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Ivan Illich Quotes (17 Quotes)


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  • There is no greater distance than that between a man in prayer and God.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Any attempt to reform the university without attending to the system of which it is an integral part is like trying to do urban renewal in New York City from the twelfth story up.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Effective health care depends on self-care; this fact is currently heralded as if it were a discovery.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet; in an environment equally fit for birth, growth work, healing, and dying... Healthy people need no bureaucratic interference to mate, give birth, share the human condition and die.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • School divides life into two segments, which are increasingly of comparable length. As much as anything else, schooling implies custodial care for persons who are declared undesirable elsewhere by the simple fact that a school has been built to serve them.
    (Ivan Illich)


  • At the moment of death I hope to be surprised.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Latin America can no longer tolerate being a haven for United States liberals who cannot make their point at home, an outlet for apostles too apostolic to find their vocation as competent professionals within their own community.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • The compulsion to do good is an innate American trait. Only North Americans seem to believe that they always should, may, and actually can choose somebody with whom to share their blessings. Ultimately this attitude leads to bombing people into the acceptance of gifts.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Man must choose whether to be rich in things or in the freedom to use them.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Leadership does not depend on being right.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • The public school has become the established church of secular society.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Exporting Church employees to Latin America masks a universal and unconscious fear of a new Church. North and South American authorities, differently motivated but equally fearful, become accomplices in maintaining a clerical and irrelevant Church. Sacralizing employees and property, this Church becomes progressively more blind to the possibilities of Sacralizing person and community.
    (Ivan Illich)

  • Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school
    (Ivan Illich)

  • It takes more time and effort and delicacy to learn the silence of a people than to learn its sounds. Some people have a special gift for this. Perhaps this explains why some missionaries, notwithstanding their efforts, never come to speak properly, to communicate delicately through silences. Although they 'speak with the accent of natives' they remain forever thousands of miles away. The learning of the grammar of silence is an art much more difficult to learn than the grammar of sounds.
    (Ivan Illich)


    More Ivan Illich Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Education - Death & Dying - People - Communities - Learning - Health - Man - Blessings - Facts - Hope - Liberty & Freedom - Society & Civilization - Birth - Duty - Envy & Jealousy - Home - Medicine & Medical - Silence - Art - Christianity - View All Ivan Illich Quotations

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