Friday, September 16, 2011

An appreciation of Illich in light of "climate change"

A man named Robert Hutchison, a member of the city council in Winchester, U.K., spoke about Ivan Illich in 2009 as part of a series of talks called "Prophets for Our Time." A recording of his talk (in MP3) and the text (PDF) are available for downloading from this page.

Mr. Hutchison's articulate, half-hour talk provides a good overview of Illich's thought and life, from his critique of important institutions to his explorations of how the Church has profoundly shaped Western thought and society.

He summarizes: "To recap on these three of Illich's ideas – and I hope that I am not caricaturing them: the institutionalising of charity has inadvertently resulted in a betrayal of Christian faith. In the last 30 years we've been through a terrifying change – the incorporation of our lives into a world of systems that cannot effectively be controlled – but that friendship is a pre-condition for the search for truth and the search for truth must continue even while recognising our 'radical powerlessness'."

Mr. Hutchison frames his discussion of Illich with the issue of climate change, aka global warming. He is a founder of an outfit called Winchester Action on Climate Change - a "network of local people, businesses and organisations working together to transform Winchester into a low carbon district."

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