By Ivan Illich
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Extra resources for Beyond Economics and Ecology: The Radical Thought of Ivan Illich
Only if learning is the result of teaching can individuals be raised to the fullness of their humanity. People who learn without being taught are more like animals than men. And the school system must be so organized that all, old and young, rich and poor, noble and low, men and women, be taught effectively, not just symbolically and ostentatiously. These are the thoughts written by the potential president of Harvard. But he never crossed the Atlantic. By the time Winthrop met him, he had already accepted the invitation of the Swedish government to organize a national system of schools for Queen Christina.
And in the same way, for people who were intentionally taught to listen and to speak, untutored vernacular seems just like another, albeit less developed, model among many. But this is simply false. Language exempt from rational tutorship is a different kind of social phenomenon from language that is purposefully taught. Where untutored language is the predominant marker of a shared world, a sense of power within the group exists, and this sense cannot be duplicated by language that is delivered.
As Illich elaborated in Taught Mother Tongue, it was then that priests became pastors by defining their “own services as needs of human nature” and by linking salvation to the obligatory consumption of those services. Illich proposed to resuscitate the word “vernacular” in its historical reference to what is “homemade, homegrown and homebred”, as a more fitting term than “subsistence”, “human economies”, or “informal sectors”, to refer to what people do for themselves, whether that is singing, cultivating crops, building homes or playing.
Beyond Economics and Ecology: The Radical Thought of Ivan Illich by Ivan Illich