Disabling professions

is an excellent book by Ivan Illich et al (isbn 0-7145-2510-3). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
Finally there is is the American valuation on instrumentalism - an emphasis on doing - on doing something, almost anything when confronted with a problem. "Doing nothing in a difficult situation" was interestingly enough an item diagnostic of neuroticism on a popular American psychological test. Sometimes the emphasis on movement became so great that speed itself was emphasised - sometimes for no logical reason.
It does not strike me as inconsistent, that religion and notions of the hereafter are especially relevant when "the here" is so lousy and so short.
Man has no nature, only a history [Ortega Y Gassett]
there seems to be an absence of informal and comfortable places to gather and talk and thus a further reduction in "informal networks of help".
The business of modern society is service… Thus, service is to care which is to love and love is the universal apolitical value.
The tool defines the problem rather than the problem defining the tool.
There is no greater power than the right to define the question.
The easiest way to create a monopoly is to invent a language and procedure which will be unintelligible to the layman.
When we talk about skilled work it is not the nature of the craft, but the social relation of the worker to management that is under discussion. The full expression of the worker's skill conflicts directly with the needs of management.
One of the real satisfactions of skilled work is that, like an artist, your hands produce what your mind conceives.
The frustration of not being able to apply his skills on the job is often the motivation for doing it at home.

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