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#519#520#521#522 Episode #523 - Ivan Illich and The Collapse of Power
(Nowtopia and Why Money is not Power)



This is a choice episode Sat 30 October 2010  Robert Hutchinson, Ivan Illich, Marshall Rosenberg, Chris Carlsson, George Draffan, David Icke
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2 This week we take a look at that enigmatic modern prophet, Ivan Illich. His writings covered a wide range of areas, from health to technology to economics to church history and way beyond. Robert Hutchinson will give a quick biographical sketch and introduce some of his radical strands of thought, before we focus on a single major prophesy, the sudden collapse of social power, its revelation as a fiction. We link this to the confidence based backing of centralized currency and hear from Marshall Rosenberg, George Draffan and others on related fictions which people internalize as a response to hierarchy.
Ivan Illich was a deep thinker whose varied life and thoughts are not easy to understand or summarize. His knowledge critique of modern institutions was, literally, radical; he put his considerable knowledge of languages to good use to research the origins of modernity. His aversion to modern technology was such that in spite of frequent lecturing, few recordings of him exist. One of the most important sources was a set of interviews he gave to his friend David Cayley, which were subsequently made into a CBC radio series.

Our first hour starts with a summary of Illich's life from Robert Hutchinson, speaking in the 2009 series of lectures "Prophets of Our Time". We then follow up by hear a section from one of the David Cayley audio broadcasts. We hear Ivan Illich speak on the transition that he says occurred in people's mental frameworks in the 1980's, from the age of certainty and instrumentality into the more disorientating age of systems. He condemns ideas of ethical capitalism and protest movements as 'raindances' which spring from people's feelings of powerlessness. We conclude our excerpt by hearing his claim that the modern concept of social power is a fiction, one whose vacuity will be suddenly revealed as such. We make the connection to that greatest of modern collective illusions, the power of money and hear a range of alternative thinkers whose ideas seem to be converging around the idea of working for love, not money before listening to a few minutes from Marshall Rosenberg about the bad consequences of manipulating people to do things through power or threatening them.

In our second hour we comment on the Marshall Rosenberg recording before listening to Chris Carlsson speaking on his book "Nowtopia", which was new when we first broadcast this interview in episode #424. He tells of some of his own activities, such as helping to set up the 'critical mass' bike rides and working on Processed World zine. He then tells of others whom he has researched, such as the the creation of the website. The community, he stresses, is more important than the technology, although celebrating the natural abundance that flows from digital technology's ability to make perfect copies. The bigger picture he paints is that of more and more creative individuals finding themselves deeply unfulfilled by paid work which constrains them, and responding by creating things that break out of the logic of the market. He explains that since there is, in reality, enough of everything for everybody, everyone could live really well if they could just agree to abide by a different set of rules.

Considering what stops people from agreeing a different set of rules, we reflect on how people naturally equate money with power on a deep, perhaps subconscious level, though noting that a few people live without money, even in US and Europe. We listen to a short excerpt from a 2005 George Draffan interview on his book "Welcome to The Machine" which highlights how closely money and power are associated, and consider how emerging software could be used to give people a different lived experience. After clarifying the intimate connection between economic and legal power, we hear a clear message of warning (from David Icke!) to those inside the system of domination.

After a 6 minute excerpt from the earlier George Draffan speech clarifying the need for people to snap out of inculcated obedience and to liberate themselves from the increasingly oppressive domination by hierarchies, we conclude the show by revisiting Illich's opinion from a decade earlier that the old world of hierarchy is in decline, and that a new world of conspiracio is emerging.
This episode rebroadcasts content from 424.
Some of this episode's content is repeated in episode 555.
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