Category Archives: Ivan Illich series

We value only what we can measure

In all the literature I have read, I know of few statements more profound than the following quote from St Exupery’s Little Prince:

The wise fox

My secret is this. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye

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Made in China

I live in Australia. Today, the 21st of May 2013, I am sitting in bed typing this blog entry on an iPad which I reluctantly purchased for my job (at my employer’s expense mind you!), and which is made in China. I am surrounded by furniture, clothes, books, electronics and perishables that are all made in China or Bengladesh.

No, this is not one of these I-wonder-what-life-would-be-like-without-X type of blog entry. T’is no fantasy, no mere chimeric musing, but a protest, a revolt, a mutiny!

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Keeping up with the world… or creating it?

A typical response to my controversial challenges of ubiquitous elements of our modern lives is that we need these things to keep up with an ever-changing world. I would like to challenge this notion by offering another:

By keeping up with the world in this way, aren’t we contributing to what the world is becoming? We send our kids to school to prepare them for a world that is massively influenced by schooling itself. We buy the latest technological gadget to remain at the forefront of the consumerism that our purchases have unwittingly promoted.

So when people look at what I do and say “wow that’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?”, I like to reflect on what it means to be “extreme” in a world in which the once extreme is increasingly common, and the once common is increasingly extreme!

In other words, I’m trying to be mindful of the ways in which my lifestyle choices influence the world in which my children will grow up. If they are to change the world into something better, they need to be exposed to ideas and experiences that are foreign to what the world currently accepts as conventional wisdom.


Reflections on Ivan Illich, #1

I am currently reading 2 of Ivan Illich’s eye-opening books, “deschooling society” and “tools of conviviality”. I’ve been highlighting many passages from these books, and making occasional side notes. I think I should share some of these here on this blog. So here comes the first, in the context of my first clinical psychology placement coming to an end.

I find it amazing that, to learn to become a psychologist, we must sit down and endure the pedagogy of other psychologists–despite their common lack of teaching skills–while being completely restrained from observing them in the exercise of the very skills they are presumably trying to teach us.

From such a model of skill transmission, only one learning outcome is guaranteed: the factual knowledge that certain lecturing psychologists have slightly less of a soporific effect on their audience than most!


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