goodness of nature, while expectation, as I will use it here, means reliance on results which are planned and controlled by man. . . .

Hope centers desire on a person from whom we await a gift. 

Expectation looks forward to satisfaction from a predictable process which will produce what we have the right to claim.  The promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope.

Ritualization of progress (p.50)

“Pedagogical therapists will drug their pupils more in order to teach them better, and students will drug themselves more to gain relief from the pressures of teachers and the race for certificates.  Increasingly larger numbers of bureaucrats will presume to pose as teachers.  The language of the schoolman has already been co-opted by the adman.  Now the general and the policeman try to dignify their professions by masquerading as educators.”

“Repression will be seen as a missionary effort to hasten the coming of the mechanical Messiah.”

“The totally destructive and constantly progressive nature of obligatory instruction will fulfill its ultimate logic unless we begin to liberate ourselves right now from our pedagogical hubris...”

“The manipulation of men and women begun in school has also reached a point of no return, and most people are still unaware of it.  They still encourage school reform, as Henry Ford III proposes less poisonous automobiles.”

“What is surprising about this dissonance is the ability of a very large number of people to tolerate it.”

“As long as an individual is not explicitly conscious of the ritual character of the process through which he was initiated to the forces which shape his cosmos, he cannot break the spell and shape a new cosmos.  As long as we are not aware of the ritual through which school shapes the progressive consumer – the economy’s major resource – we cannot break the spell of this economy and shape a new one.”

Death Against Death


"Francis Bacon was the first to speak about the prolongation of life as a new task for physicians.  He divided medicine into three offices: 'First, the preservation of health, second, the cure of disease, and third, the prolongation of life,' and extolled the 'third part of medicine, regarding the prolongation of life: this is a new part, and deficient, although the most noble of all.'  The medical profession did not even consider facing this task, until, some one hundred and fifty years later, there appeared a host of clients who were anxious to pay for the attempt.  This was a new type of rich man who refused to die in retirement and insisted on being carried away by death from natural exhaustion while still on the job" 

Institutional Spectrum


"Most utopian schemes and futuristic scenarios call for new and costly technologies, which would have to be sold to rich and poor nations alike. . . All of today's futuristic planners seek to make economically feasible what is technically possible while refusing to face the inevitable social consequence: the increased craving of all men for goods and services that will remain the privilege of a few."

(below sketches: giftig in german = poisonous, gift = poison)


quotes from ivan illich - deschooling society - artwork by Emma Holister

For the uncensored versions of the above Fatman Bound and Gagged series, please visit Emma's former art blog's Portraits and Sketches page (blocked by twitter, no doubt as a result of her work against the forced drugging regime)

Artwork in

The Pier

Doctored Accounts (Eng)

Comptes Soignes (Fr)

Comics Medico (Sp)


Portraits and Sketches

End of the Line

Far Out

Related articles

Mandating Vaccines is Murder - SB277, the virology ideology and Pasteur's legacy of laboratories Tom and Mae Torlakson's Family of 'innocence':The Visage of Vichy Revisited (this article includes a link to San Francisco artist James Torlakson's artworks on his daughter Elisabeth's anti-depressant-related suicide)

Controlled Opposition : Twenty Questions You Never Dared to Ask by Emma Holister

How to Make a Geodesic Dome: Eliminate Heating Bills and Homelessness Panic Attacks

No comments: