Ivan Illich and Ecological Thinking

In addition to my previous posting on Western education scholar’s application of the concept of ecology, I have found Ivan Illich (1926-2002) interesting. Illich is a non-indigenous thinker, but his works seem to provide an alternative and ecological view on Western mainstream education and Western conception of technology.  Some of his writings are available online at the Preservation Institute.  There is an International Journal committed to the study of Illich; one of article published in the journal compares Illich and Daniel Goleman (which I introduced in my previous posting) in terms of the concept ecological intelligence (the article written by C.A. Bowers).

With regard to ecological thinking, Illich in his book Tools for Conviviality suggested the concept of conviviality which means “individual freedom realized in personal interdependence”. He criticizes industrially-oriented use of technology, while searching for a convivial society which is 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”. Illich’s thought implies that an alternative and ecological thinking in the West can have some points overlapping with indigenous ecological thinking, although his ecological thinking is not as fully holistic as that of indigenous peoples.

Ky (Module 3: #3)

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