Illich 1974

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"Such a society, in which modern technologies serve politically interrelated individuals rather than manager, I will call 'convivial'." (xii)

convivial: "a technical term to designate a modern society of responsibly limited tools" (xii)

"Education, nthe mails, social work, transportation, and even civil engineering have followed this evolution. At first, new knowledge is applied to the solution of a clearly stated problem and scientific measuring sticks are applied to account for the new efficiency. But at a second point, the progress demonstrated in a previous achievement is used as a rationale for the exploitation of society as a whole in the service of a value which is determined and constantly revised by an element of society, by one of its self-certifying professional elites." (7)
"The crisis can be solve only if we learn to invert the present deep structure of tools; if we give people tools that guarantee their right to work with high, independent efficiency, thus simultaneously eliminating the need for either slaves or masters and enhancing each person's range of freedom. People need new tools to work with rather than tools that 'work' for them. They need technology to make the most of the energy and imagination each has, rather than more well-programmed energy slaves." (10)
"As the power of machines increases, the role of persons more and more decreases to that of mere consumers." (11)
"I choose the term 'conviviality' to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man-made environment. I consider conviviality to be indivudal freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value. I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain elvel, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively satisfy the needs it creates among society's members." (11)
"As an alternative to technocratic disaster, I propose the vision of a convivial society. A convivial society would be the result of social arrangements that guarantee for each member the most ample and free access to the tools of the community and limit this freedom only in favor of another member's equal freedom." (12)

Comenius; link between education and alchemy; "Education became the search for an alchemic process that would bring forth a new type of man who would fit into an environment created by scientific magic." (19)

  • "redefinition of learning as schooling" (19)
"The commodity called 'education' and the institution called 'school' make each other necessary. the circle can be broken only by a widely shared insight that the institution has come to define the purpose. Values abstractly stated are reduced to mechanical processes that enslave men. This serfdom can be broken only by the joyful self-recognition of the fool who assumes personal responsibility for his folly." (19)
"A convivial society should be designed to allow all its members the most autonomous action by means of tools least controlled by others. People feel joy, as opposed to mere pleasure, to the extent that their activities are creative; while the growth of tools beyond a certain point increases regimentation, dependence, exploitation, and impotence." (20)
"Tools are intrinsic to social relationships. An individual relates himself in action to his society through the use of tools that he actively masters, or by which he is passively acted upon. to the degree that he masters his tools, he can invest the world with his meaning: to the degree that hte is mastered by his tools, the shape of the tool determines his own self-image. Convivial tools are those which give each person who uses them the greatest opportunity to enrich the environment with the fruits of his or her vision. Industrial tools deny this possibility to those who use them and they allow their designers to determine the meaning and expectations of others. Most tools today cannot be used in a convivial fashion." (21)
"Tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user. the use of such tools by one person does not restrain another from using them equally. They do not require previous certification of the user. Their existence does not impose any obligation to use them. They allow the user to express his meaning in action." (22)
"Each man's ability to produce change depends on his ability to control low-entropy energy. On this control of energy depends his right to give his meaning to the physical environment. His ability to act toward the future he chooses depends on his control of the energy that gives shape to that future. Equal freedom in a society that uses large amounts of environmental energy means equal control over the transformation of that energy and not just an equal claim to what has been done with it." (42)

radical monopoly: one type of product / process exercises exclusive control over satisfying a need

overprogramming: learning by primary experience reduced; instead, are "educated" in esoteric systems designed by someone else

"Those who treat education as a means for production and those who treat education as the supreme luxury product agree on the need for more education. They upset the balance of learning in favor of more teaching. They assume that a modern world is inevitably so alien that it has passed beyond the reach of people and can be known only by mystagogues and disciples." (60)
"The industrial manufacture and marketing of knowledge reduce the access of people to convivial tools for self-initiated learning. Witness the fait of the book. The book is the result of two major inventions that enormously extended the balance of learning: the alphabet and the printing press. both techniques are almost ideally convivial. Almost anybody can learn to use them, and for his own purpose. They use cheap materials. People can take them or leave them as they wish. They are not easily controlled by third parties. ... The alphabet and the printing press have in principle deprofessionalized the recorded word. With the alphabet the merchant broke the monopoly of the priest over hieroglyphs. With cheap paper and pencil, and later with the typewriter and modern copying devices, a set of new techniques had in principles opened the era of nonprofressional, truly convivial, communication by record. The tape recorder and camera added new media to fully interactive communication. Yet the manipulative nature of institutions and schooling for the acceptance of manipulation have put these ideally convivial tools at the service of more one-way teaching." (64)
"At its best the library is the prototype of a convivial tool. Repositories for other learning tools can be organized on its model, expanding access to tapes, pictures, records, and very simple labs filled with the same scientific instruments with which most of the major breakthroughs of the last century were made." (65)
"The world does not contain any information. It is as it is. Information about it is created in the organism through tis interaction with the world. To speak about storage of information outside the human body is to fall into a semantic trap. Books or computers are part of the world. They can yield information when they are looked upon. We move the problem of learning and of cognition nicely into the blind spot of our intellectual vision if we confuse vehicles for potential information with information itself. We do the same when we confuse data for potential decision with decision itself." (86)
"Language which is used by a people jointly claiming and asserting each person's right to share in the shaping of the community becomes, so to speak, a second-order tool to clarify the relationships of a people to engineered instrumentalities." (91)
"Like ordinary English, formal process is a convivial tool. Undoubtedly, industrial institutions have entrenched themselves by corrupting the habitual use of these tools by individuals and communities. Yet language and formal process remain intrinsically distinct from the purposes for which they are used. People can defend language and legal procedure as inherently theirs; they can find in their inalienable natures the confidence to use their unchanged formal structures to express contents entirely opposed to those for which they were taught to use them in their childhood." (97)