"The medical establishment has become a major threat to health. The disabling impact of professional control over medicine has reached the proportions of an epidemic. Iatrogenesis, the name for this new epidemic, comes from iatros, the Greek word for physician, and genesis, meaning origin. Discussion of the disease of medical progress has moved up on the agendas of medical conferences, researchers concentrate on the sick-making powers of diagnosis and therapy, and reports on paradoxical damage caused by cures for sickness take (...) up increasing space in medical dope-sheets [...] The public has been alerted to the perplexity and uncertainty of the best among its hygienic caretakers [...] This book argues that panic is out of place. Thoughtful public discussion of the iatrogenic pandemic, beginning with an insistence upon demystification of all medical matters, will not be dangerous to the commonweal."-- from Introduction. (shrink)
During the 1980s Illich added another dimension to his thought through the study of Medieval history. In the current volume he aims to demonstrate the extent to which the groundwork for the institutions that characterize our world today was laid in the twelfth century.
"Ivan Illich alights on such topics as education, history, language, politics, and the church. The conversations range over the whole of Illich's published work and public career as a priest, vice-rector of a university, founder of the Centre for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and author of such classics as Tools for Conviviality, Medical Nemesis, and Deschooling Society.".
[opening paragraph] -- I am convinced that `health' and `responsibility' belong to a lost past and that, since I am neither a romantic, a visionary, nor a drop-out, I must renounce both of them. We are occupied with a reflection on contemporary certainties and their history, that is, on assumptions which seem so commonplace that they escape critical testing. Over and over again we find that the renunciation of these very certainties offers the only possibility remaining for us to take (...) up a critical position regarding that which Jacques Ellul calls la technique. As we want to free ourselves from these assumptions, not just run away, my reaction to `taking responsibility for one's own health' is an emphatic `no!'. (shrink)
A collection of writings from Dalmatian-Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest, and radical cultural critic Ivan Illich. Focuses on Illich's shorter writings from his early publications through the rise of his remarkable intellectual career, making available works that had fallen into undue obscurity"--Provided by publisher.