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). Titled “To Hell with Good Intentions,” Illich discusses the deep dangers of paternalism inherent in any “do-gooding” voluntary act of service.
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Anybody in this country who did not finish high school is considered underprivileged. All you will do in a Mexican village is create disorder. Ideally, these people define their role as service.
And finally, in Latin America the Alliance for Progress has been quite successful in increasing the number of people who could not be better off — meaning the tiny, middleclass elites— and has created ideal conditions for military dictatorships.
Today, the existence of organizations like yours is offensive to Mexico. There is no way for you to really meet with the underprivileged, since there is no common ground whatsoever for you to meet on. And finally, you might have invited me here hoping that you would be illihc to agree with most of what I say, and then go ahead in good faith and work this summer in Mexican villages. Therefore you might have invited me here to help the others reach this same decision.
To Hell with Good Intentions (my imaginary conversation with Ivan Illich) | Lessons I Learned
I WILL be able to help…. I do not think that real conversion is possible unless one says: Therefore you might have invited me here to help others reach this same decision. Monsignor Illich had prepared a speech in Cuernavaca before travelling to Chicago; he added introductory remarks after an afternoon attending sessions and meeting with CIASP members.
The fact that you live in huts and eat tortillas for a few weeks renders your well-intentioned group only a bit more picturesque. You will not help anybody by your good intentions. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans. Thus, people who have finished high school are members of a tiny minority.
There is no way for you to really meet with the underprivileged, since there is no common ground whatsoever for you to meet on. In his usual biting and sometimes sarcastic style, Illich goes to the heart of the deep dangers of paternalism inherent in any voluntary service activity, but especially in any international service “mission.
Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. S cannot survive if the rest of the world is not convinced that here we have Heaven on Earth. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves: Intellectual insight into the difficulties of fruitful volunteer action had not sobered the spirit of Peace Corps Papal-and-Self-Styled Volunteers. The marginal masses become rambunctious unless they are given a “Creed,” or belief which explains the status quo.
Not only is there a gulf between what you have and what others have which is much greater than the one existing between you and the poor in your own country, but there is also a gulf between what you feel and what the Mexican people feel that is in comparably greater. Discuss the expressed needs of the host community, the needs and goals of the students themselves, and the broader issues of reciprocity and equity.
I can only conclude that your invitation means one of at least three things: In Asiathe U.
Read the full Illich speech here: Skip to main content. You, like the values you carry, are the products of an American society of achievers and consumers, with its two-party ro, its universal schooling, and its family-car affluence. All three of these efforts seem to be failing. Addressing that mission group at that particular historical epoch, he argues that those people the volunteers aim to help may not all need or want their aid.
Your reports about your work in Mexico, which you so kindly sent me, exude self complacency.
To Hell With Good Intentions
And here please remember that I said “some” -by which I mean a tiny elite in Latin America. The damage which volunteers do willy-nilly is too high a price for the belated inttentions that they shouldn’t have been volunteers in the first place. And finally, you might have invited me here hoping that wiyh 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.
Alternatively, a sample case study has been provided. Before I prepared this statement, I wanted to say something more.
Relate the total cost of the program to the number of annual salaries earned in the host country. The audio tape of this talk hel, shows it did not stray from the remarks represented in this scanned version. Now to my prepared statement. I wiith equally impressed by the hypocrisy of most of you: I did not come here to argue. Initiate a discussion with the students by posing various questions about the upcoming service-learning program.
And you will know when you fail. Ce site utilise des cookies.
To Hell with Good Intentions – Wikipedia
But weapons are not enough to permit minority rule. The only people with whom you can hope to communicate with are some members of the middle class. Intenions return, facilitate a discussion on social responsibility and community engagement with students. I would prepare my statement differently, particularly in style, had I had those five hours of conversation with you. Your reports about your work in Mexicowhich you so kindly sent me, exude self-complacency. In IARDwe are extremely lucky to have partnerships within the Intag region of Ecuador in which we will be working closely with in order to develop a project that they deem most beneficial.
I am here to challenge you to recognize your inability, your powerlessness and your incapacity to do the “good” which you intended to do.
I am sure you know of my present efforts to obtain the voluntary withdrawal of all North American volunteer armies from Latin America – missionaries, Peace Corps members and groups like yours, a “division” organized for the benevolent invasion of Mexico. I do not agree with this argument.
How witth will it cost for each student to participate in the upcoming program?