An Austrian philosopher who founded the Intercultural Documentation Center in Mexico, Ivan Illich was known as a “maverick social critic” of contemporary. CIASP Canada – This talk was delivered on the evening of Saturday April 20 at St . Mary’s Lake of the Woods Seminary in Niles (Chicago). Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich, who was also a Roman Catholic priest, was Titled “To Hell with Good Intentions,” Illich discusses the deep.

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I am here to entreat you to use your money, your intentios and your education to travel in Latin America. The marginal masses become rambunctious unless they are given a “Creed,” or belief which explains the status quo.

More information about the toolkit authors. I wanted to make this statement in order to explain why I feel sick about it all and in order to make you aware that good intentions have not much to do with what we are discussing here.

How odd that nobody ever thought about spending money to educate poor Mexicans in order to prevent them from the culture-shock of meeting you! During several of his visits to Toronto he was to be interviewed on CBC. In Asia, the U. The idea that every American has something to give, and at all times may, can and should give it, explains why it occurred to students that they could help Mexican peasants “develop” by spending qith few months in their villages.

I do have deep faith in the enormous good will of the U. It is quite possible that this hypocrisy is unconscious in most of you. Perhaps there is also something to the argument that young men intentiosn be promiscuous for a while in order to find out that sexual love is most beautiful in a monogamous relationship. You come from a country which industrialized early, and which succeeded in incorporating the great majority of its citizens into the middle classes.

Initiate a discussion with the students by posing various questions about the upcoming service-learning program.

However, whether we realize it or not, we all have preeminent mostly subconscious biases, that may reflect the way we undertake and lead. Perhaps this is the moment to instead bring home to the people of the U.

There exists the argument that some returned volunteers have gained insight into the damage they have done to others – and thus become more mature people. Let me explain this statement, and also let me explain why most Latin Americans with whom you might be able to communicate would disagree with me. The fact that you live in huts and eat tortillas for a few weeks renders your well-intentioned group only a bit more picturesque.


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Soon you would be made aware of your irrelevance among the poor, of your status as middle-class college students on a summer assignment. This last possibility is only open to those who do not listen, or who cannot understand me. Also the program was created by a local of Intag and developed to foster cross community collaboration and learning.

In Latin America the situation is quite different.

You can only dialogue with those like you – Latin American imitations of the North American middle class. Intellectually, you are ready to see that the motivations which could legitimate volunteer action overseas in cannot be invoked for the same action in Skip to main content.

What is the nature of the program and the program purpose? To hell with good intentions. And finally, you might have invited me here hoping that you would be able to agree with most of what I say, and then go ahead in good faith and work this summer in Mexican villages. Anybody in this country who did not finish high school is considered underprivileged. You start on your task without any training.

To hell with good intentions. I am here to suggest that you voluntarily renounce exercising the power which being an American ihtentions you.

I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans. Your very insight, your ivn openness to evaluations of past programs make you hypocrites because you – or at least most of you – have decided to spend this next summer in Mexico, and therefore, you are unwilling to go far enough in your reappraisal of your program.

Just like everything, the notion of service leadership has its critics. You ililch also have invited me because you want to learn how to deal with people who think the way I do – how to dispute them successfully.


I have reached the conclusion that, quite conceivably, there are ibtentions few people who could profit from the experience of the past years of CIASP and develop some kind of educational agency which makes it possible for North American students to live in Mexico.

It is no social distinction in the U.

Ivan Illich, To hell with good intentions, | Et vous n’avez encore rien vu

Wifh the same time, a middle class in the United States is the majority. Ideally, these people define their role as service. The survival of the U. I now see that too much money, too many vested illlich, too many illusions back CIASP to allow this organization to disappear.

You, like the values you carry, are the products of an American society of achievers and consumers with its two party system, its universal schooling, and its Family car affluency. If you have any sense of responsibility, at all, stay with your riots here at home. All you will do in a Mexican village is create disorder.

I was goood impressed, by what I interpret as a step forward among would be volunteers like you: There is no way for you to really meet with the underprivileged, since there is no common ground whatsoever for you to meet on. I hekl to make this statement in order to explain why I feel sick about it all and in order to make you aware that good intentions have not much to do with what we are discussing here.

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How can Intentinos meet [Ethiopians] who can tell me to “go to hell” and therefore try to develop meaningful relationships with them? And you will know when you fail.

The only people with whom you can hope to communicate with are some members of the middle class. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans. This original document was not edited and this document reflects the exact wording and punctuation used by Illich.

Next to money and guns, the third largest North American export is the U.