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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You might also have invited me because you want to learn how to deal with people who think the way I do — how to dispute with them successfully, and how to refute them.

In Mexico, it is a tiny elite. It is only among these people that you will find your educational equals. 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 suggest that you voluntarily renounce exercising the power which being an American gives you.

Et vous n’avez encore rien vu… Critique de la science et du scientisme ordinaire. All over the globe the U. In Latin America the situation is quite different: The marginal masses become rambunctious unless they are given a “Creed,” or belief which explains the status quo. 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. Although we are presently in a very different time period, I believe that the gist of his speech is still important today.

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The major contact was with Mr.

Now, it is among the members of this middle class that you will find a few people who are willing to waste their time with you. This original document was not edited and this document reflects the exact wording and punctuation used by Illich.

To Hell With Good Intentions

Anybody in this country who did not finish high school is considered underprivileged. Intellectually, you are ready to see that the motivations which could legitimate volunteer action overseas in cannot be invoked for the same action in What are the pitfalls of travel that Illich mentions that most worry me?

The very frustration which participation in CIASP programs might mean for you, could lead you to new awareness: Heol Illich is the author of Deschooling Society and other provocative books. I was impressed by your insight that the motivation of US volunteers overseas springs mostly from very alienated feelings and concepts.

The damage which volunteers do willy-nilly is too high a price for the belated insight that they shouldn’t have been volunteers in the first place. On coming here I considered it my duty to continue my efforts toward getting you out of business.

And it is profoundly damaging to yourselves when you define something that you want to do as “good,” a “sacrifice” and “help. Intenttions years ago your country began and financed a so-called ” Alliance for Progress. In recent years, there has been astonishing growth in international programming that embeds service-learning or some form of community engagement.

Therefore you might have invited me here illixh help others reach this same decision. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans.


By definition, you cannot help being ultimately vacationing salesmen for the middle-class “American Way of Life,” since that is really the only life you know.

The only people with whom you can hope helo communicate with are sons of the middle class. I would have maybe then realized I should walk away, because he told me directly, and I realized that he was right: You will not help anybody by your good intentions. Are materials are being brought with the group and at what cost or bought locally? This last possibility on1y open to those who do not listen, or who cannot understand me.

After the small group discussions, move from Illich to facilitate a broader discussion of what all of this means for the upcoming service-learning program. And finally, you come to help the underdog accept his destiny within this process!

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

Determine how many students in the group speak the host country language. More information about the toolkit authors.

Your reports on past summers prove that you are not even capable of understanding that your do-gooding in a Mexican village is even less relevant than it would be in a U. I do have deep faith in the enormous good will of the U.