It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sajay Samuel, interviewed about Illich and "the vernacular"

A group of radical environmentalists in the U.K. called The Dark Mountain Project has published an interview with Sajay Samuel that touches on Ivan Illich and his ideas about "the vernacular." Sajay looks carefully at the charge that Illich was a romantic. The interview is available for listening here with an MP3-based recording of the interview available, as well.

We've always been impressed and intrigued by Sajay. His credentials are in the discipline of business, and he now serves as Clinical Associate Professor of Accounting & STS at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. Yet, he was a member of Illich's inner circle. He also was one of the people that David Cayley interviewed for his series of radio programs, 'How to Think About Science':

"Today it is a commonplace that science requires us to renounce the evidence of our senses if we are to understand the true nature of things. The truth lies behind or beneath the appearances. This loss of the senses has fateful consequences, according to Sajay Samuel, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University. Without common sense, he says, science fills ours entire horizon - leaving us no place to stand outside of science, and no basis on which to judge what science produces."

The 49-minute interview with Sajay was conducted in June, 2011, by Dougald Hine, a fellow Illich admirer. He describes himself as "a speaker, a writer or a creator of organisations, projects and events."

The Dark Mountain Project describes itself so:

This project starts with our sense that civilisation as we have known it is coming to an end; brought down by a rapidly changing climate, a cancerous economic system and the ongoing mass destruction of the non-human world. But it is driven by our belief that this age of collapse – which is already beginning – could also offer a new start, if we are careful in our choices.

The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.

Deeper than oil, steel or bullets, a civilisation is built on stories: on the myths that shape it and the tales told of its origins and destiny. We have herded ourselves to the edge of a precipice with the stories we have told ourselves about who we are: the stories of ‘progress’, of the conquest of ‘nature’, of the centrality and supremacy of the human species.

It is time for new stories. The Dark Mountain Project intends to conjure into being new ways of seeing and writing about the world. We call this Uncivilisation.

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Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.