Tributes to Ivan Illich
on the Occasion of his Death
(from Jerry Mintz's Education Revolution E-news):
In memory of Ivan Illich, we have gathered some quotes about him and reactions to his passing below. For more on Illich, see

From Utne Reader's Erica Sagrans:

"Ivan Illich - sociologist, former priest, thinker on issues of technology, education, religion, and science, died Monday, December 2, [2002] at the age of 76. A scholar and author, Illich held degrees in theology, history, and chemistry, and was a professor at various colleges. Illich is probably most widely known for his book Deschooling Society, in which he argues that compulsory education is more successful at perpetuating systems of inequality than it is at inspiring scholarship or creating democratic citizens. Illich made radical critiques of the institutionalization of religion and science, and of society's worship of technology and development. He once said, "In an age that denies death and deforms reality, simple acts of kindness, personal relations bound by friendship, are celebrations of sense - the embrace, the kiss, the face-to-face conversation - in a sense-less world of artificial intelligence and electronic communities."
Erich Fromm, in his introduction to Celebration of Awareness (Illich 1973: 11) describes Ivan Illich:
"The author is a man of rare courage, great aliveness, extraordinary erudition and brilliance, and fertile imaginativeness, whose whole thinking is based on his concern for man's unfolding - physically, spiritually and intellectually. The importance of his thoughts... lies in the fact that they have a liberating effect on the mind by showing new possibilities; they make the reader more alive because they open the door that leads out of the prison of routinized, sterile, preconceived notions."
From Chris Mercogliano, co-director of Albany Free School:
"I had the honor and privilege of spending a weekend with Illich when he was still doing his annual fall seminar at Penn State. He received me warmly and was very interested in the Free School and in the status of midwifery in New York State. I attended the informal Saturday morning seminar that he holds on the floor of his office and was blown away both by the immensity of his intellect and the absolute absence of pretense. This is a great loss -- there will be no more where he came from."
From Bill Ellis of TRANET/A Coalition for Self-learning:
"I knew Ivan quite well. For a few years we published a series of essays that came from his colleagues in the TRANET Newsletter. At one time he commented that he read TRANET to find out what books to read. We hosted a Maine Conference with him once. And I hosted a conference with him at a U.N. conference in Vienna."

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