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January 08, 2007



Hi Kes,

Just checking in on the new site. This post is pertinent to me (don't know about anything else). Have thought about very similar thing for Edinburgh - although I can't read French, so don't really know what this site is doing. I recognise many of its ills, believe me, and Baudrillard would have had a field day with it. But some small part of me thinks a site like this just might make people accessible to each other who otherwise wouldn't be. Precisely the people who ARE set back from the frontline of hospitality, who our networks never reach. The challenge is how to make it a) functional, b) inclusive, and as you say, c) dispensible. And I'm sure Illich wasn't rejecting challenges outright. S


No, I don't think he was. But he was trying to get around hospitality being viewed as a problem that needed a technical solution. I think that's his view of what a challenge is.

'How are we going to get this car fixed?' is a challenge which requires people to think rationally, budget etc.

'How am I going to be friendly to my neighbours?' is not a challenge. It doesn't require a brainstorm.

But it is attractive to posit it as a challenge, because this allows a degree of separation. By 'technicalizing' it, we remove ourselves slightly from it, and 'darken the glass' a little. Why? Because meeting face to face contains both the greatest fulfilment and greatest fear for us...


See if you can find the book, 'The Rivers North of the Future," which is Illich's last testament, as told to David Cayley, his best interviewer. And while you are at it, look here - http://www.altruists.org/ - for MP3 recordings of a radio show based on the same set of interviews. The program is called 'The Corruption of Christianity.' Book and radio program have Illich explaining his belief, based on historical evidence, not just faith, that the West, this society which we live in, with all of its terrible consequences and crises and inequalities and extremes, is best explained as a perversion of the New Testament. He also posits a theory about the source of our abounding belief in and pursuit of technology. And much more. If nothing else, you must hear his reading, quite radical, of the story of the Good Samaritan. It feeds directly into his discussion of hospitality, which is a key theme of Illich's.

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